Saturday, December 14, 2013

My first acupuncture and cupping experience

I am still seeking help for my neck pain. Long story short--two doctors told me it was muscle spams; the chiropractor told me it was pinched nerves and then I found out I couldn't see her because she was out of my insurance network. I believe I did have pinched nerves that caused the intense pain that left me in tears twice. Mid-week, I decided to see an acupuncturist for the first time in my life and booked an appointment!

Acupuncture has always intrigued me. A colleague's mom recommended the place I went to. After I booked the appointment, I ended up finding another place that sounded great as well and offered community acupuncture, so basically you pay less for the service because they're providing it to you in a room with other guests.

An older Chinese woman performed the service. She walked me into a room and asked me to sit in the chair instead of lying on a table, like I expected to do.

I showed her where the pain was concentrated and where the headaches that came with it were located. She rubbed the area first and then started sticking me with needles in my neck, back and head. Like I had read online, the needles going into the points just felt like a mosquito bite.

The acupuncturist told me to relax and asked if I felt ok. I didn't speak up, but one of the needles did feel like it sort of hurt, especially if I moved my eyes or mouth too much. She placed a heating pad on my back, maybe to keep me warm more than anything, and then left the room and turned off the light.

I sat there for about a half hour or more before she came back. I was getting a little impatient at the end, especially because a big snowstorm was supposed to hit last night around the time I went for my appointment.

I could barely feel her removing the needles, except for the ones in my head. One of my points did bleed a little, so she wiped that spot with some alcohol.

After a pretty rough massage of the area, she started doing the cupping part of the treatment.

I did not expect that part at all! I had heard of cupping and seen pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow with cupping marks, so I figured that was what she was doing. I think because of the language barrier, she didn't explain what she was doing and I'll admit, that was a little frustrating for me as a client.

Gwyneth with cupping marks

Here is what my back looked like from the cupping. The spots have faded even more today.

I paid $48 for one treatment and I was there for about an hour. I am getting one more treatment next week. I am not sure how many sessions she will recommend, but I am sure it will depend on how I feel. I woke up feeling pretty good this morning and didn't have a headache or pinched neck for once. I know that some of my response could be psychological, so I will have to see how I feel all week.

My tips for acupuncture:

-wear loose clothing, especially in the area where your pain is concentrated. I wore a scoop necked tank top and that was perfect. I also wore a sweatshirt over it and ended up putting my arms into the sweatshirt backwards, which kept me warm in the cool procedure room.

-ask questions about what they will be doing in the procedure. Even though I experienced a language barrier, I wished I would have asked more questions since this was my first acupuncture appointment. Since I have sensitive skin, I guess I was a little worried about the cupping part of the procedure and wished she would have asked if that was ok with me to do.

-watch YouTube videos about acupuncture and cupping. Read articles about it--this was helpful for me when researching whether or not I would seek it out as a treatment.

-look into community acupuncture in your area. I like that the price is cheaper and I wouldn't mind sharing a room with others who are getting the same thing done as me.

Let me know if you have other questions about my experience!

Have you ever had acupuncture or wanted to get it done? If you've had acupuncture, did it help your condition? How many sessions did you have?


  1. I've always been interested in trying acupuncture but haven't done it yet. The cupping doesn't look too appealing though! Very interesting though :-)

  2. I have been going to acupuncture for over a year. I love it and my acupuncturist is like my guru. I feel it helps my overall sense of being, in addition to the other things she treats. I'd be happy to give you her name, she is $75 an hour though.

  3. I didn't have success when I tried acupuncture, but my sister has. She recommends bringing in any complaint that you have because her acupuncturist has also cured a couple misc things that probably weren't bad enough to seek treatment for on their own.