Monday, March 10, 2008


Today I went to my acupuncture appointment. I usually go to this appointment on Saturday, but I had something else to do this past Saturday. Anyway, I went today and it was good as it usually is. The acupuncture shop is a tiny little storefront of a place within an enclosed shopping centre. Before I went there to be treated, I had passed by the shop countless times and had barely noticed it. I would always see Karen, the lady who runs the shop, sitting on a stool at the counter and reading a book. Her many herbs and remedies surrounded her on the eight foot high shelves. There didn’t seem to be that much activity going on back then. Or maybe I was just not passing by at the right time.

Anyway, I have to rewind a bit here. I was in a car accident at the end of 2006 and my hip was injured. Since then I have been going back and forth everywhere getting treatments. So that has been my life for over a year now and finally I am doing a lot better. I had a check-up the other day and I have come along nearly back to where I was before the accident. Although sometimes I get so frustrated at the slow progress of things, I only have to really think back to how it was in the beginning when I could barely walk. It was hard to think that I was only in my late 30s and I was seemingly falling apart. Every part of me hurt. So I try to look at things with a bit better perspective now and I see how really far I have come.

Okay, so anyway, on to how I was brought into the world of acupuncture. I wasn’t seeking out acupuncture at the time as I was seeking more Western treatments at that point. My husband and I happened to be in town picking up a few things. We passed by the acupuncture shop for like the hundredth time and this time we stopped to look at the signs they had in the window. There were various signs listing different ailments and what different herbs could do for you. Karen, the owner, saw us reading at the window and she came outside to greet us with a few leaflets in her hands. She asked me what ailments I was suffering with and I said, “So how long do you have for me to list them?” We laughed. To make a long story a bit shorter, I ended up being assessed that day and had my first treatment.

When I had my first treatment, this was during those days when I was in pain most of the time. I figured that I didn’t have a thing to lose in trying it. So I struggled onto the table. I have ALWAYS hated needles, but I was as near to desperate at this point as I have ever been in life. I have to admit, I did feel the needle for a tiny millisecond. But then I just chilled out and it didn’t feel anything like there were in fact 50 needles all over my body. A piece of cake it was. They put a heat lamp over my back and then turned out the lights and left me in this tiny little room face down with my body, I am certain, looking like a pin cushion. And I will tell you, that was the most relaxed I had felt in a long, long time. I don’t know when I fell asleep, but all I remember is the acupuncturist and Karen coming back into the room and waking me up. I was kind of embarrassed at the time, but now I laugh about the fact that they caught me fast asleep and slobbering a tiny bit. :-)) It was hilarious. Anyway, I tried to play it off by acting like I had an itch and wiped it away.

So after that first session, I was hooked. I have been going to have the treatments when the budget allows here and there over the last few months. And I must say that it has helped me. I can’t say how this will work for anyone else, but I do believe that the treatments have definitely taken the edge off of my pains.

Another treat of having the acupuncture is the good vibe of the shop. Like I said before, it is a little shop with loads of herbs stacked on the shelves. And the two treatment rooms are tiny, but it has such a good feeling. Karen is the owner. Karen is not her given name though. She is originally from China, and has adopted this Westernized name since she has been in England. She says that it helps her feel like she can fit in more with a name like that. I however, think it is kind of sad that she feels the need to fit in by changing her name. But I always try to respect what others decide to do. I don’t know her whole story so who am I to judge. She is so sweet. She speaks very good English, but I am always enthralled when I hear her speak in her native language to the acupuncturist who doesn’t speak English so well yet. They are both very kind ladies and they have been a comfort to me in many ways. Karen loves to talk and I love asking her about where she comes from. I guess we connect as one expat to another. When I have come in sometimes feeling homesick, she has understood and can relate. I think sometimes that we find what we need just when we need it in life. When I first went there to get treatments, I really needed physical help, but also I think that it was good for both of us to connect with another person far away from her home too. So in the end we help each other.

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