About 5 years I was in an auto accident and got whiplash. In my lifetime I've had a number of bumps, bruises, and a couple stitches here and there but that car crash was certainly something different. And the most random and conflicting array of advice came flooding from all directions: let it heal naturally- go to physical therapy immediately, see a chiropractor- don't see a chiropractor, go to an acupuncturist- acupuncture is bullshit, try massage- massage may temporarily relieve pain but won't cure anything, try cool light laser (which I did and liked)- lasers?, have surgery- don't even consider surgery............ Ultimately I ended up going to a physical therapist who incorporated a variety of therapies but was heavily focused of chiropractics. And what I can say is that path jacked my neck even up worse. The place I sought treatment was first rate however I only know now in hindsight that seeing that chiropractor at that point in my recovery wasn't good. I do know people who've had tremendous results from chiropractors and I'm not dismissing that practice at all, I'm just speaking about my individual experience.
The acupuncturist's office was in a very nondescript and pretty weathered strip mall in Santa Ana, CA. The overwhelming scent of eucalyptus oil mixed with pain-relieving Icy Hot could be smelled from outside the building. My eyes watered and nearly sealed shut upon entering his stark facility. After filling out some paper work, and gasping for air, I was lead down a sad hallway, passed four very sad faux-wood doors, and shown into the saddest of sad rooms where everything was a shade of dirty beige. "The doctor will be right with you," the young receptionist said as I was left to take survey of my sad surroundings. A beat-up chart of anatomy that looked like a dog had chewed off a corner was thumb-tacked crookedly to the wall next to the cheapest "wood" framed certification that was also hung askew. Dusty fake ferns and 5 year old magazines completed the decor. Some muffled "Ow.... that hurts" came from the room next to me as well as what sounded like counting and I wondered why and how M.P. could have recommended such a place? And then he entered the room.
5 ft tall, about 50 yrs old, my Chinese acupuncturist spoke in very broken English. "You have pain? Where you have pain?", he asked with each word having the exact same emphasis. And then he said something so wonderful and so bullshit-free I wanted to hug him...... "If I can't help you in two treatment then you come here no more." After seeing that chiropractor who wanted to milk my insurance for every penny he could, this blast of honesty was almost too much to take.
Soooo..... I removed my shirt, laid face down on his table, and he placed about 12 needles here and there and left me for nearly 20 minutes. Again, I could him counting and more "Owwwwww!!!! That hurts!" coming from an adjoining room. Huh?
He reentered my room, removed all the needles, then said something like, "Oh here come secret recipe", as he opened a tub of ointment and slathered my back with that Icy Hot concoction. It felt good at first even though my eyes were on fire and then I understood the shouts of pain as he squeezed my shoulders right at the base of my neck as hard as he could and shouted out the most bizarre countdown. "One, two, SPINAL, four, five, SPINAL, seven, SPINAL, nine, SPINAL!!!!!!!!!!!" The squeezing became progressively more intense as he crescendoed into that final SPINAL!!!!!!!! What the f%*K had just happened? He left me laying on that table, covered in Icy Hot, and mumbled, "I be back soon." He repeated that same crazy counting and yelling SPINAL loop two more times over a one hour period.
Leaving his office I was very aware that I smelled like a gallon of Icy Hot and I chuckled at what a crazy experience I'd just had. And you know what---- the tingling in my fingers had stopped. Swear! It was gone. Done. Bye. I saw him in total five times. So needless to say I'm a big believer in acupuncture. Whenever I get a little ache or pain I see another acupuncturist that my yoga teacher recommended who's local. This guy so far hasn't yelled SPINAL but he has incorporated cupping into the mix? In case you don't know what that is, here's a description from wikipedia:
Cupping Therapy is an "ancient medical treatment that relies upon creating a local suction to mobilise blood flow in order to promote healing.” Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps).
The first time I had it done, I nearly fainted when I got home and saw the results. Here goes and this isn't photoshopped....
Those pepperoni-looking circles fade away after about a week-ish. So yesterday I woke up with some serious pain in my neck and upper back and decided to pay my acu a visit. P.S. If my posting yesterday was off, I blame the pain. This time, instead of leaving the cups in one area, he rubbed three of them up and down my back and I nearly fainted when I got home. Here's what I saw in the mirror last night.
Thanks for indulging me.
It's now July 5th and those crazy marks are basically gone. Thank goodness! The lowest circle on my back (it's almost like a tramp stamp) is the only remaining mark but it's barely even there. 5 days later and my neck feels so much better too. I took a yoga class this morning and showed that above picture to my teacher (he's the one that recommended that acupuncturist) and he said those are the craziest looking cupping marks he's ever seen. He also said that the redder the markings are, the more it means toxins are present. I don't know..... I'm just happy those crazy things are gone and that my neck feels good. Fear not the cupping! Ok, maybe fear it a little...... :)