Heal Thyself: Acupuncture

I think I was just out of high school the very first time I received acupuncture.  My mom was seeing someone and she brought me along to see if they could do something about my allergies (they did).  The next time I saw an acupuncturist was at the Circle Community Acupuncture clinic in San Francisco for stress-management during the transitional time before heading off to grad school (also helpful).  Connecticut was a particularly awful place for me to live allergy wise (leaky face and itchy eyes that prevented me from wearing my contacts in the spring, asthma-like cough and some funky sinus pressure in the fall – awesome), but luckily, the yoga studio I worked at also rented space to an acupuncturist, Bo (now at Infinite Well LLC).  Bo got my face to stop leaking in the spring, which was the first time I’d ever had electrical current run through the acupuncture needles, and he also helped me with some menstrual irregularities.  Then there was Charlie the Circus Doctor in Tucson, whom I have nothing but good things to say about.  Needless to say, I’m a big fan of acupuncture, and Heather Ellsworth, who also works out of Health Options Clinic, did not disappoint.

In addition to all the other things she is able to help you with, Heather specializes in women’s health.  I was actually referred her way by a couple of my patients who had seen her for labor induction treatments.  Another interesting tidbit about Heather is that her teacher is blind, and so Heather has also learned to do her treatments by touch and a little experimentation.

While I originally intended to see Heather for that potential tendonitis in my right shoulder, by the time I got around to seeing her, I was having a funky new health problem that was a little more pressing – namely, some GI issues.  I took ibuprofen pretty regularly for pain and, at this point, was taking 800mg nightly because I was training and rehearsing for a performance and trying to keep the inflammation in my shoulder down.  I was only taking it at night, so in the grand scheme of things it really wasn’t a lot.  I was also drinking a cup of coffee every day and a glass of wine with dinner every other night or so, and eating a pretty clean, unprocessed diet, so again nothing crazy or excessive going on there.  At some point I decided to swith over to Aleve to see if it was more effective.  A few days later, I found myself with unable to do, or eat, much due to some pretty awful intestinal pain.  My stomach always felt tight and, for lack of a better word, inflammed (I’m convinced I gave myself an ulcer).  I did some home remedies (more on this in the next post) and had gotten the pain down to a manageable level, but my treatments with Heather are what really made it go away.  I did have few resurgences of the pain after taking NSAIDs, but they were much shorter and more easily managed.

Heather also worked on my shoulder and did some things to help balance my hormones.  The hot pain down my right arm went away after my treatments with her, but we didn’t have a chance to work on it more extensively since I was finally able to get in with a different kind of practioner after a couple months on the waiting list.  I will certainly be seeing her again in the future!

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