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3/31/2009

"Jeanne's Endo Blog": How Acupuncture Has Profoundly Changed My Life For The Better! It Is Awesome!

Recently, I have talked on my videos about acupuncture. While I have blogged about it as well, I wanted to write a more detailed post about my experiences with acupuncture. The videos where I discussed acupuncture are in Vlog #3 and Vlog #4. You can see them in this blog or on my YouTube Channel. (I would just love ratings/comments on YouTube)!

Anyway, today I'd like to write about something that has brought me more peace and pain relief than just about anything else out there:

ACUPUNCTURE

For about 8 years now, I have had the pleasure of receiving regular acupuncture. This post is long overdue. I have gone over and over (in my head) how to best do justice to the profound benefits I have obtained from acupuncture. Today, I finally decided to jump in and try my best to explain why I love acupuncture so very much!!



First, here's a bit of background. When I was first diagnosed with endometriosis in 1992 and joined a local (in-person) support group, there was a woman in the group who raved about how amazing acupuncture was and how much it helped her. She could not say enough about it. (Oh, how I look back now and wish I had really listened to her)! Anyway, the picture in my mind (then) of acupuncture was scary... having needles "injected" (my mental term for it at the time when I didn't understand it) when I was already in so very much pain sounded like the last thing I wanted to do! So I did not try it. (I now regret this deeply).

Fast forward a few years and several surgeries. I was very, very sick and in incredible pain. I was willing and open to trying just about anything (within reason) at that point to get any relief whatsoever. A friend suggested acupuncture and referred me to an acupuncturist she highly, highly recommended. She urged me to check it out and she was convinced it could/would give me some relief for symptoms of my, by then, numerous chronic illnesses.

So after initially (in 1992) being apprehensive about acupuncture (because I was afraid the needles would hurt), I was now more open to the idea (by the year 2000). I called with questions... still a bit unsure about the whole thing. He could not have been nicer or more patient with my questions. So I decided to give it a try.

Here are 3 sizes of Japanese-style acupuncture needles:



Do you notice how the silver part attached to the colored plastic ends is so thin you can barely make it out?

My acupuncturist uses Japanese style needles (flexible and very thin). They don’t hurt me and I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin (thanks to fibromyalgia, neuropathy, allodynia, etc.)

I recently asked him some questions about the type of therapy he uses. (I know there are varying types of acupuncture). He uses Japanese acupuncture: a combination of Manaka and Meridian therapy. He attaches these little alligator clip things that facilitate the flow of qi (meaning energy) through the body. He also, on occasion, uses a FAR-infrared light over certain areas (as needed). This special lamp is supposed to simulate moxibustion. I love this lamp! It is nice and warm and it really helps my fibromyalgia pain.

I see numerous specialists for a wide variety of chronic illnesses. With no disrespect to my other doctors, my acupuncturist has helped me more than all of my other doctors combined!

Rather than focusing on just one symptom or organ of the body, he treats the whole person. He has treated numerous symptoms and/or illnesses of mine. The number of symptoms (of many illnesses) that he has been able to help me with is nothing short of incredible.



He has helped me with SEVERE post-surgical complications that no one else could help me with.

I have found his gentle approach to be highly relaxing. I have even fallen asleep during acupuncture sessions! Due to my fibromyalgia and sleep apnea, I don't get restful sleep (as in ever). In fact, the sleep disorder clinic that diagnosed my sleep apnea said that I never entered the restorative sleep phase at all! (No wonder I'm so sick). I am still struggling to be able to use my CPAP machine for the sleep apnea (see post from earlier this week for more about the apnea but I had another reaction to the headgear this week). Anyway, my point here is that acupuncture relaxes me better than ANYTHING!!! The rest I get at acupuncture is better than a full night's sleep for sure!!

Here's what I often picture when an acupuncture session starts and I'm still fully conscious:



I have been a patient of his for about 8 years now. I look back and can't believe how much it helps. Does it cure my illnesses? No. Does it help more than any other one thing out there? You bet!

In summary, I discovered that taking a chance to try something I was initially nervous about really paid off! Once I tried acupuncture and saw how beneficial it is, I became a regular patient. Since it has been so helpful for me, I have referred many others to him. I facilitate an endo support group and have told my fellow support group members about his gentleness and effectiveness for a wide variety of symptoms. I haven’t had a single person try it and come away dissatisfied. In fact, I have had several group members try it and tell me how helpful they found it as well. I am very grateful to have such a highly trained and skilled acupuncturist in my area. I cannot say enough about acupuncture.

When I had a surgery that did NOT go well last January, it was my acupuncturist that took me from the worst pain of my life and inability to walk on my own to walking out independently an hour later. My husband had to help me in to the first post-surgical appointment after a nerve-cutting surgery gone wrong that I had put off for 4 years. (I'll have to write about that surgery another day).

Anyway, I had phantom pain post-surgery from the nerve-cutting. (This is the type of pain that affects amputees but can also occur following nerve-cutting surgery). In the past year, I have lived with post-surgical pain I could not have imagined before my January 2008 surgery. The neurologists (plural) seem to think that this pain will be a life-long problem for me. A year later, it is extremely difficult for me to exert enough pressure to shave my leg because the area affected by the nerve-cutting makes even light pressure almost unbearable. If it were not for my acupuncturist, I don't know how I would have dealt with the type of pain I had last January. Back then, taking a bath was impossible because the water against my leg hurt too much. It was just terrible.
After 7 surgeries, 11 kidney stones, cancer removal/appendectomy, bowel resection, 4 cystoscopies, 3 colonoscopies, etc... none of these matched the pain following last January's surgery. I still struggle every day. Every blog post I write requires breaks to get up and stretch because sitting aggravates the pain. Driving is still a challenge. Sitting normally is tough. When at the computer, I sit in a leather office chair with BLANKETS on top of it for cushioning and I still get very sore from sitting.

He hasn't cured the surgical complications. (Nor would it be fair or realistic to have expected this!)

However, he greatly reduced the worst pain of my entire life over the past year (bit by bit). I owe him a debt of gratitude I will never be able to repay.

Here are some books and websites that my acupuncturist recommends...

"The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine" by Ted J. Kaptchuk O.M.D.

"Japanese Classical Acupuncture: Introduction to Meridian Therapy" by Shudo Denmei, translated by Stephen Brown, C.A.

Acupuncture Today

Acupuncturist Locator

This is a helpful resource for acupuncture:

National Certification Commission For Acupuncture And Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)

(NCCAOM’s online directory is designed for individuals seeking practitioners who meet national requirements for board certification in Oriental medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese herbology. These practitioners have met all requirements for NCCAOM certification in the specific program area).

If you have any apprehension or reservations about trying acupuncture at all, please let me know. I'll be happy to help you in any way I can.

Are you concerned about cost? Please see below!

For those of you who do not have acupuncture coverage through health insurance, I strongly encourage you to read the comments exchanged between "Liberty" and me (see the exchange in the blog comments in the link below). It explains how my (uncovered) acupuncture easily pays for itself... literally!

What about the cost of acupuncture?

This article was posted by Jeanne via "Jeanne's Endo Blog" at www.endendoat.blogspot.com.

8 comments:

Yaya said...

I don't know where I would be without acupuncture! I LOVE it!

Jeanne said...

Alicia,

Isn't it just amazing?!?

Jeanne

Jannie Funster said...

I've never had accupuncture, but any kind of treatment that focuses on the WHOLE person is worth trying.

Jeanne said...

Jannie,

Exactly! :)

Jeanne

Shelly said...

Wow fantastic! I always wanted to try it to get over my other problems like my sleeping disorder or my insane allergies, but I never had the nerves to do it... I will do it once I am settled in the US.

Thanks for the blog post Jeanne!

Jeanne said...

Shelly,

I LOVE ACUPUNCTURE!!I have sleep apnea and fibromyalgia. So I don't get high quality sleep.

The best rest I get is when I go to acupuncture. Seriously.

I'm so glad you are going to try it. It is awesome!

Thank you!

Jeanne

P.S. Did you watch the video too? I show how skinny the needles are on the video. Feel free to leave a comment on my YouTube channel too. :)

Shelly said...

Hiya! Yes I have watched your videos! :) I will leave a comment soon! I am busy reading your blog hahaha :D So much info!

xo

ps. Facebook had a malfunction... thats why it didnt work!

Jeanne said...

Shelly,

Cool. Yes, reading my blog could keep you busy for awhile! :)

Jeanne
xo

P.S. Is Facebook fixed now? I'll have to try the link again.

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