‘How It Helped Ease My Anx­i­ety’

Look (UK) - - FIRST LOOK - words: gabrielle dyer @gdid­what

I’ve never been a fan of nee­dles. In fact, I’ve spent most of my life avoid­ing them at all costs. Which is why acupunc­ture was never some­thing I’d con­sid­ered. But, af­ter a bout of bad health and a few anx­ious months, I found my­self sit­ting with Mike Wong, an acupunc­tur­ist at Neal’s Yard, vent­ing about my life.

I was overly stressed and couldn’t switch off. As a re­sult, I’d been strug­gling with nearcon­stant anx­i­ety, panic at­tacks, and my neck and back were a mess. Med­i­ta­tion and box­ing had helped slightly, but the anx­i­ety was still there and I was in pain sit­ting at my desk each day. A friend had told me how acupunc­ture had helped her, so af­ter some re­search I gave it a go.

Af­ter ask­ing me about my life­style, Mike took my pulse and then, weirdly, asked me to stick out my tongue. He said my pulse was weak, in­di­cat­ing high lev­els of stress (no shock there) and poor cir­cu­la­tion. Stranger still, my tongue showed I was ap­par­ently hold­ing on to some re­pressed anger. Who knew?

Now, on to the nee­dles. Do they hurt? In all hon­esty, no. At cer­tain points they felt sharp, par­tic­u­larly in my legs, but it wasn’t painful. Once all the nee­dles are in, your acupunc­tur­ist ad­justs them, which is an odd sen­sa­tion and feels like in­creas­ing pres­sure at each point.

I left my first ses­sion re­laxed but very tired. That night I slept like a baby and awoke feel­ing some­what bet­ter than be­fore, but I was scep­ti­cal about how long it would last and af­ter two days the pain in my back started to re­turn. But af­ter see­ing gen­eral im­prove­ment, I booked an­other ap­point­ment for the fol­low­ing week. Four ses­sions later and I’ve made it through more than a month with­out feel­ing even re­motely anx­ious. There’s no feel­ing of im­ped­ing dread, no panic and my chronic lower back pain has gone. To put it frankly, acupunc­ture’s been one of the best de­ci­sions I’ve ever made. Do I still get stressed? Of course, but I feel much bet­ter pre­pared for it.

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