Ear Acupuncture Experience

So I summoned all my courage and went for an ear acupuncture appointment yesterday. I had already met the lady at a previous appointment, where she did all the explaining and stuff. I have some pain issues that need dealing with, but I am really 100% NOT fond of doctors and physical examinations. Besides, I already know that there is no strictly physical reason for the pain anyway. So what appealed to me was the possibility to try and treat the pain with no physical examination other than examining the ear and getting the acupuncture done. Anything that I can do fully clothed and that that doesn’t require people to touch me all over is a good thing in my book.

The downside was that the lady already told me that the ear examination and the acupuncturing does hurt a bit. She said it’s an okay to tolerate kind of pain, but still. So I was quite a bit nervous and felt very brave that I decided I want to give it a try nonetheless.

Mom went with me (of course, because without her I don’t go anywhere anyway, LOL) and it was good to have her along, as it soon turned out. Anyway, we went in and first the lady asked stuff like was I feeling alright today and did I still want to give it a go and did I want to have some tea. I said yes before the courage left me, but no to the tea, because I couldn’t focus on anything other than the acupuncturing anyway.

The first challenge was to lie down on the treatment table. I really don’t like it very much at all to be lying on my back in such an exposed spot in the presence of other people. So very quickly I felt like I didn’t want to do it after all and mom asked the practitioner lady to give us a moment alone in the room. The lady was quite good about it, told us to call her when we were ready, and went to the other room.

That made the lying down part okay. With only Mom around I’m good. So I lay down and got halfway comfortable. I also held on to Mom, just, like, you know, in case. After a while to get used to the awkward situation, I was good enough that mom could call the lady back in.

When she entered the room again she was carrying a blanket and gave it to mom. Somehow the lady had the good sense to stay away from the table while mom covered me, so that was good and I felt okay. Mind you, far from calm and relaxed, but okay enough that it was tolerable. So it was time for the ear examination part.

During the examination the practitioner lady poked the acupuncture points with a slim rod, one after the other, asked me to tell her when a point was tender and painful to poke, and made notes which points those were. That part was surprisingly okay. Mom was still by my other side, held my hand and smiled at me and while some points were quite painful, it was in the “ouch!” way like pinching, not real bad. And it was also okay because it didn’t require a lot of touching, besides the ear.

Then she was through with all the points and got the needles. What I liked was that she went real slow and asked me to tell her when I was ready. For a moment I panicked, because I didn’t want her to pierce me with a needle, even if it was a really thin one. It was good that mom was there and helped calm me down, reassuring me that I was in control and that if I didn’t want it to happen, nothing was going to happen, and all that. Which helped. And I figured that if I can cut myself with a razor blade, I can probably take the pain from the thin needles, too.

So the lady went ahead and first placed a needle at a neutral point, which didn’t hurt at all. I felt it, but it was not painful. She said that’s how neutral and healthy points feel and said the others will be more painful, because those are more active. And yeah, they WERE more painful. A very weird kind of pain, sharp and piercing, but surprisingly it didn’t feel like I needed to flinch or pull away. The lady asked me to focus on breathing out while she placed a needle, and that helped. She also waited until all the pain had subsided before placing another needle. So one by one, she poked ten needles into my ear in total, including the neutral one.

Then I needed to lie and wait for 20 minutes, during which the lady left me and mom alone again, but stayed within calling distance and checked in twice to see if everything was alright.

The waiting part was weird. Not painful at all anymore, which was good, but it was weird to be lying on the treatment table, waiting for time to pass, knowing ten needles were sticking out from my ear! LOL! But it was okay. Mom told me a silly little story and held my hand and stroked my hair and the wait ended up not even feeling all that long.

Taking the needles out was a bit painful again. More so on some points than on others. Some points wouldn’t even let go of the needle the first time around, so the practitioner lady left those a little longer and tried again until they would yield. Quite weird. I have no idea what inside the ear would be able to hold on to a needle, but some points definitely did!

Anyway, that was the whole procedure. Once the needles were out I could get up again and we were on our way home. At night I could still see the points where the needles had gone as red little dots, today they have mostly disappeared, but my ear still feels a bit tender and sore to the touch. Other than that, I feel fine. And a bit proud of myself that I went without much fuss and without drama!

If the ear is fully back to normal by then, I’ll go for the second appointment on next Tuesday. I really hope it’s going to work and will help against the pain! I remained pain-free yesterday, so that was a good start!

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. prideinmadness
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 15:23:41

    Sounds like a very positive experience and you handled it very well! *high five*

    i wanted to comment on when you said that if you can cut yourself then you should be able to take this. I, personally, have found a dramatic difference in pain tolerance depending on whether or not I want to feel that pain. It’s interesting. Paper cats can hurt like hell because I didn’t want them but a cut with scissors i won’t feel because I want it. Also, in general anticipating pain allows your body to prepare the needed chemicals to protect you. Oh how I love the body and mind!

    i have heard the acupuncture can help with certain mental health issues also!

    • Lola
      Feb 27, 2013 @ 15:30:06

      Haha, yeah, *high five* alright! 😀

      And I totally know, I feel pain very differently when I cut myself vs when I get hurt in other ways, too! I’m actually real whiny over little stuff like a small graze and stuff, and, like you say, unexpected hurts. I was mostly telling myself I could take it, because rationally I know that if I can tolerate cutting myself, I probably have the ability to tolerate the needle in me as well. It kind of worked. (Probably only because I told myself that. I’m very allergic to other people telling me that or something along those lines! Ha!) And knowing the needles and the pain were coming and when they were coming made a big difference.

      And yeah, apparently ear acupuncture (and regular acupuncture) can help with mental health issues, too. I’m only going for the pain stuff, though. 😉

      • prideinmadness
        Feb 27, 2013 @ 16:24:25

        I think some health insurances (at least in Canada) will cover acupuncture or the government will if the research is there. I’ve hear some people quit smoking after receiving acupuncture. Is it wrong that I kind of want to look into just because I want to be poked with a needle? Probably 😛

        I can’t wait to hear how your ear feels after a few more sessions. I hope the pain goes away!

        • Lola
          Feb 27, 2013 @ 17:11:59

          Haha, well, maybe just wanting to be poked with a needle isn’t the best of reasons to look into acupuncture. But maybe if you can find an extra reason to go with it…

          My insurance isn’t covering ear acupuncture, so we’re paying private. But just having had a fairly good experience is worth it already.

          And I think the pain should go away soon. It’s really only tender when I touch it anyway, so I don’t feel anything most of the time.

  2. kat
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 18:04:08

    Wow, well done! When I was pregnant I had severe back pain and couldn’t take pain meds. So I tried acupuncture. It made me nervous, the idea of all the needles in my back, even though I was already in so much pain…like could it really get worse? But I agree that some didn’t hurt and some hurt quite a bit, but none hurt so much I couldn’t do it, and none hurt more than the pain I was already in. It didn’t end up working on my pain very much, but I’m glad I at least tried. I hope it works on your pain!

    • Lola
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 17:41:46

      Thanks! 🙂 I’m sorry the acupuncture didn’t help against your pain much, though. I hope it’s going to at least ease my pain issues a little. I’m curious to see how the next appointment is going to to.

  3. nobodysreadingme
    Feb 28, 2013 @ 10:56:15

    I never fail to be amazed by just how much effort you have to put into your life.
    Well done.
    And I think your mum’s just terrific

    • Lola
      Feb 28, 2013 @ 17:44:38

      Thanks. 🙂 I’m rather happy with my mom, too. 😉

      And yeah, the silliest stuff needs an effort. Sometimes I wonder what it is like for people who don’t freak at every second normal thing. But well, my journey is my journey, and there’s no point wishing it were different. Gotta make the best of what’s there. And I know from experience that it could be WAY worse, so I’m not complaining. 🙂

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