I was at my doctor’s office a few weeks ago since I had to reschedule all of my medical appointments before my insurance coverage was no longer active. When I was checking in, I noticed a counter display that said October 24 was National Acupuncture Day. There was a stack of brochures with cards for a free session of acupuncture. I decided to sign up. It was free, after all, and I can use all the Qi (prounounced chee) centering I can get right now. I returned a week later for the treatment. After filling out several sheets of paperwork, which I would have preferred to receive in advance so that I could fill them out at home in a less sweaty environment, I was brought into a room with a table in it, just like the kind they have in a massage room. The acupuncturist began by getting my full medical history, and she said she’d seen 2 other patients who were trying acupuncture to treat their hyperhidrosis! I was surprised at this, but also glad that I wasn’t the first person to complain of excessive sweating.
By the time I got up on the table, I was fairly well acclimated to the temperature of the room. We were actually in the coolest room of the office, and I could feel the air coming out of the vent above my head. I was fully clothed with the exception of removing my socks, shoes, and the cardigan I was wearing over a tank top. She had me lay on my stomach first. My palms and feet were sweating a bit since I didn’t know what to expect. She began by sweeping my hair off of my neck and inserting several needles into the base of my skull and into my shoulders. The needles didn’t hurt. I could feel a slight pinch upon insertion, but it was so quick that I found it completely bearable. She also put some on the backs of my wrists, my lower back, and right above my heels. I really wanted to look at all of them, but because I was laying face down I didn’t want to move around too much. She left the room for a few minutes and then came back to check the placement of each needle and push them in a bit farther. She left again for about 20 minutes to allow the acupuncture to work on its own.
Initially, I felt the slight pinching sensation I mentioned after each needle was placed, but then it morphed into a tingling sensation which then opened up a heat source that then flowed into energy. I could actually feel the energy spreading out and moving through my body as it connected to all of the other energy points that had been tapped. It wasn’t a hot heat, if that makes sense. It was more of a warming sensation, like when the sun moves and you can feel it on one side of your body when you’re driving in a car. The astounding thing about all this was that after probably 7 or 8 minutes, I wasn’t sweating anymore! The acupuncturist actually had to place a heat lamp over my feet to keep them warm. I don’t know about you, but when my hands and feet sweat they are either wet and cold or wet and hot. There is never just a neutral wet. I think the combination of being in the coolest treatment room, being able to feel the ventilation through the vent above me, and the actual treatment itself was enough to allow my body to just be. I was shocked that I was able to voluntarily ask for the heat lamp to be used. I hate heat. But today, I was experiencing what it was like to be “normal” and basking in the glory of it all.
After 20 minutes of the needles on my back side, she removed them and had me flip over onto my back. She placed needles in the tops of my feet and in between my toes, halfway up the insides of my calves, on my arms and hands and in between my fingers, 2 in my right ear, and then a few in my scalp. The needles she inserted into my scalp did hurt a bit initially since the skin is much thinner, but it wasn’t anything that made me want to yell at her. Once she left the room, I did open my eyes and lift my head up to see just what kind of crazy stuff I had chosen to put myself through. It was pretty interesting to see all these floppy needles wiggling back and forth in my body. I am typically a horrible patient when it comes to any type of medical procedure being done to my own body, but I was able to look at all the needles and not feel like passing out. Before she removed the needles, she used some kind of vibrating device on my right ear to further stimulate their effects.
For the rest of the day post-acupuncture, I felt pretty good. I noticed it even more so that night after it had been a few hours since the treatment. I felt kind of floaty, like you do right before you fall asleep. The acupuncturist said it would take a few treatments spaced about a week apart to determine whether it was working for me. I do want to go back. I just need to look into my new insurance coverage to see if it’s something they might cover as a referral from my primary care physician (PCP). I encourage you to try acupuncture. I can’t say it’s a definite cure for hyperhidrosis, but I do feel there was an overall benefit for me personally. Take yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you can experience things in the wellness arena that everyone else gets to do. Make your hyperhidrosis known to the practitioner and then try to stop worrying about it so that you can focus on the present moment to get the maximum benefit. Just because you sweat does not mean you are unworthy of receiving treatment or pampering. You are not disgusting or embarrassing. You are unique and can display with poise and grace your hyperhidrosis that is under-recognized and under-treated.
(Thanks to Points Acupuncture for the image.)
Copyright © 2011 My Life as a Puddle