Yesterday my acupuncturist tried the third different treatment I’d had in four appointments. Today D, as I’ll call him, is my hero.
First D “grounded” me with needles in my feet and hands. Then he put a needle (or “critter” as he likes to call them), between my eyes, in each temple, above each ear and on both sides of my neck at the base of my skull. After that he pushed on points all over my head. Any spot that was tender, he put a needle in. I didn’t keep track of how many critters were in my head, but it was at least 10. I even had a needle mohawk.
The needles did hurt. In fact, all the treatments he’s done have had at least a couple needles that hurt when they went in. D said this is because he took an aggressive approach because my headaches are so severe and stubborn.
Yesterday’s was the most painful and continued to ache during the time they were left in — about 15 minutes. This was on top of the headache pain. As soon as he put the critters in my temples, my headache changed from throbbing to pressure (unusual for me) then to something like an ice cream headache. (A horrendous headache to have for 15 minutes.)
It was all worth it after D removed the needles and gave me a 30-minute head and neck massage with a product called wood lock oil. A combination of menthol, camphor and “proprietary ingredients,” wood lock is a popular remedy for aches and pains in Hong Kong. It smells and feels like Icy Hot. D and I are both suspicious of what those ingredients really are — with the HeadOn controversy, I know it could be something I don’t want on my body.
Right now I don’t care! I left the appointment with my existing headache, which was escalating when I arrived, stopped in its tracks and pain down to a 2. This is a huge deal because most abortives keep my headaches at the same level they were, not make them better or worse. My headache didn’t change for the rest of the evening. I felt good and was able to make dinner, clean, and laze around watching baseball and crocheting, all before 10 p.m.
Last night was the first in three weeks that I’ve slept well, without a migraine waking me in the night. The morning came and I didn’t even hit the snooze bar. I popped out of bed with lots of energy and ready to take on the day.
(An aside: Since last Thursday I’ve noticed that I have a lot more energy in my low headache periods than I have for at least five years. I’m reluctant to attribute it to any particular treatment, but I’ve caught glimpses of the high-energy person I once was.)
Now the question is if the acupuncture is really the cause of the reduction in my headaches. With how drastic the change was yesterday and having a three-week long migraine cycle broken, It sure seems like it is. Maybe it’s the massage, which has never helped me before, or the wood lock oil. Perhaps the greens drink, fish oil, probiotics or Chinese herbs that I started last week decided yesterday was the day to work.
Like with the wood lock oil, it doesn’t matter to me right now. If the reduced pain continues, I will eventually stop different treatments and see if I still feel good. Right now I’m going to enjoy how I feel today.
Note added 10/25/06 at 2:55 p.m.: Turpentine is used to make camphor and menthol, which are in almost all liniments, including wood lock oil. I hope that isn’t what helped my headache yesterday.
10/26/06: Turpentine is used to make synthetic camphor and menthol. Now the question is if the product contains synthetic or naturally occurring ingredients.