Insane, or just desperate? Sometimes I have to ask myself this question when it comes to the things I’ve tried in an attempt to achieve a drier life. Remember my Botox adventure? Looking back on that experience today, I’m convinced I must have been out of my body doing something else in order to have endured it. I was needled today at acupuncture, and I’ve been doing that for the past 2 months or so (see my posts My First Acupuncture Treatment and Hyperhidrosis and Acupuncture for more information). It has been a great experience thus far, but today’s appointment was different. I had a complete physical, mental, and emotional breakdown.
Each time I go in, my acupuncturist asks me how I’ve been feeling and if I’ve noticed any change in my sweating. I feel like it’s getting worse, especially in my feet. I don’t know if this has anything to do with getting acupuncture or not. It’s typical to have your body respond to treatment, either with a reduction in whatever symptoms you’re having or with the movement of energy created by the placement of the needles. After I told her it was worse, she said she’d been doing some additional research on hyperhidrosis and had a new treatment idea, which we tried today.
Now, I’m game for anything and am willing to test my tolerance level when it comes to having an excessive sweating problem. I can, and will continue, to go outside of my comfort zone. That’s where life begins. In today’s acupuncture session, she placed 3 needles on both of my hands, in the tips of my fingers just past the nail line and on top of my fingers next to where my cuticles are. I’ve had needles there before and have been able to deal with them. When she inserted the one in my middle finger, it stung. One of the goals with needle placement is to push yourself as far as you can go without it being uncomfortable. The deeper the needle goes under the professional guidance of a licensed acupuncturist, the better.
After she placed the needles in my hands and I could breathe again, she inserted 2 in my forehead between my eyes and 3 or 4 in my right ear. I think the ones between my eyes were for stress reduction, because right after she inserted the ones in my hands, I gasped and told her it just made my sweating worse. (I’m always sweaty when I first get there but have always adapted to the room after about 15 minutes after she’s done touching me.) My fight or flight response kicked in when my hands were stimulated in such a drastic way, and she said that was okay that they did that. This new treatment was an intense treatment that she wanted to try, so it made sense that my body was responding in such a way.
I was able to keep the needle in my middle finger in just fine. It was the one in my thumb just to the right of my cuticle that started to throb and get a bit too tingly for my liking. It’s normal to experience some tingling and pulsating of energy moving through the points targeted by the needles. But this throbbing made me uncomfortable and gave me flashbacks of what happened a week after my Botox treatment. After my Botox, I experienced numbness and tingling in my fingers, especially in my pinky and middle fingers. Now, that is some freaky stuff! I remember sitting in my friend Kelby’s car on the way to Chick-fil-A one day and literally shaking out my fingers in a panic because I couldn’t feel them.
I lifted my hand up so that I could pull out the needle, and then it really hit me. OMG. I’m looking at my hand with needles in it! Bleck. I’ve looked at my body fully needled before to test my bravery and been fine. This time, it was not fine. I pulled the needle out and then laid myself back down. So then my thumb started bleeding, so I had to lift my hand up again. It was impossible for me to relax after this, so my inner monologue began to start about my stupid body and my stupid hyperhidrosis and nothing is ever going to work, and now I’m laying here completely out of my relaxation zone, etc. So then I took out the middle finger needle.
By this time, I was so frustrated that I couldn’t keep the first needle in and just work through it that I spontaneously combusted. The tears sprang forth. Like I need more water, right? They dripped down the sides of my eyes and trailed into my ear canals since I was laying on a massage table. So then I got hot. Want a surefire way to induce heat in someone with hyperhidrosis? Just get them to cry. I’m laying there mentally ragged, wet in my ears, hot all over, and then I notice that my feet have not stopped sweating like they normally do after 15 minutes into treatment. No, they are sweating overtime to a soundtrack by Tina Turner.
Just then, my acupuncturist came in and she saw that my eyes were open. I looked over at her through my blurred vision and told her I had to take some of the needles out myself. She said no worries and asked why and was I okay, and then I just cried harder. Well, as hard as I could in the community style setting. I didn’t want to alter the healing energy in the room for everyone else who was there. She said it was okay and then explained about the intensity of the treatment and that I was not the first person to cry in acupuncture either because of the treatment or because of whatever else in life might be going on that day. Women who are premenstrual are more sensitive to needle pain, as are people who are fighting off colds or the flu. Sometimes the planets just aren’t in alignment for an acupuncture treatment. Life tends to get in the way of healing, doesn’t it? Well, I’m tired of my hyperhidrosis getting in the way.
I told her I was frustrated that nothing I’ve tried for my hyperhidrosis has worked, and that sometimes it’s just so hard to live in this world, a world that is dry and where I’m busy trying to maintain balance in my sweaty shoes. She said she can’t even imagine what it’s like to live with hyperhidrosis, but that she will do everything she can to help me. I completely believe in acupuncture treatment, even if it doesn’t cure my hyperhidrosis. I have experienced other health benefits from it already. They say that for every year you’ve had a condition, you’ll need one month of treatment – basically forever for me. It also takes longer depending on the depth of the needles and how far you can push yourself, too. This is all okay. I control my treatment and she will never push me if it’s too uncomfortable for my body.
She then told me to take my time getting up and not to worry about having to cut today’s treatment short. My acupuncturist is extremely understanding and sensitive to the needs of her patients. Not once do I feel like she’s grossed out when she touches my dripping hands and feet to place the needles. I never have to apologize to her, although that’s my standard preemptive response when it comes to acknowledging my sweat with others who might have to interact with me via touch.
Now comes the part where I wanted to die.
I took a few deep breaths and then sat up to get off the table. I forgot to mention that when you enter the acupuncture room, you grab a pillowcase from the shelf to use underneath your head. Well, I now grab two and use the other one under my feet so I don’t get the sheet all sweaty. I have stopped bringing my trusty desk fan with me as a test to see whether I needed it as a security blanket and because the area I always go to doesn’t have a nearby electrical outlet. So far, it’s worked. As I turned to pick up the pillowcases, it’s blatantly obvious how badly I’ve dripped. I managed to soak through the pillowcase. Not only that, I’ve soaked through the sheet so that it’s now sticking to the massage table. I’ve also left sweat marks on the sheet where my knees were resting on a foam roll. Awesome. But why stop there? As soon as I started walking out, I noticed that the entire back of my skirt was wet. Thank God it was a patterned skirt so you couldn’t even tell had you looked. I have never sweat this badly before in my entire life!
I went to the lobby and paid, and told the receptionist she’d need to change the sheet on that table. Had I had my phone with me, I would’ve taken a picture of the pillowcase and sheet so you could admire my uncanny ability to soak something. Maybe next time. Next week the acupuncture clinic is closed on the day I usually go, which is fine. I need a break anyway to recuperate from this ghastly episode called my real life.
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