Acupuncture always seemed like a voodoo-type practice to me, so I never considered it an option. However, I recently experienced about two months of consistent bloating to the point that I looked three months pregnant in a swimsuit. I tweaked my diet, cut out coffee, started meditating more, but still the bloating remained. So, I decided to finally give acupuncture a try. What could happen? After all, I have been battling ulcerative colitis for nine years now and have become open to just about anything that will alleviate my symptoms.
I saw an acupuncturist twice a week for one month. He applied traditional acupuncture techniques while incorporating craniosacral work. Here's what happened:
After my first week of treatment, my bloating decreased significantly to where I no longer felt discomfort. Unexpectedly, I also noticed fewer chronic fatigue symptoms. I often get body aches but those were gone and I felt like I had quite a bit more energy.
I told the acupuncturist that I was having a hard time sleeping so he adjusted his needle points accordingly and began performing craniosacral work on my head and neck. Without realizing it, I fell asleep on the table almost immediately and had the most restful sleep I'd had in a while. Even more, I've been able to sleep well and wake up feeling rested ever since this treatment.
In addition, I usually know when my period is about to start by the severe back pain and discomfort in the day and hours leading up to it. The first day of my period is always the worst—and I mean the absolute worst. Painful cramps normally plague me on the first and second day. This time around? I had NONE—I couldn't believe it. The second day showed very slight discomfort but was the easiest period I’ve had in a long time. To me, this meant that the acupuncture was lowering my inflammation levels and helping ease my hormonal changes throughout the month.
I didn’t fall asleep this time, but that is likely because I was already getting great sleep at night and was feeling very alert. I mentioned to the acupuncturist that I was having exams in grad school and that I was stressed about them. Again, he adjusted the location of the needles and let me rest on the table, listening to Bob Marley. Maybe it was the needles, maybe it was Bob—or probably a combination of the two—but I felt like I had just had a massage as I walked out of the office. I also started feeling more alert and energized during the day, without the help of coffee, and was able to focus in classes better than before.
The take-home message? Acupuncture is the bee’s knees! I am officially a skeptic turned believer in just three short weeks. Will the effects keep on lasting? It's hard to say, but so far so good. My health condition is not an easy one to manage, so knowing that this is a viable option for me to help keep my symptoms at bay is absolutely priceless.