Friends in my life ask me all the time about acupuncture. They know I go regularly and have for years. I find myself talking about it often – it’s amazing how many people are curious about it. Today, I am sharing my own personal journey with acupuncture. This story spans from over 7 years of going to acupuncture for both infertility, anxiety and general well-being.
“Unfortunately you only have one small egg this month and it is more than likely too small to be viable. At this point we need to consider in-vitro.”
That’s what my fertility specialist told me after 5 months on Clomid. I wasn’t a candidate for other infertility treatments beyond Clomid and going to IVF was his next suggestion. That last month I was on the maximum dose of Clomid (a fertility drug that helps your ovaries go all super-ovaries and hopefully produce multiple viable eggs) and I was having hot flashes and just generally going nutty from all the side effects.
It had been nine months that hubby and I had been trying to conceive our second child. Not hugely long compared to the infertility journeys some experience, but it felt long to me.
I remember driving home on the highway from that appointment. I was teary and frustrated. By the time I got home, I told my husband, we’re DONE. He agreed. We were more than blessed with an amazing two-year-old son who meant the world to us and enough was enough. Neither of us was willing go through the emotions that come with in-vitro, especially when we felt as though we were already lucky parents having one already.
At the same point that all this was going on, two things were happening. I had recently joined a gym, and at the recommendation of an acquaintance, I had started going to an acupuncturist for fertility.
I still remember that first appointment with the acupuncturist. I had two the last month we were trying to conceive. I remember how she looked at my tongue, mumbled something about my qi (pronounced “chi”) being off and then stuck me with a couple of needles while I laid on a table in a small curtained room. I laid by myself and listened to twangy music that I’d otherwise make fun of if I weren’t in such a weird situation already.
What I will never forget from that appointment: the twinges and pings I felt in both ovaries. Was it imagined? Was I exaggerating movement and feelings because of where I was at in my life? Maybe. But I also remember this strange feeling of live energy flowing through me as I laid there. It was actually a little bit scary but also somehow felt right, like it needed to happen, so I stayed put and rolled with it until my time was up.
I left the office and thought, what a weird experience. The acupuncturist had me make an appointment for the following week and I kept it, although at the time I wasn’t really sure why.
At this point, I was due for my period. The date came and went and to my surprise, I was pregnant.
I get and understand that many factors went into that meant-to-be moment in our life when we got pregnant with my son. Yes, I was taking Clomid. Yes, it could be one heck of a coincidence that it also happened to be the month I went to acupuncture. But somewhere deep down, I firmly believe that getting pregnant that month had to do with an overall state of wellness and that going back to the gym and going to acupuncture helped me acheive.
So after that experience, a couple of years went by. But then I decided to find an acupuncturist closer to home when I was having some other health issues. My cousin who practices acupuncture out in Pittsburgh referred me to someone local in my town who she said sounded great. I went to see her and have become a regular client over the last several years. Sometimes I go because I have a specific problem, but often I go for overall wellness & to calm my normally anxious self. It has CHANGED MY LIFE.
Basically the belief with acupuncture is that there are all of these pressure points on your body (they call ’em meridians) and that qi (energy) flows through each of these points all throughout your body. When the qi gets held up, or stagnant, or something prevents it from flowing properly, it can affect you in all sorts of places in the body. Ensuring that your energy flows correctly helps with your overall wellness. The various points all over your body all have body parts they relate to.
People go to acupuncture for all sorts of things – both physical and mental reasons.
Just typing this out, my Western self feels like it sounds very hokey, but the more I go, the more I firmly believe there is something to it. I walk out of appointments feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and with a sense of clarity that doesn’t come very often for my otherwise scatterbrained self.
I could go on and on but I’ll answer the other question I get a lot from friends who know I go: Does it hurt?
My own answer is no. Occasionally there will be an area around a needle that sometimes has a bit of an ache but that’s generally a good thing because it means the pressure of the needles is working to get your energy flowing in that problem area and if you wait it out, it passes within a few seconds. I know. This sounds nuts. It works.
If you have read down this far, what do you think about acupuncture? Do you go? Have you thought about going?