So last week I had my very first acupuncture experience. I had been thinking about trying to out for quite some time but hadn’t made the final push until my boss gave me a package of them for Christmas. I am a huge fan of alternative, natural, non-Western medicinal practices and absolutely love my chiropractor (who also happens to be a natural vitamins/supplements, your body is self-healing, power of crystals, homeopathic type of guy)and believe that most everything can be cured and fought without the use of Western medicine. I was holding myself back for a while just because although I am not scared of needles they are not my favorite thing in the world (Background: I used to be absolutely terrified of needles until I took an Ethics course my senior year of high school and one of our main projects was to overcome a major life fear, needless (haha) to say I chose my fear of needles. I donated blood several times, got all my necessary shots, and with pure mind over matter was able to successfully say they don’t scare me anymore. I even now have a tattoo and want another one, and continue to donate blood on a regular basis).
Well I finally scheduled my initial appointment for an evening after work last week. I had filled out the required paperwork, looked over the website to gather information about what I could expect and what I could do to prepare for the session (wear loose clothing, drink plenty of water, eat a few hours before you go, etc.) and felt pretty confident about trying it out. I walk into the “office” and it is a quite serene room with some translucent partitions hiding the back area from the main office area. A gentleman comes up and I give him my paperwork and my gift certificate and he let me know to change into my loose clothing (I was coming from work and was in my business attire) and when I returned I could come into the back area and choose a seat and make myself comfortable.He began by asking me about why I had come to acupuncture (I’m a fan of non-Western medicine, I have some weird feelings of anxiety and shakiness that this might be able to help, I have a weak spot in the lower part of my neck from working in an office, etc.) and he talked to me for a while about my issues and asked me questions (We are not a medical provider, have you seen a doctor for all of these?). He could tell that I was a bit nervous since it was my first time, but he said he felt confident that he could help to alleviate some of my problems and said he would begin by inserting a few needles in my neck. He told me they would be inserted at such an angle so I could lie comfortably back and not feel them. These two needles I did not feel much when being inserted, although I will say a somewhat relaxing feeling began to come over me. He proceeded to move down my right side, inserting several needles into my hand and lower leg and foot. All the needles inserted on my right side I didn’t really feel, although again this almost overwhelming relaxing feeling was taking over. Then he headed over to my left foot. These needles I FELT. Not in a super painful way, but in a WHOA that was a weird feeling kind of way. As he put a few in around my left ear, things became fuzzy and whatever feelings I was having were too much to handle. I remember feeling relaxed, overwhelmed, fuzzy, etc…………… Then I came too.
The acupuncturist informed me that he had only seen a person faint one other time in all his years of doing this, that it is taught that it happens in less than 5% of people, and his reaction is to begin taking needles out until the person comes to. I went ahead and asked him to remove the rest of the needles (I figured that was good enough for the 1st session) and to grab me some water and I would be okay. We spoke for a bit about what I would want to do for the future, and I let him know that I would still be interested in continuing to try acupuncture and if possibly we could start a future time with a lot less needles, perhaps 3 or so as opposed to the 10-12 he inserted originally. He said he was going to write some extensive notes on my chart as well as speak to the other acupuncturists at the office and that we could look into what could happen next for me.
Now with all this in mind, I went home and looked into what had just happened to me. It was quite interesting to look up the medical information and reports on what they call “needle shock” or the fainting experience I had had at the session. All reports indicated that this did indeed only happen to less than 5% of people usually, but the differing opinions came in with regards to WHY this happens to some people. Older research and ideas suggest that this possibly is a sign that your body does not react well to acupuncture and you should therefore not continue with treatment. Newer more modern research and thinking had a little different viewpoint on my situation. This suggested that possibly the reason for what had happened was simply that the energy your body functions on is a slightly more intense energy than others, and/or that the connection of the points of your body caused your body to jump to such a high frequency that your mind, soul, etc. wasn’t able to match that energy. (Acupuncture is all rooted in the ideas of reflexology and connecting points of your body together to create a good energy flow that allows for healing naturally of some ailments, etc.)
This is what I found very interesting.
I want to believe the more modern day thinking because I do believe that I was experiencing some of the positive benefits of acupuncture before I had passed out. I am a firm believer in energy being a driving force of all life, not just energy in the sense that you ingest calories from food to have your body create energy to keep you moving and going, but also in a broader idea that energy is free flowing through our bodies and between our bodies and others, and that this energy can have different levels. At yoga last night, our instructor mentioned at the end that the energy within us is what we project to the world (anxious energy presents as an anxious person, calming energy presents as a calming person), which is a very interesting and I believe, partially true statement. I do think that our energy levels are projected out to others, but I also believe that just because someone is high energy or higher energy than another, does not mean that they are an anxious person or will project an anxious exterior. For me personally, I deal with a good amount of anxiety and have had issues all my life with feelings of my mind racing, or panic attacks, etc. I have also developed a strong sense of natural coping mechanisms to get me through some of these tough times and even coping strategies to get me through daily life when I get these feelings regularly.
Because of my ability to learn to center myself and focus, and especially because I have made myself become so aware and present to be able to acknowledge whatever feelings I am having, I am able to take my high energy-flowing body and express a calming energy to the outside world. This is not to say that I am like this all the time, sometimes I am anxious or nervous to the point where I have no doubt that it is obvious to everyone around me. But at most points through my day, I have learned (through practice, practice, practice) that it is all about connecting what I am feeling within my physical body to other points of myself: my mind, my soul, etc.
Basically, the main point I am making is that I believe that my body functions on what I can only describe as “high” energy. This doesn’t have anything to do with the energy you project on the outside world. Everyone has a specific energy level that their body maintains, and this amount is a continuum from one end of a spectrum to the other. In addition to whatever level our body normally functions on, we exude a different energy from ourselves to others. A calming energy presents as a calming exterior and others will feed off of that and the same goes for an anxious or nervous energy in that it will present itself as such to others around. This external energy is the energy that allows us to connect to others around us, to develop relationships, and it explains why you might find one person is your best friend and you can share anything with them and another person you talk to is the most difficult person to even carry a single conversation with. The internal energy is the energy I felt when I was in that acupuncturist chair, and is the energy that allows our body, mind, and soul to function together and in sync on a daily basis.
So I pose this question to you: Do you know what your internal energy level is? And are you ever aware of how your external energy is presenting to others around you? I believe these are important questions that a lot of people may not even think about, but are the main sources for why you are feeling discontent or having an issue getting on the same page with yourself or someone you know.
So take some time, and always work on getting to know yourself better. It truly is the way to find peace and happiness.