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I Tried Acupuncture For The First Time To Help With Stress And Anxiety, And It Exceeded My Expectations

It was nothing like I expected, and I loved it!

Hi! I'm Fabiana, a 27-year-old woman trying to navigate life the best I can while dealing with life's stresses and anxieties like everyone else.

An image of the author smiling and playing with their hair
Fabiana Buontempo / Via Instagram

In my life, I am sort of always looking for ways to improve my mental health. Currently I attend weekly therapy sessions, I've worked hard to implement (and stick to) morning and nighttime routines, and I keep as active of a lifestyle as I can.

A stock image of someone writing in a journal
Travelcouples / Getty Images / Via Getty Images

But something I've been wanting to implement into my self-care routine to further combat my day-to-day stresses is acupuncture. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who was raving about her acupuncture session, and she was so convincing that after my conversation with her, I immediately opened my calendar to see when I could schedule an appointment for myself. 

Acupuncture is the use of hair-thin needles to pinpoint specific areas on the body to treat pain or tension the body may be experiencing at that time, according to Mayo Clinic.

A stock image of acupuncture
Mike Harrington / Getty Images / Via Getty Images

I did further research and learned that acupuncture is traditional Chinese medicine that dates back to the Ming Dynasty, which took place between 1368 and 1644. Back in the day, it was used as a "technique for balancing the flow of energy known as chi believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body," according to News Medical

For my first acupuncture experience, I booked an appointment at Ora, a luxury acupuncture space in NYC.

When I arrived at Ora for my appointment a few weeks later, I was in awe of how beautiful the space was.

A mirror selfie of the author at the acupuncture center
Fabiana Buontempo

I felt a sense of calmness as soon as I walked in, and the front desk staff was friendly and welcoming. After checking in, I went to the bathroom and was then led to a room where my session would take place. 

Once in the room, I was told to change into a towel that velcroed around my body and wait for my acupuncturist to come into the room for a brief consultation.

An image of the author in a towel taking a selfie in the mirror
Fabiana Buontempo

My acupuncturist, Sian James, asked me a series of questions to get a sense of my lifestyle, my career, my health, and what I was looking to specifically target through my acupuncture session (which was stress and anxiety). 

James then asked me to stick out my tongue, and she informed me that the tip of it was slightly red, which indicated I had some stress and anxiety. My acupuncturist told me that the tongue is an important assessment organ, and it provides a lot of helpful information for the acupuncturist to know which other concerns should be addressed during the session, in addition to what I told her. 

Ten minutes later, I was told to lay on my back and take deep breaths as the needles were inserted.

An image of the acupuncture bed
Fabiana Buontempo

James walked around my body and gently inserted 10-13 needles in my forehead, wrists, chest. knees, and feet. I felt a slight pinch as the needles were inserted, but it was very tolerableShe explained that only 10–15 needles are typically used during a first timer's session so that it's not too overwhelming.

As she was doing this, I asked her how she knew which parts of my body to stick the needles into. "I'll pick certain channels or meridians that have certain points to address concerns that the guest comes in with. So each point has an outcome, so that’s how I select the points. That sends a feedback loop to your nervous system, to your brain, to secrete certain biochemicals in your blood that circulates and target systems in your body," she explained.

After all of the needles were inserted, James instructed me to stay in this position for the next 20–25 minutes to let them do their magic.

An image of needles being inserted during acupunture
Krisanapong Detraphiphat / Getty Images / Via Getty Images

Seconds later, I was left alone in a dark room with spa-like music. I struggled at first to relax and ignore the many needles sticking out of my body. I felt tense, and my thoughts were going all over the place. After several deep breaths, I finally closed my eyes and felt myself slowly drifting off into a Zen place. 

A sense of calm came over me as I focused on taking deep breaths. The only way I could describe the feeling was that it felt like I was drifting into a deep sleep, but I was still aware of my surroundings and could hear the music playing. I was so relaxed that I barely heard the door open as James popped her head in, bringing me back to reality. 

James removed all of the needles and asked me about my experience. After that, I took my time changing back into my clothes before heading to the front sitting area for some water.

Have you ever tried acupuncture? Tell us in the comments below!

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