So today I went to an acupuncturist.

Now I would be the first person to admit that I have been skeptical about acupuncture for years. I've heard of people who go in weekly for treatments, if not multiple times within a week and swear by it. As it's not something covered by most insurance it's mostly a cash business. It just comes across as something that could easily be a scam by a non-talented doc to make some money.

Over two months ago a nurse practitioner at a pain clinic was telling me about an acupuncturist in the area that she had known for years and even trained under at one point. She said he was a miracle worker. And I, who have been looking for some miracle of pain relief for years, was at the point where I would try anything. Besides, if I'm going to try something why not go to the best?

I tried to set up a time back in June but was put on a waiting list. In July I finally got a call to schedule my appointment, which was today. During that time I've seen myself free-fall into a never ending pit of constant agony, where no pain killer or activity would even produce a noticeable improvement. So as you can imagine I have literally been counting down the days.

So I'm back home. The verdict? I'm impressed but not a true believer yet. The doctor was a gentle, soft spoken Chinese man. He spoke pretty much the whole time and had a great sense of humor. He was always moving. After I explained where the pain was and my history he started with my "pulse points." Magnets that looked like a band aid with little metal grooves in the center were going on and off various points of my hands. He'd place a magnet, feel the pulse again, adjust and check the pulse again. I was so busy just observing the process that when he asked me if I felt any leg pain, it was then that I realized that I had no leg pain. None. I've had leg pain every day of my life since July 2005 but as I was sitting there in the office my leg felt painless. It felt like my leg was on a floating cloud.

Once the leg pain was taken care of the focus was on the back pain, which today was focused more in the middle of my spine. I can't say that I felt a lot of improvement on the back pain during the visit. Finally it came to the point where the needles were used: one in my right elbow, one in my left forearm, one in my right ankle, one in the left side of my neck and a final one in my right ear. You could barely feel them. I'm fine with needles as long as I don't look at them. They stayed in about five minutes. The needles were removed and the magnets were taped over with a real band aid to keep them on. I have eight magnets taped to my hands at the moment, which I am to leave on until morning.

So what is this process all about? Well, my doc says it's about reprogramming my body's energy. The various areas have lost their natural programming throughout the course of time, especially given the surgeries, procedures, etc. It's not mean to cure anything. It's to realign the energetic properties in the body and hopefully get things working with me and not against me.

Do I believe in acupuncture? I'm not about to go out there telling anyone else to try it. It's been three hours since the appointment and the leg pain is back a little. However, it's still a lot better than it's been. The doc told me that I would still have bad days but they should be less frequent. I'm going back in a month, at which time the doc will see how my body has responded to this reprogramming. Adjustments will need to be made, but the goal is to bring me closer to a point where I have pain that's manageable and not unbearable or driving me out of my mind.

I'm not sure if this is the long term solution I've been praying for, but I'll take it. It's certainly better than the few remaining options I have left out there. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

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