Last night after work, I went for a massage. My therapist felt how stiff my hips and glutes were and persuaded me to allow her to release the stiffness with needles. I am terrified of needles, but I had previously let her put some needles into my back in order to reduce tension. I was afraid of having needles stuck into (not up) my behind, but I agreed. It wasn’t painful and the effects were immediate. She pulled the needles out and I could feel that my hips and glutes were less stiff and much more relaxed. I said to her, ‘I feel like I just melted.’ She told me that many people feel stiffer right after the treatment but feel more relaxed later on or the next day, but that I had felt the benefits – and got the desired effect – right away.
Dry needling is different than acupuncture. I had one acupuncture session two summers ago when I slept on my neck in a strange way and woke up with excruciating pain; I booked an appointment with my Chinese herbalist, who also does massage and acupuncture. I was surprised when, instead of putting needles directly into my neck, he put needles in my cheeks, hands, and legs. It helped alleviate the pain – and he recommended I have regular acupuncture to manage stress – but I did not go for more acupuncture treatments because of my fear of needles. Dry needling is different in that the therapist puts the needle directly into the sore or affected area. When I’d previously had needles in my back, I did not feel an immediate – or even noticeably different – release or effect on my stiffness and tension. This time, I felt the difference right away. It was strange, though, to sit and chat with my therapist about boy problems while we waited on some needles that she’d stuck in my hips and arse. Afterward, when I felt the difference in my body, I realized the extent of my previous stiffness. I still felt the effects of the treatment when I woke up this morning still feeling well. It was amazing to wake up pain free. It’s a luxury I have rarely experienced in the last four and a half years.
I think I will have my therapists include dry needling in my treatments from now on, and also book acupuncture with them. I was resistant to the treatment because of the possibility of pain, but I’ve found that this treatment does not hurt as I thought it would and it has lasting effects. I was a premature baby and still have scars from all the needles I took when I was unwell and needed constant care; someone once told me that, when we experience repeated pain for long enough, we disassociate from it. We move away from it because we don’t want to feel it anymore. All of that care and treatment I had when I was a sick baby kept me alive, but the process was painful. I have not overcome my fear of needles, but I have become more open to using them as an element of my treatment.