I have taken my own advice and started getting acupuncture for my GERD. These will be in the bariatric section of this blog since my GERD is caused by VSG and also under Health.
I’ve had the first appointment and it went very well. Not very painful at all. I could feel a couple of the needles, but in a zingy kind of way, not a hurty kind of way. I can’t explain it any better than that. The needles are tapping into your energy meridians in order to stimulate Qi, so if you think of these meridians as electrical circuits, you can imaging what a zingy feeling could be like. It’s interesting.
Dr Jiang Li is an AMAZING Chinese doctor here in Atlanta whom I HIGHLY recommend if you have ever wanted to explore Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. I saw her years ago for compressed disks cause by some asshole “trainer” who had zero clue what he was doing. The acupuncture session then was terribly painful the first time and somewhat better the second, but my back was completely better in just a few days. Read about the first session here and the second here – I am very specific with needle placement for the second session, so read it for info! (I have no idea why I stopped going after only two sessions, but it is SO like me to do that. Sigh.) This time is VERY different!
Anyway, I’ve been recommending Dr Li to people forever and it suddenly occurred to me that I should take my own advice and seek alternative treatment for this damned GERD. So here we are.
I will try to get her to take a photo of me during treatment next visit, so you can see what it looks like. I never look, I just try to be still and breathe. But here’s what happens during a visit:
1. Wear loose clothing! I forgot and had to deal with a bra and jeans! She generally does not ask you to disrobe.
2. She’ll ask you why you are there and allow you to tell her whatever you feel she needs to know. She is a good listener.
3. Then you’ll move your clothes around to expose the areas she needs to use.
4. You’ll lay on your back and she might palpate your organs if you’re there for that. I was, and she did.
5. Then the poking begins. You do NOT generally feel anything other than a tap. However, if she is right on the meridian that is having trouble, you might feel a slight poke and after that, the tingly zing I was talking about. That means she has hit on the RIGHT PLACE. It’s generally 10-12 needles, but I’m not certain since I keep my eyes CLOSED. Yes I am a chickenshit. LOL
6. She will leave you there for about 15-20 minutes. I use this time to breathe deeply into my Qi and try to stay relaxed. I was anxious during my first treatment and my body was trying hard to pass out – which you cannot do while supine, thankfully [memory of the first time made me anxious]. But I calmed down and it was fine. My issue was reflux, which is exacerbated by laying flat. THAT was an issue, but not the acupuncture. (Bringing bed wedge next time for this.)
7. She’ll come back and remove the needles in one motion. It’s SO crazy! Like, literally, ONE SECOND to remove them all.
8. She’ll then ask you to roll over on your stomach, or in my case, on my left side, to access your spine.
9. Again, the poking begins. She might press here and there with her fingers to find the spots first. I felt several of these, because that’s where the problem was years ago and that meridian is the problem child now. But nothing big, just a small prick then the tinglies.
10. She’ll leave you again for 15-20 mins.
11. She’ll come back in and take out the needles.
12. That’s it!
Notice there wasn’t anything about taking histories or any of that? Yep, TCM is about addressing the imbalances of your Qi NOW. You can present with whatever is bothering you and she will ask why you’re there, but that’s all she needs to know. She will also ask you if you have any heart, BP, or other issues before she starts. But for the most part, there is little talking and she gets to business. The session will take about an hour.
Afterwards, you go out front, set your next appointment and pay. If Dr Li thinks you need a medicinal tea, she’ll give it to you now. Unfortunately, I did need one. ::sob:: This is what it looks like:
And it tastes WORSE than it looks. It is BITTER, OMG, SO bitter. Like my soul bitter. ::shudder:: I have to take it twice a day for two weeks, until my next appointment. I will give you this advice about the medicinal teas: take them as a shot! They come as granules in a packet and the instructions say to put in 8oz of hot water. NOOOOOO. Here’s what I do in order to be able to get this nasty shit down my gullet:
Get a jar with a lid that holds a cup, pint, quart, whatever. I use a pint canning jar. Boil TWO OUNCES of water for each serving (1 packet) of the vile tea. Put the # of packets corresponding to the water in the jar. Add hot water to the jar and stir until the granules are dissolved. Put lid on the jar and refrigerate. Get a 2oz shot glass (or make a glass with a 2oz mark). When it’s time for the Death Tea™, get the jar and shake it to make sure meds are distributed, then measure out 2oz in your shot glass. Shoot that shit like it’s cheap tequila!! Voilà! Done!
My food knowledge helped me make up this method; knowing how to make a recipe that gives the proper dose and knowing that refrigeration will tamp down the nasty taste are key elements to this method. And it WORKS. I strongly suggest this if you are given Death Tea™. Blech. (Oddly, it does not make me the least bit nauseous, even being so gross. It’s weird shit, this Death Tea™!)
The teas are an integral part of balancing Qi, so you really need to take it if you are prescribed it. I can tell a difference even after only 1.5 days. If you want to know what you’re taking, you can look it up via google. For instance, my tea is “Left Side Metal” tea and when I search that, I get several articles about what that means, the organs it represents and tons of other info.
Last thing you need to know is that acupuncture is not expensive. A regular session with Dr Li is $80 plus the tea if you get one. That is SO affordable, considering how powerful TCM and acupuncture are. As I said, I’m already feeling different after ONE session and 3 doses of Death Tea™.
If you have chronic conditions, inflammatory conditions, GERD, arthritis, WHATEVER, I say, give acupuncture and TCM a go. I am taking my own advice and wondering why I didn’t do this years ago! I’ll post more about this as I go and I’ll try to get photos.