I've had the pleasure of receiving three different types of "acupuncture" experiences since my Stroke back in October 2010. Each of them with "slight" variations and/or differences, except for the universal notion that fine needles are embedded into my body and face.
One particular "myth" to dispel, is that there are multiple needles poked into your skin, ala "Pinhead" in "Hellraiser", and in that television commercial up top. This was my first impression of the deed, and I brought that notion to my first session too freakedout out of my brains hahaha
But then again, maybe tis just that my 'needs' might not require so much needles, so I dare not say this is "legit" or not :p
Since the on-set of receiving acupuncture, the specific intention was to seek treatment to combat the issue of my eye-sight. Post-Stroke has left me with double vision, so much so sometimes I eye-patch one eye, so the other can see literally just ONE vision - but that was not always the case.
My first experience with acupuncture, was in Changi General Hospital itself - where I was warded across the street, in St. Andrew Community Hospital. Within the CGH complex itself, was a "Traditional Chinese Medicine" ("TCM") Clinic, and every week I would have an appointment at the clinic, all on record with SACH.
Tis is an option open to folks, and I appreciated that option, as most medically educated practitioners from both East and West tend to differ on opinions. But in this instance, there was no prescriptive TCM medication to swallow, so acupuncture it was.
The sensation was not at all what I had expected, nor "feared". Different parts of my body was embedded with needles, and electricity (clipped at the ends of the needles) coursed thru my body, in a mild state. (The electrical discharge is another difference to different folks receiving treatment).
I truly do not know if any difference was to be had with this, as I was already busting my ass off in rehabilitation. My eye-sight remained still in anguish, but then again, everyone says TCM takes a longer time to "react"…
Basically a month in, and I discharged from SACH on Christmas Eve, 2010.
Not too long later, I was recommended to another sinseh based in Tanjong Katong Complex. Now this was a whole new other experience!
This particular practice, practiced the notion of "pain".
Essentially, the needles are stuck in, where activation of electricity coursing thru is would be more "effective" in inducing the desired effect, if you feel "pain". So in this instance, if the needles are stuck "right", I would be in a whole lot of pain, and indeed I was constantly grimacing and gritting my teeth from resulting in screaming like a wee kid.
I remember fondly that the old sinseh would poke a needle in in certain parts of the body, and wiggle said needle as it sent inner jolts up and down the needles vicinity. The "pain" meant the needle was stuck in the desired spot.
Now imagine electricity coursing thru it. And at a higher charge than I was used to at CGH previously. Fun times.
Know that the level of electrical discharged can be altered by twisting a knob, or keyed-in button. Some people might need only a small pulse, which others more "enthusiastic" can opt for a higher charge, not unlike the cackling of lightning from Frankenstein movies … okay, maybe that was an exaggeration :p
But to me, the experience had been fruitful. Twice a week I endured this experience, for a few months (I could not remember how long), and my eye-sight got significantly better, to what i jokingly term "HD Vision" - with that particular day with the sun blaring down on my left palm, and me being able to see the grooves in the skin's folds.
I stopped going to this practice at a time when I had impatiently felt my eye-sight could not get any better. and i had since stopped 'wondering' how things would have changed, if i had continued the sessions. Things and incidents move on, as we should as well, rather than dwell in the past ... or so i tell myself constantly :p
Over a year later, my eye-sight condition started diminishing, and my double vision had returned to bother me moreso than it had a year ago. The eye-patch became a fixture in my life, and the days of walking about without it became a challenge and a daily crap-shoot, so much so most times i choose not to leave the comforts and (self-imposed) saftey of the house, simply because I felt I could not adapt to the surrounds. My eye-sight also determines how I deal with "crowds" visually, or rather my inability to absorb and process the visual onslaught. My perception of depth is constantly questioned, and my balance is off, no doubt due to my visual process too, I surmise.
Aside: I managed to control myself with a visit to Jakarta recently, and am thoroughly proud of myself, but it took a bit of time to recover from the process, post-event. But I KNOW I am getting better, so that's a good thing :)
A visit to Western eye-specialist(s) proved to be a fount of information, but the final reality was that there was no medication to be taken, nor treated with, and that I was to learn to adapt my life to what my vision is now at this stage. The "good news" was that my vision need not the help of spectacles! My left eye possessed 25 degrees, while (ironically) my twitchy right eye was "perfect"! hahahahaha
Nevertheless, I simply could not take this silently and go on with life. I felt I had to seek "hope", at the very least. I do not deem this as seeking a "second opinion", but rather seeking out an alternative "hope" to my present situation.
My latest acupuncture session with was a sinseh in Toa Payoh, recommended by my dad, who is besotted with her practice. This image posted here is my first ever snap of me with needles on my face after all these years of experiencing it! haha
This picture was taken at my second session today (that hand flipping my cheek is actually where the last needle would be embedded hahaha). The experience was a mixture of my first and second acupuncture experiences. There is no electricity discharged, but the points where the needles are embedded, possess a slight level of "pain" - not "OUCH", but "ooooooo".
Right after my session today, the sinseh massaged the pinned points, with a menthol-smelling cream (which I did not see nor ask what it was), but it sure as heck opened up my eyes and senses! And the massages really "hurt" ("Mild-Ouch").
How will this work out? I yearn to find out, and to regain a semblance of independent vision and senses. I will endeavor to update this blog accordingly. And my Western eye-specialist appointment is a year from now.
Here are some summarized points, based on my observations and experiences in Singapore:
- Each acupuncture session lasts about an average of 20 minutes. Any additional sessions would run that long as well.
- Average prices here range between SGD$15 to $35 per session (Here in Singapore). It may or may not come with additional liquid medication.
- Out if the 3 different acupuncturists I had gone to, only two used electrical discharge. More likely than not, the acupuncturist will as if the voltage is acceptable as you feel it, so you (probably) can choose higher or lower settings. I am unsure if your personal tolerance for this might hamper your advancement, but I would be wary if instead a practice just juices you up without asking your tolerance level hahaha - UNLESS it is the average "mild" un-intrusive level anyways :p
- For Stroke, the best period to go thru acupuncture or any TCM treatment, is within the first 6 months of surviving Stroke, where perhaps 60-70% of treatment might be effective. Once the period lapses, the effectiveness takes a dive, averaging about 20% of effectiveness. This was mentioned by my current sinseh, and I have not researched into the legitimacy of the claim.
Personally to me, finding the "right" sinseh makes the difference. The latter two sinsehs were recommended from trustworthy sources (aka folks whom my parents trusted ;p). You would be surprised how much legitimacy of medical learning is needed. Anyone could go learn the basics, get a certificate and frame it up on the clinic wall ... but experience and a clear knowledge of the bodies' essential points, is pretty hard to discern.
My personal recommendation: Anyone who "promises" you the world, is suspect. "Practicality" and a clear sense of said practicality, is appreciated. But then again, I am not an expert at acupuncture, and can only conclude from my own observations and experience.
Read up more about Acupuncture via Wikipedia. I know I should, but I am tired of "self-medication" hahaha