I lay flat on a sheet of crinkled paper. The fan mounted on the wall behind me creaked as it oscillated. Outside of the window, a cricket chirped, as if to ask if anyone was there. The infrared light hovering above me ticked occasionally as it warmed up. A soft warmth—not quite the quality of sunshine—melted on my skin. I felt the gentle pulse of energy flowing through my arms and legs and neck.
Opening my eyes, I looked down at the landscape of my body—there were approximately 16 needles poking out of various parts of my ankles, calves, belly, wrists, and scalp, but I felt nothing but complete and utter relaxation. It was my first experience with acupuncture and I'll admit that it took a lot of mental fortitude to lie there, willingly, as my Chinese naturopath prepared to stab me with needles, swabbing the areas with a cool pad drenched in rubbing alcohol.
It was not painful or even uncomfortable—the most I felt was a tiny, tiny prick. If anything, it was enjoyable. Mandatory relaxation for a solid half an hour was a weird blessing, and I'd never felt so connected to my flow of energy. Though the experience was relaxing, I did not arrive at the door of an acupuncturist because I thought it would be. I ended up on this medical bed in this nest of crinkly paper because of my digestive system and its decision to go on strike about two years ago.