I have wanted to try acupuncture for a very long time, but really it always just seemed far too pricey an experiment since I was weary of paying someone to stick needles in me to begin with and slightly doubtful that I could actually lie still while they were in. After a lot of research for an old job about acupuncture options in NYC, I had completely written off EVER being even able to afford it so stopped even considering it as an option. Then over the summer on a walk by my house, I spotted Brooklyn Open Acupuncture, a sliding scale Community Acupuncture clinic on Atlantic Avenue. I snagged one of their flyers, read up about what “community acupuncture” really entailed but it was really one of my dearest friends who talked me into trying it. She is a huge advocate of acupuncture and is also the first one I’ve ever known who tried community acupuncture. The idea of sitting in a room full of strangers with needles stuck in me sounded horrifying but she swore up and down that it wasn’t. Even though I was dubious, she’s knows me too well to doubt her when she told me “You HAVE to try it. It is amazing and you will love it. GO.” Even after that, it took awhile to book my first appointment. In a testament to the world being small, one of the acupuncturists, Rebecca Parker at BK Open, turned out to know the fella because he bought her old surf board this summer, which seemed like a sign. I knew then, that when I finally got over my nerves, I was going to make an appointment with her.
I was nervous as I made my way up to the 3rd floor space, down the long hallway and to the small front desk room about what I was really in for. Although I got there really early, by the time I had finally completed the long health questionnaire, it was time for my appointment. I met with Rebecca in a small private room where we talked about my concerns. I told her about my goofy hurt foot and tight lower legs. She nodded knowingly and started to tell me how the treatment would go. She told me that I could be treated either laying down or in one of the chairs out in the group treatment room, and I could choose wherever I would be more comfortable. Rebecca also reiterated what I had read before, that the treatment would take about 45 minutes to an hour or whenever I “felt done”. I had no idea what “done” was supposed to feel like. She asked if I had any time restraints because if I didn’t and I fell asleep, she wouldn’t wake me. The idea that I could possibly fall asleep with needles poking out of me seemed comical. I chose to lie down because I figured that lying down, I would be less freaked out by the needles sticking out of me since I wouldn’t be able to see them as easily. I figured I would just lie there until she came to check on me and that would be “done” enough. By my table, I stripped down to a tank and loose yoga pants so she could have easy access and hopped on the table. Rebecca took my pulse and checked my tongue and then started placing the needles. They were mostly in my calves and feet but there also one in each hand, one in each trapezius muscle, and then one dead center in-between my eyebrows.
Some hurt more then others going in but nothing terrible and once they were in didn’t hurt at all. I could definitely feel where they were but it was more a pulsing then pain. Rebecca asked me if I was cold and needed a blanket, I didn’t at that moment but a few minutes later I was and was grateful when she came back and asked again. She covered me in space blanket, like the kind they give out after marathons and told me to relax. I proceeded to drift in and out of conciseness – blissfully out of it. My muscles would twitch occasionally and snapped me out of my sleepy drift and then I would go right back into it. It was heavenly and I then I really did “feel done” and slowly started to fully wake back up.
Impressively, Rebecca was there by my side smiling just moments later. She told me my muscles might be a little sore and that I should take it easy. I sat up and put back on my layers nodding groggily. I was sore, slightly but also shocked by how much better my foot already was feeling. After being so worried about trying acupuncture for the first time, about being in room filled with people – it was in fact one of the most amazing things to be treated to that kind of relaxing calmness. I am totally hooked …and already have made my next appointment.
I can’t wait.
Photos from the Brooklyn Open Acupuncture Website. Bottom image just a little bit of internet goodness.