Thursday, November 8, 2012


Needles fall in to that category of polarizing objects--people hate hate hate them while others find them almost undeniably attractive.

They're tiny, yes. Incredibly tiny. They embroider table cloths, entertain old ladies' at cross-stitch and knitting club meetings, and even sew together human and animal flesh. Needles inject much-needed and even life-saving antidotes. They inject unhappiness and addiction...inflicting pain beyond that of the physical. They tattoo memories from high school and college trips, when after a beer chugging contest and four lemondrop shots, that Minnie Mouse tattoo is just perfect for now and something you've always wanted. Simultaneously, some of them stand as testaments to our life's love, work, and individuality.

Amazing how such a little thing, such as a needle, can perform such an array of tasks.

A new one, I have encountered as of late, is that of acupuncture. Since Halloween just passed, "Pinhead" from Hellraiser, the pale man covered in protruding needles, kept coming to mind. See right. Creepy as hell, eh? I'd heard rave reviews of acupuncture from several of my girlfriends, and I'd been researching the method here and there over the past year or so.

I was referred to Elena Jenkins, a professional and utterly adorable acupuncturist here in New York
[See below for more information on this great lady].

She operates with the mindset that each patient is brought to her for an entirely unique reason. We all come with a purpose. We're all on some personal journey. She caters your entire experience toward your own personally-verbalized goals. The whole interaction felt very similar to a therapy session. She began by taking note of my medical history, general health assessment, as well as questioning and probing me a bit more for insight as to my emotional state. I confessed my anxiety, stress, and frequent worrying in addition to many of my purely physical ailments. Life in major urban environments, eh?! That'll do it! It's all of this concrete and steel.

Elena immediately made the clear connections between my blockages and pain- body, mind, and soul. The intertwinement of the three is irrefutable. The Chinese have been practicing acupuncture for at least 2,500 years. They're clearly on to something. Eastern medicine is intriguing--they've maintained their practices across generations and even despite the whirlwind of technological and medical advances. With so much being thrown at us in daily life, we are often encouraged to medicate and solve these "problems" with pills, chemicals, destructive habits, and many other ultimately, futile processes and objects and people. To me, Simplicity and natural remedies are refreshing in the midst of all of these "solutions" that are being created and pitched to us via every mode of media every moment of the day. Keeping it simple. More natural. Back to basics. It's all incredibly and annoyingly cheesy, but that line of thinking resonates more and more with me.

Back to acupuncture, though. My curiosity overtook me after I had continuously searched for new methods to achieve overall wellness. Acupuncture, essentially, strives to "unblock you" and restore the energy and flow of the body.

"Chinese Medicine is comprised of myriad modalities that may be used together or separately to restore balance to the body. Chinese Medicine seeks to understand the patient’s signs and symptoms in the context of his/her life, rather than viewing disease as an external reality separate from and imposed upon the body. This point of view is what gives Chinese Medicine the moniker “holistic medicine.” Acupuncture is one of the modalities of Chinese Medicine. It involves the use of fine needles at specific points on the body to stimulate the movement of Qi, Blood, and Body Fluids along the Meridians."

With my physical and emotional goals in mind, Elena distributed the needles in their appropriate pressure points- along my wrists, knees, stomach, face, and scalp. Pain wasn't even a factor. There was no pain. A delicate process, in fact. I'm sure, I must have looked completely crazed. Anyway, particular points on the body are stimulated to produce particular effects. It's all making sense now.

Overall, I might say that the entire process was quite revealing. It was therapeutic. Maybe, I do feel a bit less "blocked." Maybe my body's flow is...flowing...with greater ease? I learned more, though, about what I wish to work on and make a priority in my life- feeling at home in my own body, achieving a kind of fullness in my soul, and reducing the negativity and baggage I drag around with me.

Cue this Florence and the Machine song--
And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it's always darkest before the dawn

We're carrying too much crap on us, in us. Let's get well. Let's drop it. Let's. Wellness should be a priority. In particular, acupuncture brought to light many of the habits, thoughts, and physical signs of my humanity that I am choosing to focus on.

I plan to continue on this path with acupuncture idea. Is it right for you? Do a little research. See what you're comfortable with, because I can sympathize with feeling distrusting and even a bit fearful. Give it a one-time shot, if nothing else. Explore. Ask questions. Google. Discovering and then choosing to push forward that which makes your body and mind sharper, better, and more joyful leads us to a much more fulfilling life. That's what we're all around here for, right?

Extra! Extra! Read alllllll or nothing!

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