Most of you know I’m a severe environmental allergy sufferer. In 2009, I finally made the decision to start immunotherapy, or allergy shots, after I spent a whole night lying in bed crying because my skin itched so bad. I’ve been doing shots for just over three years now, and while I no longer break out in hives, I still rely on a daily allergy pill and can quickly feel the effects of allergies if I’m not medicated. It sucks, but I also love California, and am not willing to give up on this gorgeous state because of a few pesky pollens.
A friend of mine swears by acupuncture for her allergies, claiming that the soothing effect of needles in her face causes little histamine fairies to wave their magic wand and make her allergies vanish into the sky. Okay, that last part I might have made up, but I decided it was something I should try. One advantage to being a poor, stressed-out grad student is I have access to low cost health care. In this case, an hour of acupuncture costs a mere $20 – a price I’m definitely willing to accept for a chance at relief.
In true Alyssa fashion, I had pre-conceived notions about the procedure that MUST BE TRUE, like, the whole hour session would consist of me being jabbed several times with long, hot, spiky needles, and it would be anything but relaxing. The acupuncturist, a lithe, wispy woman, first asked me several questions about my overall health and then looked at my tongue. “You’re getting a cold,” she said. Bingo! I was getting a cold. Apparently acupuncturists can tell a lot about your health by the color and coating of your tongue. Mine was blue – a sure sign that rhinovirus was moving in.
After my brief oral health history, we went into a small room where I took off my shoes and laid on a cot. She quickly began inserting the needles, and it was really just a faint “tap tap” and then they were in. The only needles that I felt were the two on each side of my sinus – there was a little bit of pressure as they were inserted, but then, the pressure in my nose magically cleared up, and I felt like I could breathe. I had three needles in my hand, one on each foot, one on my right ankle, two in my sinuses, and one on my forehead. They really didn’t hurt and once they were in, I forgot they were even there.
She placed one more needle in the center of my forehead, turned off the light, turned on a heat lamp over my feet, and left the room. Soothing music trickled out of the speakers and I just lay there for 45 minutes… relaxing, thinking, wondering if this could help out more than one of my many ailments. Acupuncture is said to be a good form of relief for things like stress, anxiety, allergy, fatigue and sluggish weight… all things I could benefit from.
She came back in 40 minutes later and said that most of my health concerns were from low energy overall, which wasn’t helping my immune system fight off allergens. She recommended coming back once a week for a while, and seeing how I do from there. I’m definitely going to give it a shot, because why not? If I can inject things I’m allergic to in my skin, or pop a pill, why not give something holistic and risk-free a chance?
Have you ever done acupuncture? Would you, or is the thought of needles that keeps you away?