The Chinese Tradition of Acupuncture

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The Chinese Tradition of Acupuncture I hate needles. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be a doctor, and I have no problem sticking other people with needles, but as soon as I become the patient, there’s a problem. I’m scared of things piercing my skin and my body. But when I decided to do my project on acupuncture, I told myself that in order to get the whole experience, I must face my fear and do it. So one Monday afternoon I went with my project partner Fritzie to the acupuncture clinic and had my first experience with this ancient form of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is used for many medical conditions, but I went in primarily for stress. Dr. Susan Shao, the licensed acupuncturist, had me lay down on my stomach, and she felt for tense spots on my lower back and up to my neck. She found that my left side was much firmer than my right, which was typical of stress-related tension. I had particularly large knots in the lower back region and shoulder area, and I also had tension in my jaw muscles, since I tend to grip and grind my teeth when I feel stress. Dr. Shao started the acupuncture treatment using one-inch needles, so about three-fourths of an inch penetrated the skin. An interesting fact that she shared with us is that the ancient acupuncturists made their own needles out of gold or silver, so the needles were fairly large. Needless to say, the old forms of acupuncture were very painful for the individual, unlike today’s techniques. She felt for pressure points along my back and put the needles in those spots. I didn’t even feel the needle go in, only the plastic surrounding the needle tapping my skin. She put in about ten or so needles down each side of my back including one in each of my forearms. Dr. Shao then hooked the twenty needles up to a battery that produced the electrical stimulation, which ran for fifteen minutes. I felt a slight tapping feeling as the electrical current went through my body, but I didn’t feel much else. During the fifteen minutes, I felt very relaxed, and I just wanted to lie there all day and rest. After the time was up, Dr. Shao removed the needles and gave me a short but deep massage.

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