As I continue to navigate my Magical Medical Mystery Tour of 2013, I’ve listened to stories from countless individuals about how acupuncture really changed their lives for the better in regards to a myriad of ailments.

As a person who approaches new situations/treatments a bit apprehensively, I’ve love to hear any stories or advice about your experiences with acupuncture. (Good or bad!) My third treatment is later this week, and I’m hopefully optimistic.

Dish it, folks! I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

  • Darla

    July 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    My gall bladder went insane for no apparent reason. Did NOT want to have surgery, so I apprehensively tried an acupuncturist. Not gonna lie… She was a little odd, but COMPLETELY cured me! It took 3-4 weeks to start feeling better, but I’m now convinced that its the answer for those “hard to cure” issues (she helped with other issues as well).

  • Daisy

    July 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I went to acupuncture for 4-5 months when I was trying to get pregnant (which wasn’t happening) and dealing with the stress of trying to get pregnant and have it not happen. It was a great experience. The actual sessions were best described as cozy – I’d zone out with the needles, with a silver foil blanket over me and relaxing music and then for the next few nights I’d sleep WONDERFULLY. And hey, I got pregnant!

  • Kate P

    July 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I also started seeing an accupunturist for cycle/fertility reasons. In the meantime, I had some pretty horrible back pain and hip pain. On my first visit, I mentioned this to her, she inserted some needles somewhere (I can’t remember) and I, hand to God, have not suffered from that pain since. It was over two years ago. My accupuncturist also uses herbs for treatment, which I appreciated. There were a few times when I couldn’t get into see her for multiple weeks, and she would give me an herbal concoction to use during that time. The situation that I was initially being treated for was resolved, but sometimes I go just because it is a very enjoyable experience, and overall makes me feel better. The needles don’t hurt, with the exception of the ones that she put in my ear, but was really more “pokey” that painful.

    Good luck! It will probably work best if you maintain an open mind.

  • Jackie

    July 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    I used acupuncture when after a few years of trying pregnant it wasn’t happening. I feel like a big part of it is finding the right acupuncturist. Someone who is sincere and you build a relationship with. It took me a few tries. But when I found the right person it was magical. She saw both my husband and I twice a week for a month and then I was pregnant! I’m a little superstitious so I went to her through my pregnancy. Funny enough when my son was 6 months old I got pregnant unexpected!
    My point is I’m a believer. With the right acupuncturist it really does work.

  • Rebekah

    July 8, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I had acupuncture for migraine relief. I used to get 2 or so migraines per week and they were unbearable. I had tried everything and one of my friends suggested acupuncture. I was nervous, but found a quirky, but amazing lady. Two sessions later, they were gone. I swear I only have 1-2 a year now and sitting here typing this, I can’t remember the last time I had one. I have a Type A personality, with a very stressful job and a mind that is hard to turn off, but acupuncture helped with that too. I found the whole experience to be extremely relaxing and peaceful. Highly recommended.

  • Kate

    July 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    My husband and father-in-law practice medical acupuncture [acupuncture by an MD or DO]. My FIL has been practicing medical acupuncture alongside family medicine for over 40 years. My husband switched from family medicine to full-time acupuncture a few years ago. If you’ve been considering it, I would strongly encourage you to try. As someone who was completely unaware of acupuncture before meeting my husband, I have been continually amazed at the conditions acupuncture can treat – with no side effects. It is incredible! I could go on and on, but let me know if you have any specific questions.

  • Karen

    July 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I have not been, but my mother who is in her late 70s swears by it. She has a small fracture in her hip which is a result of osteoporosis and it was extremely painful. She went and saw specialists who recommended that she start walking with a cane and just accept the pain. My mom is extremely active, healthy and thin, and the idea of the cane was just not going to work for her. 3 sessions of acupuncture and the pain was gone. The hip pain does flare up from time to time so she just goes back and in 3 sessions, she is all better again. She does say that she experiences lots of pain after the first session, but he also does a very deep massage on her hip area.

    She is now seeing him for arthritis in her neck and already feel better!

  • Alison

    July 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I started acupuncture for infertility as well (and am now a mom of 2) but have used it to treat migraines, anxiety and digestive issues and I swear it changed my life. I have done the herbs as well; they are god-awful tasting but I did feel like they were a good supplement to the treatments. I found a legit place in garden grove that only charges $35 per session for 1-2 hour treatments including back massage! The two brothers that own the place are 2nd generation practitioners and are probably the nicest people on the planet.

  • Courtney

    July 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Love acupuncture! I went from having 10-15 migraines a month for years to having one every 6 months or so after doing acupuncture for a few months. No other medication or procedure worked even remotely as well. I agree with the other comments – find someone who you are comfortable with so that you can fully relax at your visits. I also used it successfully to relieve stress and aid in getting pregnant.

  • NoodleHeiress

    July 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I have seen an acupuncturist for about a year for my chronic migraines. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster (not entirely feeling better, but that’s likely due to some medication not her). It’s never painful however and we have switched to cupping, which has done WONDERS for drawing out all the old blood and toxins I store in my neck (which was probably contributing to my migraines as well.)

    All in all, if you’ve got any sort of pain, I cannot recommend acupuncture enough.

  • NoodleHeiress

    July 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Oh! I forgot about the herbs! If they suggest herbs, I’d do it. They’re smaller than you think and really help the process.

  • Kerri Anne

    July 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Oh, haaaaai. Are you ready for this novella right now? (GET PSYCHED.)

    I used to suffer from terrible, persistent headaches. Like, Ibuprofen every day (or at least every other day) sort of headaches. Massage would sometimes help, but it never fully eradicated them. CUE ACUPUNCTURE. I moved to Portland and, after my college roommate and best girlfriend shared with me her story of how profoundly acupuncture had helped her fight (and helped her heal!) her immense and long-standing battle with depression, I decided to give it a shot.

    I was sooo skeptical. The Most Skeptical. I nearly laughed walking through the door. But that was before I walked into my acupuncturist’s office with a pain level of 11 (having had a persistent migraine-turned-headache-from-Hades for the past four days) and walked out with zero pain. Seriously: ZERO PAIN. I was aghast. I cried. I jumped up and down. I then I waited for the pain to come back and it…it just never did.

    I started seeing her every week initially, and then every other week, and then dropped down to once a month or so. She wiped headaches from the face of my daily (and eventually my whole) existence. Now the only reason I get a headache is because I’m a) super dehydrated and/or b) under-caloried. I know exactly what each of these headaches feels like, and I know exactly what to do to combat them. I haven’t been debilitated by a headache since starting acupuncture. And better still: Cayly, my aforementioned best girlfriend, is now a licensed, practicing acupuncturist herself!

    What struck me, too, throughout my entire (and ongoing) experience with acupuncture is how much of it is based on whole-body healing/whole-body healthy function, as opposed to simply treating symptoms. If acupuncture’s taught me anything, it’s that my body is a complex but unified system, and everything is connected. There is a place for Western medicine in this world, and in our lives, and there will always be, but there’s a place for Eastern Medicine, too, and it’s a huge, multifaceted place.

    After years of acupuncture treatment, I’ve found it to be wiser and more pragmatic than most Western Medicine can afford to be. My acupuncturist (and Cayly, whenever she needles me) is always great at taking the time to talk to me, to listen to what symptoms I’m having, and how I’m feeling, and then brainstorm ways to make it better. And it works, every time. (For me, anyway.) I’ve been treated for migraines/headaches-from-Hades, for digestion, for overall fitness/health, and for sinus infections and/or attacking allergies (and here’s where I admit I’m a BIG fan of needles in my face). (I KNOW, RIGHT?) #Acupuncture4Eva

    All of that to say: I’m super excited for you and this journey you’re on. I hope it helps your Magical Medical Mystery Tour (why am I now picturing that slogan on a t-shirt with the Mystery Machine?) end in only the best of places. I really do believe it will help immensely.

    • Kerri Anne

      July 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Oh, and this! is Cayly’s acupuncture website: http://organicacupunctureportland.com/

      (In case anyone reading your site resides in/around Portland and needs a rad acupuncturist, but mostly because she has pages and pages on her site about her own story with acupuncture and how it literally saved her life.) Happy needling! :)

  • Sally

    July 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Whoorl,

    Love your blog! I am a nutritionist and therapist in Seattle so I view acupuncture from a mental health viewpoint. There is much scientific research to support acupuncture as a support and enhancement for talk therapy. It has also been used to support recovery from substance abuse. I have tried it a few times myself for various reasons and found it to be helpful. I would suggest, however, that you pay attention to your rapport with your acupuncturist. If that relationship doesn’t feel healing to you, you may want to try someone else for maximum benefit!

  • Elizabeth A

    July 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Oh, this.. this I can speak to from experience!
    I am the wimpiest wimp who ever wimped, so when acupuncture was recommended to me by one of my besties, to say I was apprehensive is an understatement. If you have “the fear of the needle”, let me tell you: this is not at all like the needles your kids get. These are not hollow point needles filled with medicine plunged perpendicularly into your body with maximum force (I swear), resulting in maximum trauma. These are the thinnest needles ever, about the width of a thread, seriously. And they are lightly tapped into your skin at practically parallel degrees — well, okay, really 15 – 30 degree angles. They do not hurt. Sure, you can feel them — going in and, ah, hanging out. But honestly, they don’t hurt. And even if they did (which they don’t!), the results are so fantastic, the subsequent relief far outweighs any short term discomfort.

    If your fear is “how in the what now does this work?”, well… I go with: Magic. I don’t care how it works; I only know it does. Well, okay, I do know how it works: stimulation and pressure points, clearing blockages, etc. Still: don’t care. What hurt when I walked into the office doesn’t hurt when I walk out. Seriously. Some things take a number of sessions, and I’d highly recommend you complete the full cycle that is prescribed to you (like metaphysical antibiotics), and then go back for a tune up when you feel a twinge here and there.

    And: massage! The greatest massage ever. It’s part of the treatment, don’t miss it. After you lie there for 30 minutes or so, listening to the tinkly music, letting the little needles do their thing, you get a full back and leg massage! How is that not worth the price of admission?

    Oh, specifics? I have suffered from: plantar fasciitis; popped hamstring; sciatica; pinched nerve in my neck and the resultant shoulder and arm pain (I type 20 hours a day), and… hmmm… general neuroses? All issues significantly better within 1-2 sessions; practically disappeared after 12. And once or twice I mentioned I had the sniffles, and he cleared that right up in an hour.

    If your anxiety falls into one of those who categories — What if it hurts? Does it really work? — Let me assure you: no and yes. Wholeheartedly. Go, go, go!

  • Kelly

    July 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    yes, I’ve been. don’t want to get into the why I went but it worked and I enjoyed it.

  • Katie

    July 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I’ve been going again for the last month or so for some major PMS symptoms. I have already felt a huge improvement: No more moodiness or back aches or general yuckiness. I had gone several years ago for some back issues, and it helped for that as well. My sister is convinced that acupuncture cured her high blood pressure. I highly recommend it and I hope it works for you!

  • Joy

    July 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I’ve gotten acupuncture treatments for the first time ever this year.

    I am a pretty serious runner and I was sidelined for over a year with an ankle injury that 6 doctors (!) couldn’t help me with. I went for physical therapy for months and months and months and ultimately nothing made me feel better for more than a few days. I was at the end of my rope when my husband suggested I try acupuncture. I got so, so lucky and found a wonderful woman who I trust completely. On my first visit she told me that she thought she could heal me, although it would take more than one session. It took only five sessions, but (knock on wood) my ankle is better. Like, I’m training for a half marathon at full speed better.

    So, yes, acupuncture changed my life and I can’t recommend it highly enough. One wonderful side effect of it is that I sleep like a baby for a few nights after getting a treatment.

  • Joyce

    July 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    hi whoorl,
    i went for acupuncture about 8 years ago when i was dealing with some pretty major panic attacks that were resurfacing. i won’t get into the crazy long version of the story but it helped me tremendously. i remember after my first session feeling like i was almost in slow motion and having to go back to work. i say give it a shot, what do you have to lose?! if it does nothing else for you, it “allows” you to be in one spot for an hour, relax and clear your head.
    take care.

  • Mari @ Wine Required

    July 9, 2013 at 7:29 am

    I swear by acupuncture. I had terrible pain in a shoulder that I couldn’t get rid of. I took anti-inflammatory meds and they weren’t helping. I was offered surgery as an option. I did not think that was going to solve the issue. I started seeing my acupuncturist and after two treatments the pain was completely gone. It has been several months and it has not returned. I still see her because we are working on some other things, and those are also getting better. Amazing changes have happened for me.

  • Courtney

    July 9, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Like some previous posters, I started going for migraines. I was getting probably 4-5 month, and they lasted for days. It sucked. Through acupuncture, I was able to cut them down to once a month, which was directly related to my cycle (which I never would have figured out otherwise!). And that one migraine was easily treatable with Imitrex.

    I started going once a week for a month, then cut back to once a month (kind of maintenance). Last year when I had a miscarriage, she helped me get my cycle back to normal (with some herbs as well), and then helped me get pregnant again a few months later. Acupuncture helped with pregnancy issues (constipation, back pain, etc.) and now I’m back again just for maintenance on my headaches, since I can’t take any meds for them while I’m nursing.

    As for the pain–for the most part, there is none. I barely even feel the needles being tapped in, they’re so tiny. BUT, every so often, it will hurt–almost like someone is digging a knuckle into that part of your body. And that is always related to whatever issue I’m having–i.e., that particular point is related to headaches or digestion or whatever, which I never realize until I feel that zing! of release.

    Oh and I always, always fall asleep during the treatment and sleep great afterwards as well. Love love love acupuncture.

  • Elizabeth

    July 9, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Acupuncture and regular chiropractic care have changed my life. My hypoglycemia and digestive issues have cleared up, and I feel better than ever. I cannot say enough about how amazing Chinese medicine is and how important it is to keep the back and neck healthy in order to keep the organs healthy. It all works together! Here are two examples of why I am a believer: 1) I have a floppy ankle. I can fall on brand new sidewalk for no reason. My ankle just caves. I have had this all of my 36 years. When it flops, it hurts and gets swollen. I have been to a Western doctor after Iesha’s happened, and all I am offered is a high dose of pain mess. Lame. After a spill two years so, with swelling that would not go down, I went in to the acupuncturist. The swelling went down by half by the end of that appointment and was great by the next day. 2) I have hypoglycemia, and used to deal daily with lightheaded ness. Sometimes I faint, and sometimes my sugar gets so low that none of my tricks (juice, Gatorade, honey, food) work, and I end up really sick with sugar that just won’t come back. I went in to my Chinese doctor at the end of a week of sugar so low I could hardly function. I was in there for an hour. We. I came out, my sugar was normal!!! And he didn’t feed me…he saw that the part of my spine relating to the pancreas which produces insulin was totally out of line.he pooped it bak in, and gave my acupuncture for my pancreas and whatever else…and I made a total recovery an hour later. Those two experiences have put me on a track of dealing with IBS (cured), and general health. I go once a month now just to keep my back and neck in line, and to check in on my sugar and digestion. I hardly ever need an acupuncture treatment anymore during my appointments! It’s just such an amazing, intuitive, and understanding way of looking at the body and dealing with it’s issues….really dealing with it, not just covering up issues with meds like Western medicine is prone to do. Good luck!

  • decoybetty

    July 9, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I’m one of those people who acupuncture has sincerely changed my life. I have endometriosis and after having the surgery the doctor told me I could go on the pill (which I’m allergic to) or there were no other options. The endo didn’t go away after surgery and I was a lot of pain all the time and dealing with a lot of emotional crap. For every period I’d be in pain for 3 weeks. It was awful.

    I started seeing an acupuncturist and now I feel amazing. I have to go once a month for maintenance and I’m also taking herbs (which taste gross but help) – she doesn’t believe in people taking herbs for the rest of their lives, but they seem to be helping so much that we’re not messing with them at the moment.

    while some symptoms were cleared up right away in the first few sessions, others took a lot longer to start to heal.

  • JeanneW

    July 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I absolutely fear needles so I’ve avoided going to an acupuncturist for years. But I had a recent and serious issue with allergies and my immune system that pretty much attacked my body for about five months. It was so bad that I barely left the house except for the necessities. Two doctors told me my issues were so severe that I needed to see research doctors, so off to UCI I went. After an ungodly amount of tests and visits, four doctors sat in my examination room and told me they had no idea what was causing it and how to stop it. They just prescribed me more meds that weren’t helping me and actually made it worse.

    One day, my girlfriend stopped by for lunch. She knows my fear of needles so she essentially kidnapped me and drove me straight to her acupuncturist in Costa Mesa. She had a similar issue and this doctor was able to help her. I was so desperate and miserable that I agreed to do a treatment while my angel of a friend waited 45 minutes till I was done. I’m still not fond of the needles but of all the treatments I tried, the acupuncture had the biggest effect. Immediately after the first treatment, the symptoms were visibly diminished. I don’t want to bore you with all the details but my symptoms were pretty crazy. I admit I was shocked. I went 2x a week for about a month and now I’m going only once a week now. I just went this morning in fact. I also take the herbs in pill form. We’ve had to play around with the dosage since my body is so sensitive. But the visible effects of the attack are pretty much gone now. I’ve had a couple flare ups but they are hardly anything compared to what I endured for five months. I’ll probably continue to go until I am completely healed and can assure that I won’t have any more attacks.

    My sister had fertility issues. She went to a fertility specialist at Hoag who, after tests and ultrasounds, told her her eggs weren’t ripening. We weren’t surprised because she rarely has a period. He said her only option was to use drugs which my sister didn’t want to do. She told the fertility dr she was going to see an acupuncturist in Irvine and he pretty much said “Yeah whatever”. Three months later, she went back for a follow up ultrasound and the Hoag dr was stunned. He said her ovaries were not only fertile but totally full of ripened eggs…to the maxiumum level in fact. He had never seen anything like it before. Of course my sister just smiled and said “Acupuncture, herbs and a special diet.”

    I don’t know how it all works. I’m sure it has something to do with myofacial points, endorphins, nerve pathways. Surely there are aspects of our bodies that western medicine hasn’t figured out.I believe some doctors are more skilled an intuitive than others so if you continue treatment, find one that works well with you and your problem. Good luck!

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