I’ve been having lower back pain for a few weeks now. I believe it first happened when I tried the simplest yoga pose on the Wii fit, so that tells you something. It’s been really bothering me, it got worse the other day when I was moving some things around in the attic. I finally decided to go and get some acupuncture. I’ve seen the chiropractor and I’ve gotten a massage, to no avail. An episode of M*A*S*H reminded me of acupuncture so I decided to give it a shot.

I found an acupuncturist near home, only about 5 minutes away, on Google maps, and I went there for an appointment and I filled out the paper work like you always do. It started with a consultation type of thing. She explained how it works, double checked my problem, and had me show her where I have pain. What really got me was the explanation of how it works. Acupuncture is what, like, 3000 years old, and obviously it works because people have been getting acupuncture for 3000 years. How it works is something like the following:

Your body has things called chakras, different places in your body, and your body has an energy called chi. You have pain or you are ill because your chakras are blocked, and chi can’t get around your body. So based on what type of pain you’re feeling or what sickness you have they put the needles into the different chakras which unblocks them and allows the chi to flow.

That’s not what actually happens, because that’s not real. That’s not science. I like the explanation; it’s a great analogy for what probably happens in real life, scientifically, in your body. We know what the body is made of now; 3000 years ago that’s what they thought it was. Again, I think it is a good analogy for what happens in real life, which is something like this:

The ancient Chinese found important pockets of nerves in the body, by, I guess, trial and error. By sticking the needles into those nerve clusters you stimulate them, which I can see causing extra blood to flow to that area. When blood flows to the affected area it carries the toxins away, and the cells get healthier.

It works! I still have some discomfort in my back, but it’s feeling better, and acupuncture is absolutely painless. You almost don’t feel anything at all. I laid down, she tapped the needles in, and it only feels like a little pressure. It doesn’t even feel like something pointy going into your skin. She put a heat lamp over my back and I fell asleep for twenty minutes. Then she took the needles out, massaged the area a little, and put these patches on that supposedly contain Chinese herbs. They are like nicotine patches, I guess, but instead of nicotine, it’s, you know, Chinese herbs.

I’ve been there twice, and I am going two more times next week. If it’s not better by then I’ll probably stop going, as it’s costing me $55 a visit. So far, though, I’m liking it. Even if the Chinese explanation about how it works isn’t right something happens, and I like it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this. I throw my back out on average of twice a year. I did it again yesterday. I am an atheist, positivist, scientific and critical thinker, skeptic, etc. I have never bought into the metaphysical mumbo jumbo of acupuncture. But after doing some research I discovered recent research does open the door for an actual scientific and credible explanation of acupuncture. It involves, as you suggest, those areas in the body with a lot of nerve content, but also various hormones comes into play, which reduce pain, etc. The body is a complex thing, and everything is connected via various conduits of either fluid or nerve impulses. It does not baffle me in the leaast why acupuncture, with 3000 yaers of trial and error, could help people with pain. Today I go for my very first acupuncture session. Wish me luck.

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