For as long as I can remember I have had a severe pain in my left shoulder. Some days are worse than others. I am never able to sleep on that side which can be frustrating. I have tried massage therapy which can ease the pain for a brief time but it doesn’t last very long. MRIs to my spine and neck showed no issues. I even went thru Physical Therapy and still had no relief.
Last Spring I had an episode that was one of the scariest moments of my life. I didn’t know if I was having a heart attack or what. I completely lost control of my arms, my eyes and head. Thankfully my husband was by my side and immediately got me to the hospital. For several months after that I went thru an extreme amount of tests and was in and out of the doctor’s office on a weekly basis. The initial thought from my doctors was that I had Multiple Sclerosis. It explained a lot. I had many of the symptoms including that pesky shoulder that would flare up. After two months, I was cleared of MS so on to other tests-Lupus, Dysautonomia and even Cancer. I did test positive for a blood clotting disorder but due to the fact my doctor did not see a clot they did not prescribe medication. I was left with very little answers and no relief.
Fast Forward to last week. I had enough with the pain. It started to affect my daily life and I was feeling absolutely drained. Acupuncture had been recommended to me by several people so I thought ‘why not?” I’ll give anything a chance at this point. My dear friend Andi Perullo of My Beautiful Adventures happens to be a Chinese Medicine Doctor too. I told you in the past-this woman is unbelievably multi-talented. I am not afraid of needles so thankfully I had no worries about that.
Andi was very thorough explaining the process. What to expect and how it should feel. When Andi inserted the very thin needles-I didn’t have much pain within my feet, legs, neck and even head. However, when she reached that left shoulder I nearly jumped off the table. The tiniest prick sent a painful sensation thru my muscle. I have a high tolerance for pain however this was pretty intense. After a minute or two the pain subsided. Andi told me I had to lie there for 45 minutes. 45 minutes?!?!?!!? Without moving?! She told me that many people find it relaxing and fall asleep. I couldn’t believe it. You know me. I don’t sit still especially not for 45 minutes.
I made it thru the 45 minutes….barely. After she returned and removed the needles she insisted I take it very slow getting dressed. I could see why! The room was spinning after lying there for so long. I felt like I was in a different world. When I made it home my husband took one look at me and said “you look drunk”. I certainly didn’t feel drunk but I felt completely out of it, nauseated and very emotional. I assumed this meant my body was toxic! Andi explained that everyone responds differently and “The “healing crisis” occurs when the body releases stored up toxins and initiates structural changes at a faster rate than the body can normally handle. The more toxic, stressed, and physically imbalanced one’s body is, the more severe the healing crisis may be.”
According to the Mayo Clinic “Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.”
I was most certainly out of balance. The next day I felt ill in the am but by the afternoon I was feeling somewhat better. Because I apparently have a great deal of qi (energy flow) and blood stagnation to be moved we decided to go one step further with Chinese Medicine. That’s where Cupping Therapy comes in.
Google it. Sure…it may scare you but again….I was and am desperate and willing to try anything. Cupping is basically where suction is created using fire and it helps blood flow to promote healing. In my case, we needed to break up that old blood stagnation so I can start feeling normal in that shoulder and even gain some extra energy in the process.
So, this week I returned to Andi’s office for another Acupuncture session followed by cupping. This time I only had to lie still for 30 minutes for Acupuncture. But you won’t believe it. I had very little pain this time when the needles were inserted AND I drifted in and out of sleep while lying there. I never thought that would be possible. I was actually relaxed. I am positive I could have made it the 45 minutes this time-no problem.
Next up -Cupping. I had read it felt like a deep tissue massage which I have had a thousand times. It looks painful but I can assure you it’s not as bad as it looks. It’s really hard to describe. It’s a very deep pulling feeling of your skin. The only time it was really painful for me was then the cups were moved on my left shoulder-understandably- due to my issue it wasn’t meant to be fun! It’s meant to bring relief. No pain. No gain. Right?
See the marks on my back? This shows where stagnant blood/toxins were pulled to the surface. Considering that’s the bad side, I am not surprised at how red/purple/black it turned out. Let me make it clear. These are not bruises. They are not painful and go away within days from your treatment. My husband said it looked like I got stuck on the tennis court with an out of control tennis ball launcher. I agree!
After the treatment, once again I felt very ill and out of it. Yesterday I was in a lot of pain. Not from the spots on my back but deep within my muscles. Today is better. While I am not completely pain free I do feel a difference. A big difference. So, next week I return for another session and will keep going back for more hoping this corrects my problem. I certainly have faith.
It’s amazing to me that over the summer I tested positive for that blood clotting disorder. The doctor saw no immediate clot yet by looking at my back you can see I had a great deal of qi and blood stagnation. I firmly believe it’s all related. And while I was hesitant about Chinese Medicine to begin with it certainly is beginning to make sense.
Interested in Acupuncture or Cupping Therapy and near the Charlotte Area? I highly recommend Andi Perullo from Healing Hands Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic. I bet she can make a believer out of you too. Not only that, she can bring you to a more balanced state full of energy and life.