I was searching Google for different treatment options to deal with mental illness, specifically anxiety and depression, and I came across acupuncture. I have thought about acupuncture before, but never truly considered it because first I thought it would be painful and second I didn't think it would be that helpful. I wish I had not waited so long because the experience is somehow very unique and it can treat a variety of different problems. 

Beginning of Treatment

I went to a licensed acupuncturist in my neighborhood. At first, I was quite nervous as I have never done anything like this because if you know me, then you know I am basically scared of everything on this planet. The woman was very nice and first had me fill out a lot of questions about what brought me into her office and what I was hoping to get out of the session. 

I told her I was trying acupuncture as a way to help with my anxiety, depression, insomnia, and knee pain. She then sat down with me and asked me about my routines, pain, etc. I was told that I had problems in my spleen and liver and the treatment she was going to give me would help to open them and clear it. It does sound a little bit weird because it is different from Western medicine, but I went in with an open mind. 

She explained to me how certain areas on the body relate to different organs and muscle groups and that the tension can be released with the needles being put in certain places.

The beginning of the session after the brief conversation we had consisted of me laying on my back on an extremely comfortable mattress. The only weird part about this was that you are basically completely undressed except for underwear. You are not exposed to your acupuncturist though as you are covered with a cloth over your chest. The first course of action she took was to feel around my body arms, legs, head, neck, shoulders, stomach and chest to see if there was any tension. Surprisingly, I had a lot more tension that I originally thought and she even pointed it out to me so I could be more aware of those sensations in my body. 

The Needles

After she pinpointed where the different points of tension were she began with the needles. I was a tad bit anxious as I am with everything, especially needles, but I was surprised about how much it did not hurt. Before she would insert each needle she would tell me to take a deep breath and when I exhaled she would place it into my skin and I could not feel a thing. The only one I felt was the one in the bottom of my foot, but even that one was nothing. I was surprised because I thought I would be slightly uncomfortable with needles all over my body, but as soon as she stuck the first three in my forehead I became instantly relaxed. 

Thinking back it was probably a mixture of the meditative music, essential oils, comfortable mattress, and needles, but whatever it was I liked it and I felt at ease. When she stuck the needles in the different areas of my skin, she would check to see if I had the same tension I had before and to my surprise, after a few minutes, the pain and tension I had was gone. I was surprised because as soon as she stuck a needle in my foot the pain in my stomach went away. I was blown away, but I mean I was hoping that would happen. 

Gua Sha

I didn't know what this was until she explained it to me, but Gua Sha is where your skin is scraped with a massage tool to improve circulation. At first, I was afraid of getting this done, but then she told me she wouldn't be scraping my back. She told me she uses a cap similar to a mason jar lid and I was fine with that. The Gua Sha she told me would help me to vent out the heat I have in my body because I am always hot and would help to improve my circulation. 

Surprisingly, it felt pretty good almost like a massage and did not really hurt. My back was left red for three days after the treatment, but during those days there was absolutely no pain. 

Final Thoughts

I certainly do not think I am cured of my anxiety and depression after one session, but I do feel an overall improvement in my mood after one day. I feel a lot less anxious and more tranquil than I would normally feel which is nice. The only downside to this treatment is that some practitioners do not accept insurance and appointments could range in cost from $100-200. 

If you are a college student like me and do not have money to spend, I would recommend finding practices in your area that accept your insurance because it will save you a lot of money. 

I think I will definitely be going back again because I enjoyed it and think it is a great place to have some self-care time.