Alternative Treatments

First Acupuncture Appointment

Dear Diary,

Despite the news about the severity of the spinal stenosis, Hubby and I decided to go ahead with our trip, taking precautions as needed, including using a wheelchair. Our flight is today, but before leaving I decided to keep my first acupuncture appointment.

As I mentioned before, my new orthopedist suggested that I start with acupuncture to manage the pain because of my past experience with trigger point injections. Utter fail. So, I wasn’t sure about how to go about the process of finding an acupuncturist, so I called my health insurance to find out if there were any participating providers who specialized in acupuncture.

To my surprise, there was an extensive list of providers here in Reno. I can remember a time when health insurance companies wouldn’t ever consider covering something they considered so “non-medical.” Now, acupuncture is included in a wide variety of what they call “alternative care.”

When my health insurance representative listed the names of providers near me, I heard one that sounded familiar. I recalled that my physical therapist’s assistant had a healing experience with her as she was battling some sort of thyroid disease. The acupuncturist’s name is Dr. F, and she’s a certified doctor of Oriental medicine (OMD) and a certified naturopath. Her practice encompasses a wide range of services, the most prominent of which is acupuncture.

After making the appointment with her, I was sent an extensive health history form—one of the best ones I’d ever seen. I filled it out, attached my last month’s food diary, and wrote out my list of questions on the “Doctor Visit Form” that I created for myself.

With that package in hand and Hubby by my side, I arrived at my appointment fully expecting only a consultation. You know, to go over my forms, etc. She did that, and asked if I’d like to start acupuncture today. She could tell that I was in pain and nervous. Little did she know that my nerves were also due to the fact that we were flying out that same day to start our two-week trek back East.

I agreed, and she began a treatment that involved both acupuncture and something called cupping. I had to take off my blouse, unsnap my bra, and lie on my belly. I felt a warm oil being poured all over my back, which she rubbed into my skin. Next, came the sounds of glass bottles and the sensation of each one being placed like suction cups all along my spine. It didn’t hurt. It was strangely relaxing. I lied there for about 10 minutes. Once the “cupping” was done, my husband helped me close my bra and put my shirt back on.

Then, I was instructed to lie on my back, as Dr. F gave me my first acupuncture treatment. I experienced each needle being placed in strategic points on my arms, hands, legs, and feet. Nothing hurt, but I sometimes felt a sensation similar to an electrical impulse. I suppose was from where the needles hit a nerve. I’m told that’s what’s supposed to happen as the needles open up the designated meridians or nerve centers, as outlined on the acupuncture map that I see hanging on Dr. F’s wall.

Once the needles were all in, I rested with a renewed sense of calm. Like I was a happy butterfly floating on air. That feeling remained after we left the office and returned home to finish packing. We took our flight to Michigan, and as someone who doesn’t like to fly at all, I found out that acupuncture also works to relieve the stress and fear that I’m used to up in the air. I was feeling no pain and no worries.

I like this acupuncture.





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