My first experience of acupuncture!

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So, it seemed like a good idea to start running again.  When I say ‘running’ … I’ve been plodding for years, nothing major, just a few miles when I get the time, but I hadn’t managed to lace up the trainers yet in 2017.  

And ‘High Intensity Training’ is all the rage, right?  So, instead of the usual gentle jog I decided – for my first run of the year – to sprint before getting out of breath, then easing up, before sprinting again … you get the idea.

It’s Friday night, pitch black, and I’m running as fast as I can.  All is going well, I’m thinking about slowing down before … ‘BANG’ … the next thing I remember is my face hitting the pavement!  Ah yes, those long laces I’ve been meaning to chop for ages had finally tripped me up!

Embarrassment and hoping nobody spotted my tumble was the main concern before, whilst limping home, I realised bits of my body were hurting and bleeding.  I also discovered quite quickly that I couldn’t straighten my arm and my elbow was starting to swell.

Over the next few days I kept putting off an A&E trip (the thought of the long wait was worse than the pain!) but after showing my war wounds to colleagues, the consensus was I should actually visit A&E, as well as see if acupuncture could help.

Although I’ve been temporary marketing manager at the NCA since September, I’ve never had acupuncture!  I know people that have, and I’ve always been open to ‘non-traditional’ therapies, but have just never experienced it for myself.  So, this seemed like the perfect time to face the needles in our in-house clinic!

Adele, one of the NCA’s very friendly reception staff, booked me in for a 9am slot and on the allotted morning – as I was flicking through a copy of GQ in the clinic waiting room – I was met by third year MSc student Marjana.

In the treatment room, Marjana gave me more information about acupuncture, detailed what would happen during my session, and took some medical history details.  Then, after examining my arm, she explained she would consult with the clinic supervisor before letting me know the course of action.

A short wait later, Marjana returned with fellow student Pavlinka, and gave me the good news that acupuncture should help with loosening my arm muscles, and assist with the bruising.  After agreeing to treatment, I relaxed on a treatment couch (pictured) as needles were tapped into various parts of my arms, and shins.

I’d been told needling didn’t hurt, and was relieved to find that was true!  There was some sharpness but the main sensation was twitching in parts of my arm not directly where the needles were inserted – which was strange!  On the advice of clinic supervisor Don, I also had an electro-acupuncture machine attached to a couple of the needles which ran a small current down my arm … don’t be alarmed, the only sensation was a slight tingling!

After being given an ‘emergency’ buzzer, I closed my eyes and relaxed for what seemed like ages but was, in fact, just 20 minutes.  The students and Don then returned, checked I was OK, and painlessly removed the needles.  They also suggested monitoring how the arm felt over the next few days, visiting A&E as a precaution, and that I was welcome to book another session if needed.

So, how was my first acupuncture experience?  I’m definitely pleased I’ve now tried it.  It was very relaxing, and I felt pretty ‘chilled’ afterwards!  There was no needles pain and, over the next few days, I did notice my arm was easier to move.

Coincidentally, I also had treatment a week later as the ‘patient’ for College Principal, Richard Blackwell, during an ‘Introductory Day’ demonstration.  On this occasion, within just a couple of hours, I noticeably felt more mobility and less pain in my arm.

If you’ve never had acupuncture before and are interested in experiencing it for yourself, the NCA’s friendly and professional teaching clinic is open to the public.  See here for more information.

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