Yesterday I was on fire. Not the kind of fire like…my life is going smashing and everything is going my way kind of fire, but the kind of fire with flames and heat.
And I slept through the whole thing!
I didn’t feel the need to have accupuncture (usually I have something wrong with me) but I went for well being thinking it couldn’t hurt. When I got there the husband was there and we chatted for a bit.
Me: I’m hearing inflammation, gone, herbs. He extends his hand across the desk towards me. I know this means to put my wrist down on the little satin pillow so he can check my pulse. I watch him as he listens to both wrists like he’s some wrist whisperer and wonder what the heck he’s thinking. He writes down a bunch of Chinese characters on a piece of paper.
He gets up from behind the desk and walks me to the stairs. He puts his arm out and smiles. The accupuncture rooms are down there so I make my way to my usual haunt.
He follows behind and says, “My wife not coming. I do accupuncture.”
He shuts the door, I strip down to my undies and lie on the bed. Yes, he’s basically a complete stranger to me and I should feel a bit of apprehension I suppose for being half naked in front of him, but believe it or not, I strip down in front of strangers all the time.
That didn’t come out right.
I go to fittings for acting and modeling and have to change very quickly. Most times I do it in front of the wardrobe people. If you are filming with others they are doing this too and we are all numb to it because we do it so much that nobody cares.
If I knew someone intimately and was going to strip down, I would probably be apprehensive. Isn’t that odd? Actually I don’t know if I would apprehensive. It’s been so long, I might throw my clothes across the room! I’m feeling flushed right now. What was I talking about?
Oh yeah! Accupuncture!
As I am lying with my face down on the table, the husband returns and puts the needles in my body. Some hurt. This means there is a blockage. I resign to the initial pain and breathe through it. Then he says something about needles and heat but the rest of it sounds like this:
When he’s all done with the needles I smell this sage patchouli scent (none of which I like) and it proceeds to smell like this almost the entire time I am in there. I do feel a warmth, perhaps a little warmer than usual, but they always put a heat lamp on me so I assume it’s that.
As the smell subsides about 25 minutes into my treatment, I pick up my head a bit and look at my right hand. There is a huge needle in it with a black thing on it. It looks like it’s been charred and then I look at my left hand and see three more needles with the same thing. It suddenly occurs to me that the smell and the heat was me…on fire.
He comes to take the needles out, says a few more things I don’t understand and I meet him upstairs to get more herbs. He says something about next week, I thank him and head back home.
When I get home I research what has just happened and this is what I discovered:
Warm needle acupuncture (wenzhen; 温针) is where moxa cones are placed on the handle of the needle, after the needle has been inserted. Once lit, heat transmits along the shaft of the needle to the acupuncture point. Moxa refers to the herb mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) that is burnt to warm specific parts of the body, including acupuncture points.
Mugwort! Like in Harry Potter. I’m so glad we have this language barrier because in all honesty, if I would have understood what he said he was going to do, I would have probably run out the door.
Sometimes ignorance is bliss and a pleasant surprise.