Acupuncture -if you dare!

This post contributed by ANNA BOOM and previously published on in March 2011

Needles, needles and more needles.
Acupuncture, oh my!

Recently, my running friend mentioned acupuncture helped her knee pain. Then another friend tried it for her glute/hamstring pain, another for plantar fascitis. And then an article in one of my favorite magazines popped up on acupuncture.
Like many of you, I have heard of acupuncture and known it is all about needles but I wanted to find out more. Onto to the research then…
Since moving here to Okinawa wonderland, I’ve been interested in more eastern leaning therapies. I tried acupuncture once way, way back for some forgotten pain and I guess it worked. I forgot about the pain, right?
Although I don’t have any specific pain, one article I read on website ( caught my eye: an Alternative to Botox. What?!
This newer procedure spoke, no, screamed attention, to my vain inner self. Poke me with a few needles and wrinkles disappear? This is not quite the claim of facial acupuncture, but after a series of 10 – 12 sessions, it will help soften wrinkles.
I contacted my friends and found the acupuncturist for me at Tokyo Acupuncture.
What makes Urasaki-san at Tokyo Acupuncturist the acupuncturist for me? He speaks English well. This is vital for me in any type of sticking-needles-into-my-body sort of fashion. He has been doing this for 16 years too.
I called him up on Monday morning and set up my first appointment for Wednesday afternoon.
After arriving, Urasaski san asked me why I was there, if there was any pain I was experiencing. I explained that I was there for facial acupuncture and also that my lower back was a little tight.
After filling out a short informational sheet with name and such, I lay down and he began to swab alcohol on certain points on my hands. Then, he went on to insert 24 needles into various points in my body around the hands, elbows, feet and knees, all starting with the alcohol swab. He was also sure to show me he uses only new needles.
The sensation was a bit painful in some places, like near my ring toe on my left foot. Other places, it didn’t hurt at all.
Now onto my face and the main reason I was there. For wrinkles and relaxation, needles are inserted into the face. According to Chinese medicine, we have meridians that run through the body. The needle helps release blocked chi or qi and help energy flow.  
He inserted needles around my laugh lines (I really need to smile and laugh less) and a few around my forehead. I don’t yet have pronounced mommy worry lines (maybe because my kids are still toddlers-give me about 10 more years and check back) so not many in that area.  
Then, relax. Easy.
After a short amount of time, he came and took out all the needles and massaged my face. If you’ve ever had a facial, it is nothing like that at all. It was more like holding your fingers on a certain area until it relaxed and felt very nice.
Last step, he had me check in the mirror and I admit, it did soften my lines. Was it due to the irritation of getting pricked with many needles? Perhaps, but I liked it.
To get to Tokyo Acupuncture: Drive out Kadena Gate 2. Go through the Koza intersection. Pass the police station and the first traffic light. At the second light, turn left. Turn right at the 6th intersection. It will have a yellow flashing caution light hanging in the middle of the road. Almost immediately, on your left you will see a red sign that has Tokyo written in cursive. The rest of the sign is in kanji. Immediately past that sign is the acupuncture clinic. The sign will read in English, “lower back, pain massage, acupuncture.” Parking is under the clinic. Take the stairs that lead up to the office.
Hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday
Phone: 098 939-8551

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