For the longest time all I heard from others was how amazing acupuncture was--this miracle cure that helped people find chronic pain relief.
Bending into a squat makes my knees scream at me and my heels ache daily, especially the left one along with underneath that foot. Plus, I have calve spasms frequently even though I stretch mornings and evenings. I won't stress my neck issues, but let's just say I needed up help there, too.
Upon finding a specialist in Nagoya who spoke English and was highly recommended, I decided to try out acupuncture.
After all, two years of PT didn't help, nor did one year of seeing a chiropractitioner.
Side note: Massages indeed help, however, funny enough, as I'm a licensed massage therapist, I don't like getting them from strangers. Ha ha ha.
The first time my skin felt the needle was quite interesting.
When the doctor poked my feet, it hurt, yet not enough to make a deal about it. I didn't freak out when she said, "I'm going to need the long needles."
What bothered me was I went in because of leg issues. She saw the scars along my spine region and assumed I was in pain there instead and of my prime issues discussed.
I get they know the body. That's why I went along with her decision to poke around my spine. Problem: After the first session, my leg and neck weren't touched. I did leave having more bendability.
Gave another try. Basically, the acupuncturist ignored my legs completely. Moving became easier, so I didn't argue.
Something wasn't right with her, though. She mistook me for another gaijin (foreigner), because she answered a question she believed I'd asked on my last visit, which I hadn't. The query had to do with the pain patients experience after being stabbed by their needles. She was at least informative.
This time she had me lay on my stomach for half the session (15-20 minutes).
For normal people, no problem. "Resting on my belly makes me nauseous. I'd rather not."
The doctor didn't listen and left me with needles sticking out of me while I struggled under a heat lamp in sheer discomfort.
I figured, "She's the doctor. Maybe this will help me with my leg pain."
When the acupuncturist returned, she had me turn over.
She did nothing to my legs as mentioned, and for some reason stabbed me in my right temple.
Your temples are known by martial artists as death points.
As someone with a background in karate, TKD, wing chun, and a few other styles I was taught that you don't put needles in someone's temple unless you plan on killing them.
Side note: Southern Shaolin has a finger technique that teaches you to poke someone in the temples with enough force to take them out.
With this knowledge, of course a needle going into my temple shocked the hell out of me.
I didn't say anything, because you're supposed to trust that a doctor knows what they're doing with their tools. Perhaps she knew a safe way to penetrate the vulnerable area with which I was unaware.
The trouble was, after she stabbed me in the right temporal region I was in pain there and had an instant headache to boot. Luckily, she didn't puncture my left temple.
And when the acupuncturist mentioned I might experience a temporary headache, I felt reassured.
I went in for a third appointment. My legs weren't feeling better, but my back was more flexible. A big deal to me.
After a week's passing, the headache and temple pain remained and I grew concerned.
The doctor also had me lay on my stomach again and leave me under heat, though I specifically said I preferred not to be in that position.
Also, my orthopedist told me not to lay on my stomach for long periods of time.
I went with the acupuncturist's decision, hoping somehow my compliance would lead to less leg strain.
Fifteen minutes on my gut under a hot light and nearly hurling, the doctor returned. She put some needles into my calves for the first time. And you know what? It didn't do anything for me.
The worst part, someone called for her and she left to attend to them as if I wasn't in the room. Then she came back in ten minutes later and proceeded to stab my legs speedily, which again had no meaningful effect. But she was going fast, and worrying me a bit.
One needle dove into my right shin as if an arrow.
It was the kind of pain your brain sends to your body when something is severely injured. After she took the needles out, I limped my way to the exit.
That was the end for me.
The shin pain went away as did the headache two weeks later. My right temple felt bruised, too.
Conclusion, acupuncture wasn't for me.