Dear London June,
Today, I went in for my second acupuncture appointment to hopefully induce labor! Again, I had a great experience. Since leaving, my lower abdomen has felt quite crampy and you seem to be a little lower again. This time, I brought my headphones so I could use my Hypnobirthing tracks and this made my experience even better! I have an appointment tomorrow but we shall see if I will make it- perhaps you will decide to arrive on your due date!
So, what is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest ways of healing and originates from China, where it remains common practice. Acupuncture is used to heal an array of medical issues ranging from migraines to treating infertility by inserting very thin steel needles to certain points on the patient’s body. This is believed to help realign the body by stimulating nerves, muscles and connective tissues. So depending on what your are being treated for, the acupuncturist will place the needles in the places you specifically need them for healing. For us Westerners, it all sounds a bit hokey pokey but it is proving to be a more common practice because so many are experiencing spectacular benefits.
So, why did I choose Acupuncture?
After reading a post from a lady who was 41+ weeks and seeking suggestions for natural inducing techniques on the Vanderbilt Midwives Facebook page several mamas suggested acupuncture. I was surprised how many people suggested it so I decided to be nosy and investigate. A lot of these moms testified that they went into labor 24-48 hours after their last treatment. I was intrigued and read up about it and made sure it was 100% safe. I started looking online for clinics and found that it was quite pricey for just one visit, let alone a series of visits. Thankfully, a mom on the page suggested East Nashville Community Acupuncture. This clinic treats in a “group setting” instead of private rooms. At first, I was a bit skeptical by this but kept reading and found that this is how most acupuncture is done in China- it is more of a community healing process. I’m sure this is how they can treat far more people and keep their costs and prices so affordable. They use a sliding pay scale so the customer pays what they can afford. You choose whether you want to pay $15- $35 for each treatment. Because acupuncture is most effective if practiced regularly the average person simply could not afford a $65 private session on a regular basis. Their mission is to provide this healing service to as many as possible and I think it is pretty amazing that a local business is offering such a wonderful gift to their community. The other amazing benefit of going to their practice is that you get to stay as long as you like. Your session is not timed but if you need to be somewhere you can simply tell them to let you know when you would like to be reminded to head out. I love that they allow you to rest and soak up the treatment as long as you need to. I ended up taking a 2 hour nap my first visit and a hour nap my second! It’s the best rest I have ever had too.
So, what was my experience like?
(Yes, that’s me! I snapped a picture quickly and I promise it didn’t hurt at all- if you look the actual needle is much thinner than the top part of the needle- they are flexible and sorta springy if you accidentally brush them)
Heavenly. By the moment I walked in the door, I was greeted with sincere kindness. On my first appointment, I was asked to arrive 10 minutes early so that I could fill in the paperwork. It was much like the paperwork you would fill out at a doctor’s visit. They wanted to know all about my existing conditions and medical history which made me feel good that they were being thorough. I listed what I wanted to be treated for (Inducement of Labor and Sciatic Nerve Pain) and then met with the acupuncturist. He went through my history and talked with me about how the treatment would go. He was very friendly and answered all my questions and made sure I was comfortable. I was never blind sided or nervous about anything. I walked into the room and it was dreamy. It was cool, dim with relaxing lighting and soft music. You choose your recliner which has a fresh blanket and rice bean bag on the seat. You then remove your shoes and place them along with your belongings in a basket provided next to your seat. The acupuncturist comes over almost immediately and talks to you for a bit, helps you recline and makes you comfortable. He or she asks if you are ready and then they start placing the needles. I was surprised that I didn’t feel them go in at all; only in two places did it slightly pinch for just a second. The placing of the needles only takes less than a minute and then they leave you and you will indeed fall asleep. I caught myself snoring a few times and was a bit embarrassed but no one seemed to notice. When you are ready to leave you let your chair sit upright and the acupuncturist comes back to dispose your needles. (They are disposable and never used again.) You gather your things and leave feeling like a new person!
If the acupuncture doesn’t induce my labor I feel satisfied with just being able to escape and relax for a hour or 2 each day and getting the best rest I have gotten in a very long time. It is also said that those who practice acupuncture during pregnancy have a very reduced chance of having a c-serean. If anything, it has helped my mind relax and given me the rest and energy I need in my 40th week of pregnancy!
So, I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone especially my local friends and loved ones that are struggling with medical issues but want an affordable option. For $15 bucks it is totally worth it!