Poking Where It Hurts

November 2, 2017|Posted in: Uncategorized

I’m an open-minded kind of guy (whether that is the “reason for” or the “result of” studying philosophy years ago, I’ll let you decide). But I’m also a guy who’s ever-so-slightly terrified by what I see happening to public healthcare. I, personally, have insurance, but I’ve got plenty of friends who have been dropped or who have seen their rates skyrocket, and frankly, it makes me nervous. So I’ve been trying to use the aforementioned open mind to find pathways to healthcare that allow me to circumvent the insurance companies and those twits on the other coast altogether.

This is the part where the Greek chorus sings “Try homeopathic medicine!” Well, OK, fine. I’m willing to experiment with anything. Problem is, the “homeopathic” label covers a lot of territory … I wasn’t sure where to start.

Then I saw this well-written article in the Chronicle about a guy who tried acupuncture, only to find it didn’t work–at least for him. Would it work for me? Let’s find out!

I suppose like most people, I narrowly defined acupuncture as a treatment where someone stuck about a million needles in you, and somehow looking like Pinhead  for half an hour would cure your athlete’s foot or whatever. But the ball of the thumb on my left hand had been hurting for a few weeks, and I figured that was a nice safe area to experiment on. I Googled a practitioner and booked an appointment.

I was a little tense when I went in, but the ambiance meter in the office was set to “Zen” and I was able to relax fairly quickly. I got a canned lecture from the lady–it’s a classical art, long-term health benefits, yada yada yada–and then I explained the problem while she nodded a lot, like “Pfft! No problem!” I stretched out the massage table, and she went to work.

The guy in the article said it didn’t hurt much, but I felt no pain at all. I know, I know: it sounds like it should be massively painful — but it’s really just not. I mean, you feel it, but it’s less painful than, say, plucking a nose hair (nice visual there, huh? Sorry.).

Depending on which literature you read, acupuncture is either an ancient mystical art that helps realign your life energy … or a scientific way to manipulate your body into producing its own natural painkillers … or complete quackery.

So did it work on me? Let’s just say I’m still skeptical.

Don’t get me wrong: my thumb hurt a little less afterwards … but you could chalk that up to simply allowing myself to completely chill for 20 minutes. It hurt a LOT less the next morning … but by the end of the day, I was back where I started, pain-wise.

So maybe it worked a little, or maybe it was all psychological, or maybe I just needed more sessions. Whatever, I’m still glad I tried it. Even if it didn’t help, I can honestly say it didn’t hurt, literally or figuratively.

Could be it’s just one of those things where it depends on the person. I’m not going to totally cross it off my “Potentially Helpful Natural Remedies” list … but I’m not ready to cancel my health insurance yet, either.