A short time ago I wrote an entry in this blog called Needles and Pins in which I described some physical ailments that I have to put up with. In this post I wrote that I had decided to try an alternative to modern medicine for my chronic sinusitis and lower back pain. That alternative was acupuncture. Since I live in Penang, Malaysia there is no shortage of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners. Today was my first appointment with an acupuncturist.
I took a 20 minute walk to the office of the the practitioner which was located in a shopping mall in my neighborhood. On my way I was trying to decide which ailment I should treat first. By the time I got to my destination my lower back was killing me, so the choice was easy. I arrived on time for my appointment and immediately met the doctor. We discussed the ailments which were of concern to me and decided to treat the back pain first, then after a while, treat the chronic sinusitis. Acupuncture for the back involved placing needles in the lower back and legs, while for the sinusitis the needles would be placed in the face and forehead. If I find results in my back pain I will then go for the needles in the face.
I went into the treatment room, which was a small room with a massage table, and laid face down on the table. The doctor cleansed the area with alcohol and proceeded to place the needles. I could feel her fingers putting pressure on certain areas of my lower back and left leg. Next it felt as if she were using her fingernail to initiate a little pain as she inserted the needle. It didn't feel bad going in, but when she pushed deeper and twisted the needles it felt as though I was being given electric shock treatments. The needles in the lower back didn't feel that bad, but the ones in the back of the knee and thigh were excruciating. I think I had a total of 8 needles placed and then I had to rest for about a half hour, which seemed to me like 2 hours. While I was resting a heat lamp was placed above my back to increase the blood circulation. About 50 minutes after I first walked into the treatment room, the doctor removed the needles and I left the room and had a seat. I was given a glass of very hot water to drink immediately and I was told not to shower for 4 hours. Then the worst news. I was told not to have any beer.
When I got up from the massage table I felt as though I were drunk and remained very dizzy for about 15 minutes. I was told that this was normal and would wear off in a few minutes .I made another appointment for 3 days from now and then paid my bill. The total was about $3.50 for the treatment. I then walked back home and amazingly I was pain free. According to the doctor it will take a few more sessions to notice a real difference. As I am writing this I still feel no pain. Hopefully acupuncture will work for my back pain and then I can try my other ailments.