Today I visited Health Points Community Acupuncture in the West End of Brisbane. It was a very positive experience. Below I talk in detail about my experience + also share some opinions and view points on practitioners and longterm clients.
When I arrived in Brisbane I was feeling pretty unhealthy because I had just spend the last 2 weeks eating high energy junk food – eating out of cafes and wherever I could find mega carbs for my (1000 km Sydney to Brisbane cycle). After a week in the hostel I landed a share house and started eating healthy again, running and cycle in the evenings. Once I had found a job in (Brisbane’s newest and most exciting steak restaurant) I decided to join the gym and got a pretty good springtime deal with Fitness First where I could use any of their gyms throughout Brisbane. They have steam rooms, saunas and swimming pools which is the clincher for me.
After just over a month of hitting the gym, stretching and generally better living, I was still experiencing stiffness and tightness in the deep tissue muscles in the central small of my back (which has been a familiar theme throughout many different phases of my life). Last year I fell off my bike when I was drunk and injured the L3 / L4 vertebrae area of my back and I find that they are still sore to the touch to this day.
Today (after cancelling twice previously) I finally attended the group acupuncture clinic on Boundary Street, West End (near where i live). The idea behind this is that they have a large open plan clinic room where they have patients being seen in a rolling roster capacity, entering and leaving every hour and half hour intervals.
After filling in the relevant health waivers and cancellation obligators, I was taken to the main room and shown to a large comfy seat on the window side of the clinic. This was a large reclining leather sofa chair and the therapist helped me recline it all the way back until I was comfy.
I was a little reserved about the treatment at first and this was not because it was in an open setting. I feel very comfortable around other people and enjoy group yoga / mindfulness meditation / hypno sessions in the very same capacity.
This is where money takes abhorrent form..
The issue I have is the same issue I have with any monthly contractual payment obligations. The need for money subverts the intent and reasons behind providing that service.
I have personally spent the last few years of my life ridding myself of any monthly direct debit payments. I have no monthly payments in the UK (except a mortgage which is paid for by a rental agreement) and in Australia I only have my monthly rent and gym membership, neither of which are contracted and I can walk away whenever I please.
When It comes to services rendered I have to question the intent behind the practitioner as sometimes I feel that the lines are blurred between providing ongoing help and healing to the point of full-rehabilitation or the longterm longevity of monetary gain by keeping a client paying for a service long after the original benefits and merits of the service have been realised.
After working many different web and SEO positions for big business I am fully aware of the business benefits of locking clients in with yearly contracts, most businesses expect this type of shit within the corporate world, but when it comes to individual needs – the relationship becomes very different as it is on a personal level and paid for with personal finances involving complexities such as friendships and community cohesion. There needs to be present a certain level of trust and respect that is not tainted by the want for a higher longterm ledger.
This is one of the reasons I feel that chiropractors have such a bad reputation, because they provide a subjective pseudo-scientific service that relies on pageantry and magicianship but then (sometimes quite aggressively) pursue a client for a longterm treatment plan or retainer package, up-selling longterm discounts and other alluring benefits that people are afraid they cannot say no to. Very much a similar scenario with charity fundraisers on commission schemes.
Anyway Back to the evaluation of my Acupuncture experience today.
The practitioner was very polite and kind and asked about my problems, for which I gave detailed information about where exactly I was feeling the pain and when and how I had alleviated back pain in the past with traditional Chinese acupuncture and cupping techniques.
She started by putting small needles in meridian points in the side of my hands and then near my thumbs. As she did this a reaction shot up my nervous system all the way to my feet on both sides causing me to flinch, which she commented as ‘being positive’ because she said they were trying to draw out the issues through my feet. After this she added several needles to the side of my feet and my lower legs. I could really feel some of them hitting my nerve pathways and it was both a pleasure-some and painful feeling.
After this she placed two needles centrally on my head – one at the third eye and one at my crown chakra. She also placed one in each ear. She spoke softly asking me if I was comfortable and told me should would leave me for an hour.
I was breathing gently and really started to feel relaxed. I felt a nice warm glow all over me like being mildly stoned. At first I could feel energy in my feet and sensations flowing and pulsing in my feet. At around 25 minutes in I started to feel even more relaxed and started getting weird pressure sensations in my left eye. After about 5 minutes of pressure sensations I started getting sensations across both eyes, the third eye area and my ears.
As the sensations in my face and ears started to balance out, I started seeing intense visuals (with my eyes closed) in freeform kaleidoscope patterns for which I had never experienced before previously.
I am no stranger to visual hallucinations and have had my far share of positive trips in this area and can often evoke such things from hypnosis and meditation, but the colours and shapes which I experienced today (spherical and waveform-esque) I had never enjoyed previously.
This was a very intense experience and I went with it for around 20 minutes. At one stage another patient started snoring quite loudly and instead of becoming irritated by this it became a tree creaking in the wind and I managed to completely stop this interference from ruining my experience.
As the visuals went on, I started exploring thoughts and found that the shapes were starting to take on forms that were akin to the thoughts I was thinking about. I decided to tell myself to let all things go, be mindful in the present moment and let all thoughts go without reacting to them. It was here that I experienced a profound calmness. My body was totally calm and I could feel subtle sensations of energy traversing different courses through my body and this lasted and then slowly died down for around another 25 minutes. At the end of my experience two ladies seated on my left started chatting about houses quite loudly, but I was also able to block this out by pretending that they were rustling bullrushes in a scene from Alice in Wonderland.
At what seemed to be just over an hour, the clinician came back and took the needles out of me and told me to take my time and be careful getting up.
Rousing from this experience was interesting and I did feel drained of energy, like my energy had been diverted to the healing process and it took me while to gather my things and put my shoes on.
The lady kindly led me back downstairs where they told me that they would like to see me twice a week to help really get in there and fix my back..
As I do often in this instance, I told them that I would call them back – because I did not have my shifts for the following week,. I then thanked them for there help and went on my way.
The next hour I spent walking very slowly with a new found appreciation for everything around me. I was glowing like I had just had a major meditation session and all my senses felt heightened to the glare of the sun, the breeze, the warmth of the sun and sounds and people I walked past. Even the vibrations of traffic seemed more connected to me.
I would say this state of feeling lasted for around 45 minutes after the session and now 2 hours later I still feel great yet with a diminished strength.
the entire experience had a profoundly positive effect on my body and my mind. I feel light and replenished, like I have cleared some energy or something from my head and third eye area.
Before I attended this session I had just scoffed a large coffee and vegan banana cake – so next time I shall experiment with this on a morning empty stomach with no caffeine.
Although I rejected their professional recommendation of attending twice weekly, I shall certainly be coming back (once every 2 weeks) as the experience was fantastic for $45. The next sessions should be between $15 and $35 dollars and last between 30 – 45 minutes depending. Ill pop in and cut a deal next time I want to attend.
To conclude whether or not this had any benefits specifically for my back, I shall wait a few days then attend the gym and do some back stuff to see how it feels, but at this moment I can safely say that my whole body feels light, airy, floaty and peaceful – including my back.
As usual, acupuncture has left me feeling amazing.
Ironically the shop closed down about 2 weeks later.