I always try, but then lose count because we’re chatting. Since my total was 21, an odd number, I assumed the count must be off because it’s symmetrical. And then I remember the third eye.
My friend Lisa Marie talked me into trying acupuncture since she has been doing it for years, but she also lied to me saying “it doesn’t hurt at all”. Once I started, I found out that some points hurt and some don’t and it all depends on your personal ails…so maybe Lisa Marie’s didn’t hurt because she was in tip top shape. I am not.
Having an autoimmune disease that I dubbed “Lupus on steroids” means I am susceptible to inflammation and joint problems and a variety of conditions. So I decided to take a holistic approach in addition to conventional medicine. I’ve been going now regularly for over two years; at first, multiple times a week and until most recently, bi-weekly.
One practitioner wanted to needle my peritoneum. Uh no. Even the thought caused me anguish.
But the first time I walked to my car a block away and realized my step was light, my feet felt great, I was sold. In California, acupuncture is covered by insurance so at $200 a pop, I used my annual allotted visits at a lovely private acupuncture session with heat lamps on my naked feet, a lavender eye bag and Eastern music.
Once depleted, I found a communal clinic in Berkeley that is donation based, so I can go as often as I want and pay between $18-40. There’s about 10 people sitting in a room together and a variety of practitioners, like Jorge, who talked about his instructor in acupuncture school and that’s how I lost count.
Once the needles are in, I daydream. Some people sleep but I can’t guarantee that I won’t roll over and hurt myself, so I just let my mind float. It’s likely the only time that I give myself permission to daydream, to think less about all the little things that need to get done and more about creative solutions or aspirational events like moving to the other side of the country.
It’s so hard to stay still though and initially I had to force myself to wait 30 minutes before having the needles removed. My arm or leg would get the strangest urges of pent-up energy and I had to relieve the sensation by briefly wiggling some fingers or toes. I learned to ignore itches usually on my face and focus on something else until the urge went away.
These days I always wonder what if? What if someone walked by, tripped and fell on me? Yowsa. What if someone decided to come in and shoot up such an assumed liberal hotbed? We’re all semi-or even deeply asleep and completely vulnerable.
But then my meditational daydream state kicks in and I can comfortably relax 40 minutes or more without moving a muscle, centered deep inside my thoughts, self-talk, creative, untethered, free. Refreshed.