duriyah: (Default)
My back so much better last week that I felt able to do more exercise. I increased my time on the elliptical from 8 minutes once a day to 10 minutes twice a day. My cardiovascular system loved it, but by the end of the week the trigger point in my mid back was inflamed again from the rotational aspect of the elliptical machine.

*sigh* Two steps forward, one step back.

Saturday I rested. I was exhausted, both from the week and from the early morning trip to the vet. We were totally out of drinking water so a trip to the grocery was mandatory, but it was totally naptime after we got home. Dinner was pizza in bed.

Sunday I felt much more like myself, and was able to complete the rest of the weekend chores. After which I did lot of qigong and gentle stretching.

Yesterday I again got a massage before acupuncture. This time my student therapist worked right on the areas of knotted muscle (interspersed with plenty of area-wide friction, gods love him!) to loosen them up. Today my back feels muuuch better: wide and loose. Ahhh...

I hope it still feels good tomorrow. The first couple of times I got massages at the school I was really sore the day after, even though I drank several glasses of water afterward to flush out the toxins stirred up by the massage. That didn't happen this time, meaning that a) I've progressed quite a bit (yay), and b) following massage with acupuncture is a really good idea. I have had much success these last three weeks with that protocol.

This week's exercise theme is "Keep It Loose!" I'll be doing lots of qigong, focusing on moving gently and slowly, trying my best to keep those muscles from tightening up again.
duriyah: (Default)
I have now had an acupuncture treatments once a week for the past three weeks. I'm lucky enough to have a school of alternative medicine in my town (American Institute of Alternative Medicine). I knew they offered student acupuncture treatments, but I have never taken advantage of them before. But a friend at work who has had back problems about as long as I have (only hers are much worse) recently started getting treatments there, and swears by it. So I decided it was time for me to try it out.

Once I sign in and pay my $30, the acupuncture intern takes me back to the treatment room, where she begins the session with an intake interview. In addition to the questions you would expect, relating to my presenting problem and general health, I'm asked questions specific to Chinese medicine, relating to my diet, water intake, and excretions. The acupuncturist then takes my pulse and asks to look at my tongue. I'm not sure what they are reading in the pulse, but they always take their time with it, so it's obviously more than the usual beats per minute.

The intern's instructor, a Chinese woman, then comes in and also takes my pulse and looks at my tongue. The acupuncturist and her instructor then leave the room for a few minutes to make their treatment plan.

My first and third treatments have been basically the same treatment for the pain in my middle and lower back. The intern inserts a pair of needles (one on either side of the spine) at the top of my neck, mid-back, waist, and lower lumbar. I also get needles at the back of my knees, my ankles, the top of my feet, and top of my hands. This last time I also got a needle inserted in the top of my head at the crown point.

Sometimes I feel nothing when the needles are inserted, but at the places where the muscles are tighter there can be an initial sting that dissipates within 30 or 60 seconds. The treatment lasts 30 minutes, during which I lie on the table and try to relax.

The first treatment didn't feel really bad, but not good, either. I felt sensations of heat in the muscle around where some of the needles were, that slowly spread into the surrounding area. The weirdest part was toward the end when the heat spread into my illiopsoas muscle. That's the deep muscle that runs along the anterior pelvis and into the groin, and flexes the hip. It's your tenderloin muscle. It was weird to have the heat sensation so deep, when all I'm doing is lying there.

Later that evening I felt sore through my waist in the back and front. The soreness was gone by morning. The experience was similar to the first few times I got electrical stim: vaguely unpleasant during the treatment, sore and painful directly afterward, but much better the following day.

The third treatment, this past week, was much easier than the first. I didn't feel as much pain when the needles were inserted or as much sensation during the treatment. And the addition of the point at my crown really relaxed me. I nearly fell asleep.

My second treatment went differently from the other two because my needs were different. The day before, my elderly, diabetic cat had to be rushed to the vet to be treated for hypoglycemia, which can be fatal within hours. She pulled through, but she very nearly died. Needless to say, I was still full of anxiety and grief when I arrived for my acupuncture appointment, and the muscles of my upper back burned from the tension I had been carrying there.

The acupuncturist inserted needles at points along my upper back related to the lungs. Apparently the lungs relate to grief, and that is why I had been carrying tension in my upper back. She also inserted needles on my hands, inner wrists, feet, and one at the top of my skull.

I didn't feel much in the way of physical sensation except deep relaxation. I nearly fell asleep, and when the half hour was over I was so relaxed that I had to take my time getting up from the table. It also grounded me and brought my emotions back to a more manageable level, which was a relief. So: acupuncture works not only for pain management, but for emotional balance as well.

Interesting thing: one morning several days after the first treatment, I discovered quite by accident that I can encourage the energy flow simply by thinking about the acupuncture experience. I was lying in bed waiting for sleep, and my mind wandered to the acupuncture. The moment I remembered the sensations of the treatment,I felt the same sensations of heat flow through my back as I experienced during the treatment. That took me by surprise, but what a useful thing! It's just like my meditation teacher says: energy follows thought. Since that first time I have made a point to send thought/energy to these areas at least once a day, especially before I do any qigong, in the hopes of helping speed the healing process.


duriyah: (Default)

August 2013



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