Although I’m not scared of needles, acupuncture has always freaked me out. The thought have having needles stuck in me for an extended period of time creates a slideshow of all the possible horror stories in my mind. In reality, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the ancient Chinese practice; one of my friends claims that it’s done wonders for her chronic fatigue. I don’t have any complaints or illnesses, but I’ve always wanted to see what impact acupuncture could have on me.
When I got insurance, I looked through all of the services that I could bill to my shiny blue card. Acupuncture was listed as one of the eligible services, so I decided to look into it. I found a highly rated acupuncturist in my area (Qing Li Chinese Therapy), and booked myself in for an appointment.
When I showed up for my appointment, approached the front desk and noted that back wall which packed floor to ceiling with herbal remedies. I was instructed to fill out a comprehensive medical form. I was given the choice of two forms; one for the standard acupuncture treatment and another for the fertility treatment. I reached for the standard form as fast as I could and began filling it out. I noted that I had some minor pain in my knees and my wrists (isn’t getting older fun?).
Once all forms were filled out and waivers were signed, I was guided to the treatment room by the acupuncturist. The room contained two beds and had Chinese style paining adorning the walls. The man pulled out what looked like a hospital gown, and left the room while I slipped it on. After he entered the room again, he explained the theories of Chinese medicine to me. He told me that Western medicine is great at killing the cause of various ailments, whereas Chinese medicine doesn’t care about the cause. He told me some acupuncturists just have a certificate that permits them to perform the service, but don’t have the training in Chinese medicine. Luckily for me, he was extensively trained in both acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Since this was my first appointment, I had to have an initial consultation to determine my state of health. He took my pulse by placing his fingers on my wrist and instructed me to open my mouth so he could examine my tongue. Your tongue is apparently a dead giveaway of your health. After completing these two simple examinations, he proclaimed that I should get my blood tested because I’m anemic. Anemia is a common condition that occurs when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells. This diagnosis actually makes a lot of sense to me. The last time I tried to donate blood, I was actually rejected because my iron levels were too low. He suggested I take a daily iron supplement, and come to see him every week for a few of months, and use some traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Although I don’t think weekly acupuncture appointments are in the budget, I did go out and buy iron supplements.
After the consultation came the scary part – acupuncture. The acupuncturist decided to place needles on my stomach and around my wrist, as well cups on the side of my knees. Cupping is another Chinese therapy, which entails suctioning glass cups to the body. The needles really weren’t that painful going in; it hurt a little more for my wrists than for my stomach. I felt a little bit of stinging at first, but that quickly subsided. It felt as though there was a lot of pressure on my stomach. A heat lamp was placed over my me so I would keep warm. I was left in the room for 30 minutes, and was given an emergency button in case any of my nightmares happen to come true. An assistant came in the room to take out the needles after my half hour was up. There was a little bit of blood in some places, but nothing too alarming. The whole appointment lasted about an hour and a half.
I settled up with the receptionist after my appointment was over. Unfortunately, my insurance didn’t cover the consultation fee. With my insurance covering 80% of the acupuncture fee, I was left to pay $70. I was also prescribed two herbal medicines that came out to $11. One was in a pill form and the other was a powder that I was meant to turn into a tea.
I really enjoyed my acupuncture experience, but haven’t noticed any changes in my health or energy levels. I would consider going back for another appointment if my insurance would cover it.
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