This afternoon, a different physiotherapist did some dry needling for me. She needled the same place the previous therapist did, telling me that the first round of needles had caused bruising (but didn’t seem concerned). She explained that dry needling forces the body to respond the way it does to trauma and to send healing responses to the needled areas; this helps relieve tension, stiffness, and stress. She said that the needling points are different with acupuncture because of the different beliefs held in the respective practices of western and eastern medicine, and the intentions with acupuncture are different. I asked her if she could ‘needle’ my stomach, but she said that it’s not an area that dry needling covers. She said that acupuncture can be used to help my stomach and that it is used to treat a variety of different illnesses and health concerns, but that needling would not help. I will have to work with the two acupuncturists at that clinic if I want any needle work to help my stomach (though they will not likely put needles directly into my stomach).
I was afraid of the needles this afternoon, but I did not flinch, cry, or move away from my therapist’s touch when she put the needles in. Everything went well and – though I did not feel as ‘melted’ as I had before – I felt better. She was impressed that I had asked for the treatment upfront and that I had responded well to it. I use all these different therapies as a way to cure myself of my impairment, but I think needling and acupuncture are less forms of cure and more forms of management for stiffness, tightness, and pain. I think that, no matter how cured I become, my body will always have a certain stiffness present in it that I can manage with treatments like needling and acupuncture.
In addition to dry needling, I had a really good pilates class today. It was the first pilates class I’d had in a while; I’d put work ahead of exercise and therapy and, when I’d actually come into the studio, I’d asked for two hours of treatment rather than one hour of pilates and one hour of massage. It felt really good to go back to pilates and get a good stretch, especially in my hips, spine, and pelvis. I understand that I am not ‘getting better’ if I just stick to comfortable familiar stretches, but it’s sometimes nice to just have a relaxing gentle class with stretches and exercises that make me feel mobile and comfortable. Today was one of those days that the work felt less like a struggle to rid my body of my disability and more like self care, like taking a hot shower or going to bed early. I left the class feeling motivated and happy.