Acupuncture: Helpful or Hoax?

I’m a product of Western medicine.  I haven’t ever put much stock in advice or treatment from anyone whose name doesn’t end with M.D.  A few years ago, I gave a chiropractor a try and although it was a bit relaxing I wasn’t sold.

One problem with this resistance to alternative medical treatments is that I seem to have odd reactions to most medicine.  Sure, I was able to take birth control pills for 12 years, and I haven’t experienced any side effects from commonly prescribed meds such as antibiotics, but I have yet to find something to treat an ailment that has been plaguing me since my teens – insomnia.

If you’re about to give me home remedy advice, trust me, I’ve already heard it.  My sleeplessness comes and goes in cycles.  Sometimes I’ll go a few weeks with no problems, then I’ll start having trouble falling and/or staying asleep and it will last days, sometimes weeks.  This happens whether or not I’ve been getting regular exercise, whether or not I’ve had caffeine during the day, whether or not I’m eating sugar or chocolate or after 6pm or any of the myriad of suggestions I’ve been given and have tried over the years.

You’re probably asking why, when home remedies don’t work, don’t I just pop some Advil or Tylenol PM and knock myself out?  Good question.  One of the active ingredients in PM meds (consequently, the same ingredient in benedryl, which I also can’t take) raises my blood pressure and gives me heart palpitations.   I have tried to take it to sleep, and ended up waking multiple times in a panicked state, then spending the entire next day with a hangover worse than alcohol ever gave me.   I can only imagine what a drug like Ambien would do to me.  I’d be one of those people who sleepwalks to her car and drives across the country on a shooting spree.

So finally, I have decided to give something new a try.  Something I have considered before but for some reason put it off time and again – acupuncture.  I had my first treatment Thursday and to be honest I don’t know yet if it’s going to make a difference.  I wonder if I don’t buy into it if it will work anyway, or if it’s just the process of buying into it that makes it work?  Is it one of those things that fools the brain into making the body work better, just on belief?

If nothing else, the process relaxed me.  I also had a nice consultation with the acupuncturist during which I told her of my other ailments – heart palpitations, digestive issues, even infertility.  Maybe if I try to push my logical/cynical brain aside and try for once to blindly try something out of the ordinary, I might be surprised.

I’d love to hear about anyone else’s ventures with acupuncture.  Leave a comment or tweet me!

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2 thoughts on “Acupuncture: Helpful or Hoax?

  1. Well I’ve never had an acupuncture treatment, so I have no advice for you but I do hope that it works. Insomnia is a horrible thing to have to deal with 😦 Though I haven’t researched it much, I’ve heard good things about acupuncture – so hopefully it’s helpful for you.

  2. I did acupuncture a few years ago for headaches and it actually helped tremendously. I wish I could start going on a regular basis again.

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