Two years ago I decided to try acupuncture, and ended up going fairly regularly to a practitioner who saw clients at the yoga studio I frequent. It was summer when I started, and over the course of the next several months, I struggled with the acupuncture experience. I was generally fine with the needles (apart from some nervousness the first time), but I couldn’t seem to handle the effect it had on me. For several months I was terribly weepy and often sick with flu-like illnesses (while it was 90 degrees out, mind you!), and after awhile I couldn’t quite bring myself to return. I knew that what was happening was likely good–a release of long-held feelings and toxins–but I wasn’t able to function very well as a result, and just couldn’t keep it up. You can read about the first and second of these experiences on my prior blog.
Since the beginning of 2012 I’d been thinking about trying acupuncture again, thinking that maybe I was more “ready” somehow. Between my yoga teacher training and some other personal efforts, maybe things would be different. Or maybe a different practitioner would take a different approach to me and my reactions to the treatments. They say that when the “student is ready the master appears”, and a month or so after I discovered that my neighbor was a Reiki master, she gave me the contact information for Robert at Gracey Holistic Health. I made an appointment right away.
My experience with Robert has been quite different. He spends a good amount of time learning about what’s going on with me before every treatment, often acting as a good friend or even a therapist at times. When I first climb onto the table, he checks my pulses in both wrists, and then looks at my tongue. Next, he presses firmly in various spots on my lower legs and feet, asking where I feel sensitivity. He marks those reference points with a pen. Because Robert favors Shakuju–a gentler, Japanese-style of non-insertive acupuncture–there are never any needles put into my skin, as in traditional acupuncture. Rather, he does something called contact needling, where he holds a needle and places in on the places he needs to to move the chi, or energy, in my body. For sensitivities in my legs and feet, the needling happens on my stomach, as shown in this video. Robert then repeats this process by checking my abdomen and chest for sensitivities, and using the needle on my right arm to correct them. When I flip over, sensitivities are searched for in my calves, upper back, and jaw. (The latter of which is the most consistently problematic area for me!) The interesting thing is that after the contact needling, Robert presses on those same reference points, but the pain is either completely gone or radically diminished. Many time I’ve exclaimed, “you’re not pressing as hard!”
Robert has also had dietary recommendations for me, including which supplements to take and which to ditch, what foods are helpful for me and not, and various other (sometimes strange) suggestions, including coconut oil pulling.
While I can’t say that there has never been a time in between treatments where my emotions are out of control, I do know that it isn’t a result of acupuncture this time. And, I’ve not been sick once since I started to see him. No matter how wound up I might be when I arrive, when I leave Robert’s office I feel grounded and calm. Anyone local who’s been interested in acupuncture but unsure about the needle part should definitely check him out.