For the first time in my life, last month I started acupuncture.
For many years I have suffered from a nagging, intermittment pain just above each ankle. It means that I have difficulty running long distances (twenty to thirty minutes jogging can be hard) and it is often particularly uncomfortable in the mornings.
Wanting to try something other than ankle supports and doctors recommendations of rest, I visited the Herbal Inn in Dalston. This is part of a chain of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine stores across London and the UK. Details here - you can switch the music off on their website by the way!
I was assessed by a Chinese speaking Doctor who used a member of staff to translate. Acupuncture was recommended and after some haggling over price and other treatments (this seems a perfectly acceptable thing to do by the way) I had seven sessions for the price of six. Within minutes I was in a back room, lying on a bed being approached by a Doctor holding sharp instruments! Just as when I give blood, I was determined to watch the needles going in, and it has to be said it is broadly painless. You notice they have pierced the skin, and that is pretty much it. About 5-10 minutes later I could feel that something was happening in my lower legs, and this pattern was repeated each time I went.
In all I had 10 sessions, with two different doctors. For reasons that were never explained to me, one would always put the needles in with me lying face down, the other when I lay on my back. On occasion I noticed that certain needles seemed to be tapped in a little further, and one or two of these you could imagine being really used to hurt, if the person in charge wanted to. Some slight pain is apparently a sign of progress!
Does it work? Well the straightforward answer is yes - my legs feel better than they have for years. How it works remains a mystery however!