In this picture, the holes in my earlobes are from misguided youthful choices. But if you look in the very top of my ear, there's a square of beige tape. That's an acupuncture tack.
So, I've been going to acupuncture.
A new place, Mend, opened near my office in Hampden, and after hearing good things, I decided to try it out.
There are a few things about acupuncture to know before going:
1. Know WHY you want to go. Acupuncture is for a specific malady or issue. I'm told you can go for preventative purposes, but I think it still has to be for something in particular. I, myself, decided to try it because I am...how shall I put this....MILDLY EXTREMELY HIGH STRUNG. I decided to try acupuncture as a way of addressing my insomnia and MILDLY EXTREME HIGH STRINGINESS.
2. The needles do not, usually, hurt. Sometimes it's like a mosquito sting, but only in certain places. While you're lying there, the area around the needles will sometimes itch a bit and some of mine do turn red for an hour or so after. But, other than that, there's no discomfort.
3. You don't have to DO anything.
The reason I state #3 is because, on my first visit, after a consultation, the acupuncturist put the various needles in me, and then told me to just lay back and relax. I asked her what I was supposed to do, and she said - Nothing. Just lie there, daydream, sleep, or bring some headphones or a book. Stay for at least 30 minutes. "The needles are doing all the work," she said.
I've now been 5 times, and I'm a total pro. I go, I get my needles for the day, and I zonk out on a ridiculously comfortable leather chair. For someone who can only nap for 10-20 minutes at a time, I completely pass out during acupuncture. Today, I napped for a record 40 minutes. Out cold.
The acupuncture I go to is community acupuncture, meaning there are 7 chairs in the room and various other people napping and relaxing during their treatments. But it's very quiet, with soft music playing, and it smells really nice. The room is always just a little bit cool, perfect for napping, and there are deliciously soft blankets hanging on a rack if you need one. There's something strangely peaceful about napping in a room with strangers while full of pins. It's so relaxing. I can't explain why.
The ear tacks are a new part of treatment - she put them in this afternoon, and you can wear them for up to two days. There's a tiny little acupuncture needle on the other side of the tape, and it just stays in your ears for prolonged treatment.
Does it work? I think so. In the five weeks since I started, I'm sleeping better, my late-afternoon tension headaches have faded, and I definitely feel several degrees less MILDLY EXTREMELY HIGH STRUNG.
I have a few sessions left, and then will re-evaluate how the whole process worked. But, so far, at the very least, it's not doing any harm and I get to go and take an expensive nap in a nice smelling room full of peaceful strangers.