Aches, pains, weight loss, insomnia, depression, and headaches are just a few of the conditions acupuncture is said to help.

I was at the Reading Autumn Street Faire two weeks ago when I found myself gravitating toward a booth with a nice blonde woman, a sign blaring the ailments that can be treated, and a man sitting near a computer and some sort of weird contraption on a table. It was the weight loss that caught my attention. As a woman who has struggled with this malady for most of my life, any help I can get is worth a try at least once.

The computer and strange contraption were used to read the pressure points to measure what parts of the body need treatment. He tested with my hands and I was hooked. I decided I had to try it, so I made an appointment. This acupuncture practice has clients fill out a lengthy questionnaire online. You cannot be shy about your answers. If you think they won’t ask it, they will. I completed it hoping that all my answers would help assess a treatment plan for me. That is, if I liked the treatment.

The space was in a hospital office complex. The building felt very sterile and uninviting. When I entered the office, I felt a sense of relaxation overcome me as I left the sterilization of the hallway into a quaint office with lavender painted walls. Scents of lavender and low, meditative music permeated the atmosphere. The shelves were lined with books, crystals, candles and holistic items for sale. The acupuncturist worked alone, checking in patients as well as treating them so I sat in a lone chair by the door and waited.

The practitioner appeared after a few minutes and shook my hand. He wore the white coat of a doctor, it swayed as he led me into a room with a bed much like the one you would see in a massage parlor, a brown desk and two chairs. There was a small table with supplies. He gestured for me to sit in one of the chairs at the desk, setting down a manila envelope containing the information I gave him at the fair. He went over the results of the electromagnetic test he did on my hands a few days earlier. Once he had a chance to do the test on my feet, he would have a clearer idea of where in my body was weakest.

I sat on the edge of the bed as he checked on another patient, waiting for me to take off my shoes. I kicked them off and made myself comfortable, patiently awaiting his return. There was a small knock on the door, and I told him to come in. He took the same device he had used at the fair and tested the pressure points on my feet and ankles then showed me the results on the screen.

I had a lot of digestive problems and shoulder pain that was affiliated with the pain in my feet. It was time to start the treatment, and I laid back on the bed. One of the nice things about acupuncture is that you don’t have to undress. Just wear loose fitting clothing so you can push your pant legs to your knees and push your sleeves to your elbow. The needles are small, thin with colored tips. I didn’t watch as he tapped them through my skin. I hate needles. However, these needles were not painful at all. It was more like a quick prick, the same feeling I get when a cat kneads on my leg.

I lay there still as he placed needles in both hands, wrists, feet and ankles. He placed two extra needles in my right palm to combat the plantar fasciitis in my left foot. Plantar fasciitis is a tearing pain in the heel that many runners suffer from or in my case, a floral designer who spends ten hours a day on a slate floor.

I cannot attest that acupuncture is the cure all, it gives temporary help, but you must keep going which is expensive. Acupuncture, even with insurance, is a luxury only those with a lot of disposable money can afford on a regular basis. I would do it if I could. There is no solid, scientific proof that acupuncture works, but I will say it is relaxing, needles and all. If anything, the fact I could not fidget or move around was good for the mind and soul because there is no choice but to lay, breathe, and close my eyes for a twenty-minute stretch. I would recommend acupuncture if it can be afforded, although it is not a cure all.

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