Acupuncture- What to Expect During Your First Treatment


What is Acupuncture?

acupunctureIf you’ve never heard of Acupuncture, lemme explain. It was created in China and has been around for 3000 years. Needles, the size of a human hair are inserted in various places of your body. Originally (and I’m sure for many to this day), it was a way to re-balance energy. Many of today’s modern practice would tell you the needles are placed to stimulate nerves. Some believe this stimulation boosts our body’s natural painkillers. 

What blows my mind is the list of things Acupuncture has been proven to help with. Here are just a few things (according to the National Institues of Health): 

  • Nausea caused by surgical anesthesia and cancer chemotherapy
  • Dental pain after surgery
  • Addiction
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Tennis elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Myofascial pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Asthma

Why I Did Acupuncture

Now that I’m making “big girl money,” I decided to treat myself to acupuncture on the cruise we took last month. Prior to the cruise, I’d sheepishly bringing the acupuncture menu up in the Royal Caribbean, tempting myself since April. 

‘Do I do it?’ I always asked myself. Before making any bad decisions, I’d immediately log off the app and go about my day until I’d repeat the vicious cycle all over again.

It’s Cruise Time!

The first day of the cruise, they had a tour of the spa and I met the doctor who would be performing all the acupuncture. She was from Argentina, spoke with a thick accent and seemed to know her shit. Overall, friendly and I liked what she was selling. 

Next, it was their “sampler” and I’m not talking an Applebee’s appetizer. It was the masseuses. I sat down in one of five chairs, next to a few other women receiving the complimentary, 5-minute massage. Though friendly, they also could have doubled as used car salesmen. 

“You like massage?” She asked me in a thick accent.

“I do,” I responded, bending my head to the left as she kneaded my right shoulder. 

She grabbed a hot stone and began to rub it up and down my arm. 

“You like hot stone?” 

“Yes,” I repeated as I perused the spa menu, “but I feel like I have to think about it.” 

This is when she knelt down and whispered in my ear, “why think about it when the desk is right over dere,” she said as she jetted her chin in that direction. “It’d be so easy just book now,” she purred. 

I chuckled, appreciating her effort. I am cheap with some things and spa treatments are one of them. I find it hard to drop hundreds of dollars on something I have nothing to show for. I hold the same philosophy on cooking; all that work and nothing to show for it. 

I thanked her for the demonstration, walked over to the front desk and booked an acupuncture session. It was a 50-minute session and it was for the next day. 

What to Expect During Acupuncture


Me w/o makeup but lots of pins!

When I arrived in the acupuncture room, she asked what medications I was taking as well as what I wanted to focus on. Again, being that aging will have to take me, kicking and screaming, naturally, I said jowls, hooded eyes and wrinkles. Yes, I’m unapologetically vain AF. 

After the questions, she took my pulse and determined it was strong which she equated to having good sleep. If she meant the night before then yes, if she meant overall, then that was a stretch. She then asked for me to stick out my tongue. 

“There’s white on your tongue which means you have a slow digestive system,” she said. Though I wasn’t offended, I did object internally. I just came from breakfast. What if that was coffee? Regardless, she was going to put a needle in my belly to fix it. 

The Needles

A word about the needles for all my fellow wimps out there. They don’t hurt. To understand my level of wimp, I have a quick story. For about my first 5 pap smears, I demanded they use the duck bills (not the technical term but I assume you know what I mean) they use on children and nuns. Why? Because I’m a wimp. Upon giving birth to my first child, I negotiated with the nurse to allow me to try and pee before inserting a catheter. I’m telling you all of this TMI so you understand how much these needles DON’T hurt. They are the width of a human hair. Of the few I did feel, it was no more than when I sew and accidentally prick my finger. Actually, pricking my finger is worse than the feeling of acupuncture needles, promise. 

Acupuncture = Relaxation

Firstly, don’t take your clothes off. I began to unbutton my jean shorts while I asked if I should strip. Thank God her response came fast enough to avoid embarrassment. I just hopped up on the table (like a massage table) and laid on my back. She placed a needle between my eyebrows, three under each eye, two at my jowls, one on each arm, one in my stomach and lastly, one on each leg. She excused herself, promising to be back in 20 minutes. 

About halfway through, I became incredibly relaxed. I didn’t know if it was the acupuncture or my imagination. Also halfway through, the right side of my stomach gently spasmed then on the other side, my tummy made a strange noise. Again, I didn’t know if it was the acupuncture at work or my stomach just being loud. 

A minute before she came back into the room, one of the needles plopped out and just lay in my hair. I didn’t move as that’s all I needed was to jab my eyeball and have to wear an eye patch for the rest of the cruise. 

The next day, we were on the open sea and why not spend like a drunken sailor? I decided after way too many glasses of wine, to buy two more acupuncture treatments. Sure, I had to sell a kidney but at least I would be relaxed with glowing skin.

How to Save on Acupuncture

So want to try it out? Here are a few ways to test the waters with acupuncture and/or save some money: 

  • Go to Groupon! My local Groupon has at least 5 providers, several with excellent reviews! The sessions are severly marked down! 
  • Check your health insurance! Many policies cover acupuncture so it might be worth it. 
  • Is there an alternative medicine school near you? Check to see if they offer treatments. These are completely safe as a skilled Acupuncturist is overseeing the student’s administration. Trust me, I got Botox once this way and the Doctor guided the student the entire time. 
  • If none of the above work, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount! Seriously, you’ll never know if you don’t ask!   

Have you had acupuncture? If so, how did it go? Would you recommend it? Do you have any tips to share with everyone? 



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