I hope everyone had a fantastic day off yesterday!
Unfortunately I did not have the day off, but luckily there was absolutely no traffic on the roads. To me that is just as good as a day off!
In order to stay true to my back to basics eating plan, I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate more whole grains, vegetables and fruits into my diet.
Cookies, chips and processed food seem like a good idea at the time, but I always pay for it later. Of course I’ll indulge on the weekends and during special events, but I am really trying to keep by sugar cravings at bay these days.
My Experience with Acupuncture
For the past 2-3 years I’ve been experiencing minor jaw pain. The pain would normally come and go, and be more of a nuisance than anything else.
For the past few months, what was only jaw pain, has radiated into cheek, temple and overall facial pain. The pain itself is hard to explain. It is not a sharp or acute pain, but more of a dull feeling of discomfort that causes my face to ache and feel stiff.
The pain is often triggered by chewing, yawning or talking for a long period of time. I notice the feeling more so in the morning than I do at night, which causes me to believe that I grind my teeth and clench my jaw while I am sleeping.
Aside from the jaw clenching and teeth grinding, I used to be an excessive gum chewer. Yes, you heard that correctly, and no I’m not exaggerating. I used to chew about a pack to a pack and half a day (I sound like a chain smoker!) but have since QUIT! I miss having that minty and fresh taste in my mouth all day long, but clearly the disadvantages of this nervous habit outweigh the advantages.
I’m not sure what the actual root cause of my jaw/facial discomfort is, but what I do is that it’s come to an unbearable point. It has caused headaches, neck pain and an overall “tired” feeling in my face, which makes it hard to concentrate.
I’ve tried Advil, Motrin, a mouth guard and have also worked on relaxing my jaw on a regular basis. None of which have significantly helped.
Acupuncture is something I’ve been curious about for quite sometime. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this type of Chinese alternative medicine, but never had a reason to look into the benefits.
My mom is a firm believer in acupuncture and has had fantastic results with it. She used to suffer from severe migraine headaches, that have virtually subsided since she began acupuncture. She convinced me to try it, and I figured why not?
Admittedly I was slightly skeptic, and also nervous about the needles (needles are not my favorite thing!) but I kept an open mind.
When the doctor came in we discussed my overall health history and the areas that I wanted to work on. Of course my main concern was my jaw pain, but we also discussed general detoxing, help with anxiety, stress and overall energy enhancement.
I asked her questions regarding the treatment, and what exactly would be going on throughout my body. If I’m giving someone permission to stick several needles in my body, you better believe I want a full explanation of how this works!
She explained to me that in Chinese medicine, one must have the proper balance of “yin”, “yang” and “qi”.
There are 350 acupressure points in the body which can be used to increase the flow and balance of your “yin”, “yang” and “qi”. It is believed that people who have some sort of health impediment, have an imbalance along these pathways. Inserting acupuncture needles on the right points, can help balance the flow of energy, and return the person back to health.
The doctor had me lay down on the bed face up, as she began inserting the acupuncture needles into my body. The needles are about 3cm long, and about the width of a strand of hair. They are also bendable and do not damage the surface of the skin.
She stuck about 10 or so needles all over my body (head, toes, jaw, wrists hands, etc.) and left me in the room for about a half hour. She then came back, moved the needles slightly and left me to relax for another 20 minutes or so.
I felt a slight tingle from the needles, but did not feel any pain. The doctor said she could tell that my “qi” is quite stagnant because I was not feeling the needles whatsoever in my legs. Apparently she was inserting them somewhat deep, which should have caused me to feel some sort of stimulation.
She removed the needles after a full hour had passed (again I didn’t feel anything), and advised me to come back for sessions once a week, for at least 6 weeks.
Coincidentally, I left the office feeling more relaxed and my jaw felt “looser”. I can’t say that I’ve experienced a huge difference yet, but I am keeping an optimistic attitude.
Overall my first experience with acupuncture was a positive one. I’m looking forward to my next session, and to experience the mental and physical benefits that this holistic approach promotes.
Have you ever tried acupuncture? How was your experience?