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3 Acupuncturists, 3 Different Experiences

I was a skeptic about acupuncture. From my first visit to several acupuncture appointments over the years, I share my three experiences.
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What is it like to go to an acupuncturist? I have been to three different acupuncturists. All three experiences were totally different.

Well, like the saying goes, try, try again.  I’m glad I did.

I went to the first acupuncturist regularly for about a year, the second one for about three months, and the last acupuncturist-homeopath for over five years. I would like to share with you those three different acupuncture experiences.

3 Acupuncturists, 3 Different Experiences What is it like to go to an acupuncturist?

My First Acupuncture Experience (2005)

Scenario

I had never been to an acupuncturist before. I really had no clue what to expect. I was VERY skeptical. I was told that in order for acupuncture to work, you had to believe it would work. Well, that was not me. I was only trying it out because my husband asked me to give it a shot.

(He knew I was having thyroid problems, but I refused to start taking medicine for them. It seemed lie all the females I knew were on some form of medication for their thyroids and it was a rollercoaster battle for them. No thank you.

On a side note here, I was also told that it usually took several acupuncture ‘treatments’ before any results could be expected.) Talk about going on faith for something that I had no faith in.  That is where I was coming from.

boy, child, kid

At the time, I was living in a small town in the middle of big Montana. The norm was that nobody stuck out. You blend in.  So, with that in mind and me being a HUGE skeptic about whether or not I’m about to waste my time and my money on this treatment, I stepped into her office for the first time.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Experience

The Acupuncturist

I’ll never forget meeting her. The first thing I noticed as I entered the office was her jet black hair…complete with a big purple streak that partially covered one side of her face. She caught me off guard because she definitely wasn’t your typical Montanan. (I later learned that ever since she was a child, that streak of hair has always been white. If she tried to dye it black, it would  look grey. So,she would just dye it a different color all the time.) I’m really glad I didn’t judge her. But keep in mind, I was looking for any excuse to not come back again. 

a woman having both her wrists checked by a practitioner
  • She led me to a separate room and had me sit down. 
  • She felt my pulse on both wrists at the same time.
  • She looked at my tongue and asked me a few questions.
  • She then explained where she was going to place the needles.
  • She asked me if I had any questions.
  • She knew it was my first time ever seeing an acupuncturist, or any alternative medicine practitioner of any kind.
  • She was polite.
  • She volunteered information.
  • She showed me what the needles looked like that she was going to use.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

The Acupuncture Treatment

It turns out they are so thin, that the needle is placed into a shaft that is then positioned over the spot where it is to be inserted. The acupuncturist then just taps the top of the needle hard enough for it to enter the skin at the depth they are shooting for.  You would feel a sudden pressure, and then nothing. It kind of felt like a pinch, if anything. I think she used six needles the first time I went. I felt only one. 

I did the treatment. No big deal. I pretty much just laid there for about 20 minutes. She then returned and removed the needles. 

felt no better, paid and left. I really did not know whether I planned to return again or not.

acupuncture needle being placed in skin

Results

About an hour later, I was in the store when a feeling came over me like I have never experienced before. For that matter, I have never experienced it since.  I felt like a puppet who was used to buckled legs and a slouching head had suddenly been energized from above. Like my marionette strings were pulled, enabling me to stand up straight, feeling light as a feather. I know. I can’t explain it either. Then I felt nauseous and needed to go to bed early that night.

marionette

The next day, I felt NORMAL. Not my normal that I had learned to accept, but normal, normal, like a normal person for once! I wasn’t tired. I hadn’t realized HOW TIRED I had regularly become until I wasn’t any more. All those little tasks I always needed to ask my young boys to do so I could have enough energy to make it through the day, I now did. 

You don’t have to believe it works...
in order for it to work.

It was actually a little amusing for a couple of weeks because every time I said I would do something: my husband would ask me if I was sure. He knew what I was about to do would normally knock me out for a few hours, if not the rest of the day.

My original problem was not fixed though. So, I did continue to return to see her for another six months. She ended up moving away, so I just stopped acupuncture.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

woman crying

My Second Acupuncture Experience (2008)

Scenario

Calm before the Storm

The problem I had before never resolved itself. But the chronic fatigue continued to stay gone. I was actually able to start learning taekwondo. (Something I had always wanted to do.) I was in the second-best shape of my life.  I ended up getting pregnant again, and I had to quit taekwondo. It was the most difficult pregnancy for me. I could not sleep from midnight to 5:00 a.m. until the third trimester. And in the last half of the pregnancy, I had barely enough energy to get dressed every day.

After my delivery, my health recovered back to where it was before. Relieved. But when I turned forty…give or take a week, it was like my body gave up.  WHAT? My body went from fine to ‘Oh my GOSH, what is going on?’ It wasn’t after baby stuff either. I had recovered from that and was back in my intense taekwondo classes.

The Storm

Fast forward, I was very quickly becoming allergic to many foods and things in my environment. My Naturopath doctor suggested I see an acupuncturist becasue she had heard good things about this program called NAET, Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques. 

I looked it up online. The program mentioned how you needed to read the book before you started your special acupuncture treatments for the most chances of this being effective.  I’m always a stickler for wanting to do it ‘the right way.’ So, I ordered the book online, but it wasn’t going to arrive before my first appointment.

acupuncture needle face

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Experience

The Acupuncturist

I kept my first appointment anyway. Acupuncture did help in the past. So, I planned to have just a treatment and then reschedule for a time when I had finished reading the book.  I needed some time to think about the whole muscle testing approach and what it involved.  I also knew that for 25 hours after the treatment, the patient needed to avoid the allergen. I had not prepared my home for that yet.

This acupuncture office was more of an official looking office place. I signed in and waited for my turn.

I was seen to my room. We began talking. I told him I was allergic to many things and that my chronic fatigue had returned. He knew me from taekwondo classes and was shocked to see how quickly my health had declined since he last saw me, maybe four to six months. (I used to kick his butt, big time.)

annoyed woman making a face of disgust as she stands with her arms crossed

He thought I would be someone who could benefit from NAET.  I told him I wanted to wait until I read the book. He immediately started testing me for my food allergies. That is when the communication gap and distrust began.

The Doctor who designed this procedure talked about how a certain diet and protocol needed to be followed for the test to be effective. I wasn’t doing either yet. I wanted to wait until I learned more.  He saw no need.

I wondered if he really knew what he was doing or if he was even listening to me.

acupuncture wires and needles on a mans back

The Acupuncture Treatment

I cut him off after he tested me for over 50+ allergies. (I knew I only had him for a certain amount of time and I wanted to make sure I still had time for a treatment.) He only found one thing I wasn’t allergic to. I guess he had in his mind what he wanted to do, and yeah, maybe he did know what he was talking about. But how can you put your trust in someone who isn’t listening to you. Someone who wants you to have blind obedience because they know what’s best.

Yes, doctors and practitioners may know way more than I do about acupuncture or ‘insert blank’, I agree. But they don’t know more about me and what I have been through and how my body did not want to follow the instruction manuals they were learned in.

During the treatment, after he inserted the needles, he proceeded to connect them to each other with long strings of wires. That’s new. I guess different types of acupuncture methods.

He also proceeded to light something like a miniature incense candle on different places on my body.  Okay…I’m trusting you. Different doesn’t have to be bad.

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Results

I really felt no different after those first two appointments. But after the third appointment, I called his office to explain the symptoms I was having. He proceeded to tell me he must have over treated me, and that he should probably go slower like he needed to with his chronic fatigue patients. I think if I was talking to him in person, I would have punched him. My suspicions were confirmed. He was not listening to what I was saying.

I stopped seeing him. 

Personality conflict? Maybe.
Lack of communication. Yes.
four acupuncture charts hanging on a wall in a acupuncturist office with a patient lying on the table

My Third Acupuncture Experience (2008)

Scenario

My Health Plummeted

My Naturopath doctor found something that was wrong with me. My pituitary gland was not doing its job. Was that the main problem? I don’t know. A doctor suspected that in 1995, but dismissed it, so I did too, until I heard the verdict. Then I remembered.

I started taking the shots four times a week. You do what your doctor tells you to do, right? They know best.

Well, my health plummeted. I became so weak I didn’t have the strength to wear my winter coat and boots when I went outside. It was too exhausting to walk. (Granted, it was a Montana winter coat, and they are pretty heavy.)

Nerve damage symptoms were showing more and more every day. More food allergies, every day. I grew weaker every day.  Pretty much taken to my bed. Some tests were recommended, but if I wasn’t planning to take the prescribed medication that went with that diagnosis, there was no need to test for it.

Do I Try Again?

art mannequin being crushed by rocks

After a particularly rough night which was preceded by two others equally bad, I was sharing this information with a family friend who happened to also be a dentist. He suggested I give this other acupuncturist a try. She lived about an hour away. I no longer had the strength to drive. My husband volunteered to take me.

I wasn’t going to take any other medication. In my gut, I knew I would have an allergic reaction to it. Why wouldn’t I? I was allergic to non-harmful stuff, so if something actually contained chemicals…you get the picture. I wasn’t scared. I just knew the odds. (I had a B.S. in Math)

But at the same time, I could not just sit and do nothing. I needed to keep trying, even though I was so tired of trying.

3 acupuncturists, 3 different experiences. What is it like to go to an acupuncturist?

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Experience

The Acupuncturist

At this point and with my fatigue, I didn’t want to fill out any more paperwork. I didn’t want to sit and share my symptoms with anybody else. I was so tired of talking. So tired of sharing my heart and having the face looking back at me have the blank look of ‘What are you talking about?’

My next acupuncturist’s office was located in a small building on her property next to her house. When we arrived, we went in and sat down. She was with another person, but she looked up and smiled and said she would be right with us.

When it was time, my husband started explaining my situation and she said, ‘Stop, don’t tell me anything. I want her body to tell me itself.’

We looked at each other with raised eyebrows, ‘okay…’

acupuncture needles being placed in a woman's shoulder

If you have ever seen the Star Wars episode where Jar Jar Binks is about to go into battle and he is saying, ‘Steady, steady.’ Well, that is what I felt like. Even though I had seen progress with acupuncture, I still felt like it was a hit and miss process. Now we were going to add Homeopathy to the equation.

The Acupuncture Treatment

For me, I saw homeopathy as a fake medicine that people did for false security when their end of life has come. Sadly, I guess that was describing me now. I was so wrong about homeopathy. (But that is a different post that I will link here once it is written.)

  • She checked several meridian points on my body.
  • She looked at me and she didn’t have the face everyone else had.
  • She said, ‘You’ve been sick for a long time.’
  • My husband chimed in yes, for several months.
  • She then looked at him and said, ‘No, she has been sick for a very long time. How many years?’
  • I almost started to cry. Do I dare hope?

Her treatment was similar to the first lady I saw. She used the needles without all the wires. She placed them in different places. She probably used about 10-15 different locations. When she was done, she did have this special tool that was electrical. It looked like a smooth little metal paint roller. I’m not sure how it worked but she would turn it on and end up rolling it several times over my caesarean scar every time I went to have a treatment. 

During other treatments, sometimes she would need to rotate the needle back and forth until I felt a zing. It felt like getting zapped by someone who was rubbing their feet across the carpet before touching you. 

acupuncture needle on woman's face

Results

I needed to see her twice a week for the first six weeks. That helped stop my poor health free fall. I really didn’t think I was going to be seeing the next Christmas. Heck, my doctor was telling me, I might not be seeing my next Christmas. (BTW: That was 12 years ago.)

It was not a jump in my health towards feeling better, but I did get better. I gradually got a lot better. After nine months, I felt amazing. There still wasn’t much I could eat. I was still allergic to everything, but the fatigue was gone. I could function.

I asked her SO MANY questions. I wanted to know everything. I questioned everything she did. I wanted to know the why on everything. She was so patient. And in return, I was her star pupil. She was so understanding. What a relief.

I was still a puzzle to her. She had never seen anyone so sensitive to so many things before.  After plateauing with my progress, I continued to go and see her once a month for years.

a hanging neon saying, ask

She helped me so much. I learned so much. I also knew that we were dealing with something that just couldn’t be explained. And at one point, she did say, ‘I am past my level of expertise. I don’t know what else to do.’

Thank you for being so honest to me. Thank you for helping me so much thus far in my journey. ( I miss you.)

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

a woman in the middle of a road sitting on a crate next to her suitcase with a globe on top of it. she is looking at a map

Aftermath

I knew that if I was to get better, the ONLY thing that was consistently working so far involved meridians in the body and homeopathic remedies. That is where I started. That is where I would continue heading until I figured THIS health problem out.

I would later in my journey find out about the Camp Lejeune water poisoning that my mom was exposed to when she was pregnant with me. Maybe that was why I was different. Maybe that was why this stuff that worked for other people didn’t work for me.

A few years later, I eventually stumbled on a concept DISH© (Click here) that when I assumed it was true, my health improved. The things that did not work for me in the past now would work!

All my allergies are now gone! I can safely eat anything I want. I can wear any type of material for my clothing now. I only need to avoid my jewelry, which won’t be for much longer, I think.

I am still needing to do this procedure (AFTER™ – click here), and I still have not arrived, but I am still making progress. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have REAL hope of this dark time in my life soon coming to an end.

Do I wait to cross the finish line...
before I tell others about what I had discovered?
Woman runner struggling to climb a wall in a race

Conclusion:

It is strange how the category of acupuncture could look so different from three different places. If I hadn’t had such GREAT success the first time I had acupuncture, I may never have returned. Shame on me, I guess. I’m just being honest. I don’t know if I would have had the patience to keep trying.

If I was to base all my acupuncture beliefs on my second experience, I would have definitely hung that idea up for good. But in the back of my mind it would probably always nag me that I knew it worked once, could it work again?

The third time, I have to say has given me a positive outlook on all acupuncturists. I have since moved from Montana and should probably find another acupuncturist. But it is kind of difficult to do. She will be hard to replace. I know I tried her patience. I’m not sure if I would be able to find another acupuncturist who would put up with me and all my questions.

Have you tried acupuncture? Would you consider it? What was your experience?

Be Brave Enough to Take One More Try

I know it sometimes hurts when hoping for something to finally work when struggling with health challenges.  But I want to give you hope anyway.  

Cyndi Whatif
Cyndi Whatif

I am a patient turned author and guide. I share my hypothesis of an overlooked complementary body system which I believe determines whether or not a person has the opportunity to be well.

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