• Amber Cribbs

Acupuncture - what to know before you go

Updated: Sep 11

Everyone should get acupuncture. Read that again. It seems as though, in the last decade acupuncture has become more “mainstream”. But many are still fairly apprehensive to try it and are extremely skeptical if it actually works. I am here to tell you – it does. Acupuncture saved my eyeball. Not just like “oh it improved my eyesight”; no, I had lost vision in my left eye a few years ago and western medicine was baffled (I saw upwards of 7 specialists all over the country- none could pinpoint the cause let alone a treatment). All they knew was that my cornea was having trouble turning over its cells and it was impacting my vision and very much my quality of life. Without getting into too much detail, this was an amazing story where eastern medicine and western medicine both came to the table to treat an issue together. Due to this joint-venture my eyeball and vision is 100% back. Holistic health is proactive health, therefore I stay consistent with acupuncture to continue in my eyeball health. All eyeballs aside, I also received a multitude of additional benefits from acupuncture that I will get into in a bit.

First things first, what is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a holistic medical practice that originated in China over 3,000 years ago. Real shit, 3,000 years ago! An acupuncturist uses sterile, hair-thin needles to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical/emotional well-being. The science behind this is, if there is an imbalance in the body, an acupuncturist will determine where the imbalance is occurring, address it – to then achieve balance and promote healing thru Qi.

What is Qi you ask?

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), qi is the life force or vital energy. Everything in the world is made-up of qi. Your body, your emotions, everything. Simply stated, qi is energy. If your body is “low energy” it sure is shit is going to have a tough time fighting off bacteria, viruses, stress, inflammation – you name it. Our bodies can only address so many issues at once and that’s only achievable thru balanced qi. But first they have to figure out the root cause(s) is for said in-balance.

How do they do this? Upon your first visit with any acupuncturist they are going to ask you extremely detailed questions about your body both physically and mentally. They will dig into these questions to better understand where or what is causing your symptoms/illness/aliments. They will ask you about your diet, stress levels, childhood traumas, you name it. So, come prepared to talk. Everything is connected and if you don’t think a trauma from a few years ago isn’t still living amongst your body, you’re crazy. Once you complete your questionnaire, they will take your temperature, look at your tongue (a few times) and also evaluate your heartbeat.

To note, an acupuncturist is a doctor of Chinese medicine. I am here to tell you; they go thru extensive schooling and education to achieve this much earned title. I have been to several in my day and their wealth of knowledge and expertise ranges from: pediatrics, gerontology, gynecology, addictions, sports injury, mental health, pain management, oncology and dermatology to name a few. Each also has their own expertise, so definitely shop around and be open with your acupuncturist on what you are looking to achieve from your visit. I have found they are a tight-knit community and will absolutely help point you in the right direction. That’s actually how I found my current acupuncturist; he was recommended from a friend in Iowa whose acupuncturist told her of one who specialized in ocular issues.

Anyhoo, now it’s time for your first treatment. The first thing everyone always asks me is: does it hurt? No and trust me, they are putting so many needles around my eyeballs, the first treatment, I was convinced one was going to go directly into my eye. Now, I will say, the needles that go in your feet or hands (should you need them) you do feel a tiny sensation as its inserted. That’s due to you having a shit-ton more nerve endings at the end of your hands and feet. But the sensation subsides almost immediately.

Do you bleed? Sometimes. Nothing crazy and its actually referred to as “heat” that your body is releasing. To combat my anxiety, there is a needle that goes in my ear and that one always bleeds. Which makes sense, I am anxious AF and my body is doing everything it can to release that shit.

Does it really work? Hell freaken yes! Does it cure every single waking crisis in your body after the first treatment? No, but what does? In fact, for many of folks (self-included here), other issues start to dissipate that you never even knew you had. For me, it was body aches. My neck was always stiff and always hurting. After several treatments of acupuncture, I found myself not thinking about my neck pain. Mostly that was due to my anxiety calming TF down and I held all that stress in my neck and shoulders. Also, in my first session (and my acupuncturist told me this could happen) I cried. As the body is realigning, certain things we might have suppressed begin to re-surface. For me, it was the grief from my father’s death. What I didn’t expect, is that thru acupuncture I actually worked thru the grief. For a long time, I couldn’t even talk about my father without immediately breaking down. This was due to the fact I had buried my grief all throughout my body. Acupuncture helped release this and now I can think and speak of him much more freely. When I left my appointment, I felt lighter, less anxious and I did see a slight difference in how my eyeball felt. (my vision improvement came overtime and several sessions).

Last but not least. Many acupuncturists will suggest herbs. They aren’t crazy expensive and many come in pill form and can be purchased from them or even Amazon. Unlike western medicine, the goal is to always get you off the herbs. They are just there as an extra push to align your body. It will take time for your body to acclimate to them, so again, results are subtle. To note, if they are in the form of a tea…I’m not gonna sugarcoat – you will have to choke that shit down. It’s a bit of a punch to the tastebuds, but damn it works!

Finally, I encourage you all to try acupuncture. I've heard of women going for infertility issues, who now have happy healthy babies; those suffering thru chemo have used it to help with the side effects, trauma abuse – you name it. Remember to shop around for one that aligns with your needs and give it at least 3-5 sessions. But I promise, you will notice a difference after 1 session! Happy poking!

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