I found myself lying on a table in a white room filled with cold air looking around at the half-dozen diagrams and models. Dr. Matt Kelley was rubbing his hands together, planning his next move like a game of chess, thinking about where to insert these tiny, pointed needles with red poles on the ends.
"Bloody hell!" The needle that was just inserted between my thumb and my pointer finger sent a rush of blood and tingling throughout my arm. My finger was twitching.
"Oww, that one huuurt." The first two needles he put in my left ankle and my right leg – technically Large Intestine 4 and Stomach 36 – hadn't hurt that much, but this one was bad.
Acupuncture uses specially placed thin, hollow needles to enhance a body's natural healing ability, according to Healthplusweb.com. This particular needle was placed at Spleen 6 to help my seasonal migraines. Dr. Kelley said the reason it hurt the most was because it was my biggest complaint,
I had walked into McKee Center for Holistic Medicine in Loveland, 1907 Boise Ave. Suite 1, last week with intriguing thoughts about what acupuncture was like and how I was going to react. Never having been a fan of shots, there I was at an acupuncture appointment, about to succumb to needles under my skin's surface for a long time, which turned out to be half an hour for my initial consultation.
Kelley had first sat me down and asked me a series of questions about my lifestyle. I gave him the typical story of any college student: no sleep and bad food. I told him I worked two jobs, took four classes and volunteered. Oh, and also a few nights of partying were included in my week.
I also told him about the bad migraines I frequently got. Immediately, he recommended a stress-relieving treatment that would balance my body and mind out to let me relax and take care of my headaches.
So there I was lying on the table, awaiting my first needle. At first I was expecting him to have me strip down and lay on my stomach like I have always seen on television, but I simply had lay down on the oh-so comfortable and relaxing doctor's table just as I already I was. He instructed me to roll my pants up, so I did. I took a deep breath, and "Pow!" I looked down and there was a needle sticking out of my ankle.
"Does anyone faint?" I asked him, becoming flustered by the "thing" sticking out of me. He said yes … lovely. At least I was lying down. He surrendered my right leg to another needle.
It was beginning to feel really good until he went for the hand, and that's where the story picks up. I sat in agony for one moment and in another I felt fabulous. Kelley took hold of my right hand and stuck me near the vein that runs along the inside of the arm and the wrist. This was Lung 7.
OK, I had four needles in me, one in each limb, but acupuncture treatments should have five. I had no idea where the fifth would go. Kelley began explaining Yin Tang, which helps with mental clarity, focus and calming the mind. It was the top-off to a nice rebalancing stabbing of the skin.
I saw the needle coming toward me and almost went cross-eyed. My eyes closed and voile! A needle in my forehead and it felt wonderful. Kelley told me a story back from when he was in college. He would stick a needle in the middle of his scalp, known as the "happy point," and would go to tests with it sticking out. (I'm thinking my next visit will feature the use of the happy point). And I do think I will go back.
After my visit, I walked out of the clinic and went home. Instead of getting ready for work, I passed out cold on my bed in 30 seconds flat. I woke up with a few minutes to spare and rushed to work in a frenzy. However, it was not the normal, stressed, freaking-out kind of frenzy. It was like, "Oh, I am running late. All I need to do is brush my teeth, comb my hair and find my keys. Where did I put my keys? Oh well, I'll just walk," kind of frenzy in the calmest, most organized way possible.
All in all, acupuncture was definitely an experience I would recommend. It helped me sleep at night and mellowed me out when I faced difficult situations.
However, it was over Spring Break so I didn't have the normal stressors to deal with. And on Monday, I went to school with the calm feeling I felt after acupuncture rather than the chain-smoking, coffee-drinking, hungover-ridden, I-hope-I-didn't-have-homework-over-break, did-I-leave-my-backpack-at-home mindset.