What IS Acupuncture, Anyway?

12.22.14

Health

Acupuncture… that holistic practice that involves needles and pain relief and some kind of voodoo-ish infrared lighting and pinpricks and resistance testing and, uh, like… that kind of stuff, right?

Welllll, kind of. Or at least that’s the common knowledge in our country about this amazing ancient Chinese practice. But I’m about to hit you with some behind the scenes acupuncture details that will blow your mind. And I’m going to tell you all about my experience because it blew me away & I can’t wait to go back for more (and more and more and more!).

I know people have a LOT of questions about acupuncture and the benefits it can or cannot have, so I’m going to start with the Five W’s & a little Q&A. Ready? Let’s go.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture… 

WHAT is it?

Acupuncture is a system of complementary medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles (no, it doesn’t hurt!), used to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental and emotional conditions. According to traditional Chinese medical theory (where acupuncture originated), acupuncture points are located on meridians throughout our body where vital energy runs.

To treat my food allergies/sensitivities (read the “WHY” for more deets on those), the acupuncturist I went to had me do a food allergy test through a type of resistance therapy. For instance, she gave me viles of liquid containing different types of food (sugar, protein, calcium, wheat, etc.) to hold in one palm while pushing down on my other arm to test my resistance. If I could resist, I was not sensitive to it. If I couldn’t, then I was.

I found that I was extremely sensitive to sugar and wheat, and was moderately sensitive to dairy and other forms of calcium. To treat these sensitivities? Acupuncture… and blood type diet!

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WHY did you go (and why should we try it?)

If you have severe pain anywhere in your body, severe emotional pain or trauma, or mental ailments that you’ve struggled with, then acupuncture is a great practice to turn to. It doesn’t take the place of your doctor’s treatments, but if you have tried and failed with Western medicine again and again, then it is a fabulous alternate route to take.

I have struggled with extreme stomach problems my whole life (as you all know), including but not limited to: food allergies/intolerances, pain and bloating after eating, stomach ulcers, overly acidic stomach, nausea, and more that has lead to and created a debilitating relationship between myself and food. I also have back problems (hence my yoga addiction!), so I went to acupuncture to try to solve both of those issues in a holistic way.

WHO did you go to?

I went to an INCREDIBLE acupuncturist that I highly recommend to anyone in the LA area. Her name is Forooz Ardalan (PhD, LAc). She was extremely knowledgeable and helpful and right away I was confident I was in good hands. She guessed my blood type correctly just from my symptoms, and then we tested for my blood type and it turns out she was correct. I am Type O positive (just like her!), and she gave me some dietary guidelines to follow that should help with my tummy probs and ulcer recovery from here on out.

WHEN did you go (and how often should we go)?

I went for the first time last week, and will continue going back every week or two weeks until my symptoms start to relieve themselves. It was unbelievable that after my first session I already felt so much relief (even if it was partially mental because of the blood type diet and the guidelines to follow) and reassurance about what I should and should not be eating and the power of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

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WHERE did you try it?

Atlas Healthcare Center in Los Angeles. I realize a lot of you are not So Cal local, so you’ll have to find other great places in your areas if you want to try it, but I highly recommend this place to my So Cal peeps. I also highly recommend trying out acupuncture and any form of Chinese medicine to help alleviate and deal with stomach, emotional and mental issues. It’s really miraculous how much some internal work can help cure what we are suffering with.

How does blood type factor in?

Since all of our blood types & bodies are very different, we all have different dietary guidelines we should follow to feel our best and metabolize and digest our food properly. I am Type O, like many of my fellow intensely sensitive stomach (and acidic!) warriors, and I found out that I should be avoiding sugar (even natural sugars), wheat and dairy, while I should really be upping my intake of protein (especially red meat), oils and nuts. I should avoid cruciferous veggies but up my intake of Vitamin K veggies like kale, collard, romaine, and broccoli (thank god!) and also avoid certain types of fish etc. while increasing my intake of others.

Hearing this info after years of being vegan and even more years of being vegetarian was quite shocking. My acupuncturist believes that my avoidance of red meat and my extra high intake of fruit made my genetically predisposed tummy problems even worse… but that doesn’t mean I can’t remedy them now. With lots of veggies & meat… like the yummy veggie juices below.

TheSprings6If you know your blood type, check out what you should and should not be eating online. For my fellow Type O’s… this list is helpful on a life changing level!

Is acupuncture / eating for your blood type REALLY going to make a huge difference? 

It’s too early in the process for me to fully say. I have tried and failed with many, many, MANY different dietary plans in my life when it comes to trying to cure and deal with my stomach problems. I don’t necessarily believe that anything is a cure-all, especially because all bodies are so different, but I am excited about this and eager to give it a real try. I will NOT be militant about the “dietary” portion (it’s guidelines, not rules!) for the sake of my mental health, but so far avoiding the foods I am supposed to be avoiding due to my blood type has been helpful and I have been feeling a bit of relief.

Does acupuncture hurt?

No!!! I couldn’t even tell that the pins were going into my body. Little baby pricks. Even if you’re afraid of needles you will totally be fine.

And remember…

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Life is about moderation, yes?!? And feeling GOOD. So why not do something for ourselves that feels really amazing?

Try acupuncture. It rocks.

Has anyone else tried acupuncture? Thoughts? Thoughts on blood type diets? Would love to hear everyone’s opinions!