Thursday, 12 June 2014

Day 130, Hocus-Pocus-And-Everything-Acupuncture

Endo 365

Okay, so if you have read a blog of mine previously (bless you) then you may be aware that I am a closet hippie and am up for giving anything a go and generally keep my mind as open as my gob.

So of course, Alice has taken a little tip down the route of acupuncture.

Or as my very dyslexic grandma calls is (I love you, you gorgeous little shrivy): ’Ackie-Punchie’

As you man know, I have been doing it now for three months but only wanted to write a blog after the dust had settled and I felt I could reflect more objectively. 

I have read numerous times over the past five years about acupuncture being brilliant for endo, and for some reason never took it up. I think there is an element of variables: when you are pursuing different medical routes you try and stick to one new thing to work out whether it makes a difference. So perhaps I didn’t want to mix voodoo and menopause- who knows.

All  I know is that two months after my ‘metamorphosis’  surgery I was getting in increasing daily pain and we all started panicking. A friend of mine was just about to start Ackieeeeee-Punchieee so not one to miss out; I decided to give it a go.

I am very lucky as one of my jobs is for a Marketing Consultancy Firm and one of our clients is a brilliant natural health care centre. So I popped down for my initial consultation (£75 Yikes!) which was two hours long talking about everything from car crashes at 3, to endo, to my bowel movements and ‘emotional wellbeing’. And yes I did cry, okay? She is just so lovely and understanding I wanted to call her aunty, climb into her oversized jumper and hug her. But I didn’t, in fear she wouldn’t see me again.

She rightly was very straight with me from the offset; because of the prolonged intense pain my body has been under, the initial course of acupuncture would have to be fairly intensive and then we could ease off until hopefully I will only need to come home from uni once a month for a lil top up. I was told there was no point pursuing it unless we were going to do it properly; they no more undersubscribe than oversubscribe.  We agreed to me going three half-hours a week for three months (with massive discounts) and then reducing it from that. However for some reason my body responded very swiftly and I only ever had it twice a week and that soon reduced to thrice fortnightly.

It is an interesting experience… I never research things like this before trying it so I have no subconscious preconceptions. However just from general discourse I had imagined that I would be lying on my front with a thousand pins dotted all over my back and in pain, coming out of the session looking like a colander.  
However, this could not be further from the truth.

They are just little hair sized pins that are so tiny they do not draw blood or leave a mark, you cannot I can only feel them go in on areas where there isn’t much fat like my feet and they are left in until you feel something. It is different for everyone, but for me… Its like a pull towards the pin and then a slight (nice) electric shock. I sound crazy I know but I am still in amazement with this. Here is a proper explanation from the British Acupuncture Council:

“In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body's homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress.
There is preliminary evidence to support acupuncture as an effective treatment for endometriosis, with one small sham controlled trial (Wayne 2008) and a few comparative studies against Western medication (Yan 2008, Xia 2006, Sun 2006), though further research is needed to confirm this.
It has been shown that acupuncture treatment may specifically be of benefit in people with endometriosis by: providing pain relief - by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord. It reduces inflammation - by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors Kavoussi , and regulates levels of prostaglandins.”

I read that Western technology is beginning to catch up with ackieee-punchie and they have given MRI scans to people receiving it, where they can see different areas of the brain reacting to the treatment.

 It is still hard to explain why it is so darn good for chronic pain conditions and raising your immune system, however having now tried it for three months, I can honestly say it is working. And I do not care whether it is a helping-yourself-placebo, because I am far less tired for doing it and I do not wake up in pain every day any more.

The down sides are that it is expensive. If you go to a practitioner, they generally will come to some payment deal with you because if they really are invested in helping people, they will want to meet you on a middle ground.  

However, acupuncture is now available one the NHS- arm yourself with education about acupuncture, empower yourself and take your GP. They may not be game, but do not take no for an answer- you are (I do not use this word often) entitled for an acupuncture referral if you suffer from chronic pain and endo.  Keep going back until they agree. There is something terribly un-British about making a nusence of yourself, but if it betters you in the long run- who cares? To wake up not in pain, indeed Chris” I'd run round Skipton market naked, smeared in plum jam, wearing nothing but a knitted tea cosy on me head and singing "Jerusalem".

Or if you do have privet health care or what not and would like to go independently then research places local to do, there is ever more choice so ensure you pick the right one. Ring up and ask for some information and make an informed decision before choosing which is the right place for you.  

And I really must stress, that this is not for everyone. Unfortunately this did not work for a very good friend of mine. But she is still glad she tried it because we have to give ourselves the best chance and exhaust every option. 

If you have any stories, or would like any more advice, please feel free to contact me:

All my love,
Enjoy this weather if you can my little minx’s


P.s I really would like to say a huge thank you to my mother for supporting me through this both financially and giving me the little push of confidence to try it. Thank you for being so inspirationally proactive and supportive; allowing and encouraging me to give everything a go. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad it's working for you. I really, really want to try it. Just so bloody scared of needles! Need to get a grip really - I have blood taken often enough!!

    How often are you having it now? Still three times a fortnight?