When I recommend acupuncture to patients, oftentimes I get a skeptical, yet slightly concerned look from the patient. That look is often followed by, “does it hurt?” or “you mean with needles?”. While my experience as an acupuncture patient is somewhat limited, I will hopefully explain a little bit about what went on when I entered Dr. Kim’s room for treatment.
My first treatment was a couple years ago for an acute flare up of a chronic shoulder condition. I was a little hesitant because although I don’t fear needles, like most people, I did not relish the idea of someone poking several needles into me. But, I was brave and gave it a try.
On my first visit, I sat down for a few minutes to talk with Dr. Kim about what was going on. He then checked my pulses on each wrist and also checked my tongue. I am not certain what he was looking for but as long as he knows, that is all that matters. While fully clothed (minus my socks), I lay comfortably on my back. I’m sure at this point I was not very relaxed but Dr. Kim could do what he needed to do anyway.
At this point, he used a little alcohol wipe to clean several areas. I knew the needles were coming but was actually surprised when he put them in that it did not hurt very much, if not at all. He put the very fine needle in place by touching the skin and then taping it to put it in place. There were sometimes that when he turned the needle, I did feel a dull pain that normally subsided rather quickly.
After inserting about 12-15 needles in various areas (including my shoulder area, my foot, my hand, and my leg), he turned the light down and let me rest in the room for about 20 minutes. He then came back in and added a couple more needles and then did something rather interesting. He hooked 3 of the needles up to a small current. He told me to tell him when I could feel the electrical sensation in all the areas and then left the room again for 15 minutes.
When he returned, he quickly removed the needles from the shoulder area (which didn’t hurt but I was kind of glad that they weren’t sticking out of me anymore). He brought out what looked like half a hair straightening iron and used that to heat up my shoulder. That felt pretty good to be honest. After doing that for about a minute or so he removed the rest of the needles and that treatment was over.
So do I enjoy acupuncture? Not necessarily. But I don’t dread it and I found it to be very helpful with my shoulder pain. So much so that I am treating again with Dr. Kim for another chronic injury I have.
So I hope this helps clear up and fear of the unknown by letting you know generally what goes on when you see an acupuncturist.