The first few months of 2018 I was experiencing a lot of flare ups and sleepless nights due to chronic pain. By June I had watched the entire collection of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. I spent most days on the couch catching up on sleep. The nights would involve crying in pain and searching for anything that could relieve it. I was slipping quickly into a state of depressive behaviour. I’d given up on eating healthy, feeling like all my efforts were worth nothing if I was still in that much pain. I was almost housebound in fear of not being able to go outside without being consumed by exhaustion. The thought of walking ten minutes up the road to meet a friend for coffee was out of the question. I’d become desperate for a solution.
I had read some posts and articles about the benefits of acupuncture. After consulting my GP, she agreed that it would be beneficial for my pain. A few weeks of indecisiveness passed before I booked my first appointment. Working part time meant that I had to plan ahead and make sure I could afford the ongoing appointments. It is best to ensure you are able to commit to going on a regular basis. Like most treatment programs, if you don't go for a while, you won't continue to progress.
I found a clinic recommended to me and finally went along to my first appointment. This was how I met my acupuncturist, Kirsten. She began with a thorough consultation, asking questions about my health and lifestyle. I was completely shocked that she was very aware of endometriosis and its effects on the body. My first treatment was quite an emotional experience. She placed the needles and left the room to allow me to relax, within moments I was almost completely pain free. I was in disbelief that these tiny needles could reduce my pain that much. After the initial treatment my pain was significantly reduced for several days. I was able to leave the house with less fear of flare ups and felt more confident during long days at work.
Kirsten gave me a treatment plan with information to read. This included the chinese medicine perspective which I found very interesting. The menstrual cycle depends on Qi (energy) and blood to be balanced. If there is an imbalance or disruption, the system will not function well, causing pain and irregularity. Endometriosis is classified as blood being stuck in the uterus. The accumulation will cause systemic effects. Low energy, brain fog, cold extremities, digestive problems, urinary issues, to name a few. This type of medicine focuses on treating the root of the condition opposed to the symptoms.
I went every week for eight weeks and since then have gone every two to four weeks depending on my schedule. I often wonder what 2018 would have looked like for me if I hadn’t started acupuncture. I went from not being able to work and feeling scared to leave my house for long periods. To now being able to manage my pain better, which allows me to work part time and get out of the house more often. The past few months I struggled getting to appointments. I was either unwell or couldn't get there after work. I noticed my health declining and my body was becoming more inflamed. Within a few weeks I was in constant flare ups, excruciating pain, had irregular cycles, and had become fatigued. After I returned, I noticed the relief immediately. It made me realise how much my body was responding to the therapy and how far I had come from early 2018.
One of the biggest reasons people don’t go to an acupuncturist is because of a fear of needles. Acupuncture needles are much smaller than the ones you would see in a blood test or immunisation. The needles are super fine and yes they do prick a little on insertion. When I’m in a flare up or about to get my period, it is more sensitive than other times. The pain is gone in a few seconds though and you utilise the rest of the time to relax and unwind, allowing the needles to work their magic. The health benefits from acupuncture are endless. My main reason for going is pain management. Kirsten ensures to treat contributing factors and find homeostasis in the body. In my case, my digestive and sinus health were very poor and have improved over my course of treatment.
Kirsten assesses my eating habits, stress levels, and well-being every time I see her. I always feel safe and trusting in her care. My pain is now more manageable and periods have become more regular. I have noticed a decrease in clots and heavy bleeding with my periods. More importantly, I have said this to her several times. I was beginning to lose the person I was, am, and wanted to be. Working with her has slowly given me parts of myself back, and provided me with the strength to work towards the person I want to be. I would highly recommend acupuncture for pain management, period problems, and general wellbeing. For those in Sydney who would like her details, please contact me via email or instagram.