Acupuncture with Leah
“Hi, Ardi. How are you today?”
Her smile radiates a light and loving heart.
“Hi, Leah. Relaxed. And anxious.”
In the 15 minutes since I entered this darkened room, reclined in a Lazy Boy, covered myself with a soft throw to the hush of a sound machine and heavenly music—I have started my descent into an alternate reality, perhaps a slightly aberrant one.
After hearing my wife Marily's appropriate interjections at precise and pin-pointed therapeutic events, I await my fourth session with the second and sweetest acupuncturist I know.
“Oh? How are your emotions today?” I had mentioned last time I seemed to be more concerned than usual with some extreme acts of violence in today's world.
“Pretty good. I think it's more what's about to happen on my body in the next few minutes than in Iraq or Syria the past few weeks.”
She asks about the pain in my knees and other concerns since last time while taking notes on a tab. She'll start with my right hand and wrist. I know, because that's where she is positioned on her rolling stool.
I tense up.
“Let's check your pulses.” She gently palpates my wrist. Her touch is the kiss of an angel. Again relaxed, even knowing I have about 10 seconds.
Now another caress to the base of my thumb, I close my eyes. I can do this. She strokes the joint for exact positioning. I hear the rustle of a wrapper as she removes the needle. Mental attention toggles from the peace of her presence to the concept of torture by voodoo.
Owe! I thought I felt, but not. No pain. Yes. I can do this.
My mental state calms again with her sweet touch. More rustling. A slight prick. Not so bad. One or two more on that hand. A sting. I let my guard down. Recover. Take control.
I can do this.
Mind has yet to grasp the subtle reality of rejuvenation almost missed in its racing. Back and forth. Peace and pain. Yet the pain is less than its intellectual hold.
She rolls to my right foot. Tension. Rustle. Tension. She fondles my ankle. Thumbs and fingers of both hands. Paper crinkles. I can do this. Not so bad.
It continues, the rolling, the rustle, tension and touch. Relax or yelp under my breath. Or twitch of toe. Some with pain, Others I barely notice. Left foot. Left hand. Rigid, relax. Angel or ouch.
She moves back to the right of my head. I speak. “I have a question.”
How far do the needles go in.
It depends. On the hands the are not deep. Other areas like in the muscles or behind a tendon, the can be about like this, as she meters out about an inch or more between finger and thumb.
She shows me the length of a needle and says it can go in all the way to where it is held.
“Have a good rest.”
“Thank you, Leah.”
Yeh, about as good as the last time I slept with a porcupine.
Not so bad, really. Amazingly there is no pain. Just that damn itch on my nose.
Okay. I can lift my left hand. I see a few pins protruding. If I lift may head to meet it my itch is relieved. Back down with my arm. Head back. Ouch! The needle in the top of my head, set very shallow, flopped back first. Ohh! Owe, owe… I turn it to the side a bit. But in about10 minutes I have a kinked neck. Attempts at lifting and flopping back in place not too successful, but I’ll live.
Okay. Just relax. Think of someone I love. Something I love to do. Making love to that someone.
Is that her snoring in the recliner next to me? How can she sleep through such agony?
How about a warm beach? To counteract the AC that just went on. Leah had covered me again after properly protecting the needles in my knees and feet with rolls of blankets.
But after visualizing, and praying and contemplating and love on the beach. And flopping and re-flopping blankets and needles, again there is peace and comfort.
I wonder about the phenomenon of healing. This kind of healing.
Before, I had asked how acupuncture works. A cerebral grasp of the process would certainly help me control the mental battle. The micro irritation by the needle's point stimulating a response that increases circulation and other chemical and electrical activity in the area... That's what I heard, or something like that. Kinda makes sense. I love science. Biology. Human physiology. Have a degree in electronics engineering technology. The needle as a conductor. Electrolytes controlling fluid balance in the body. Makes sense.
But it is that point of the needle. Stabbing my flesh. Mind switching from peace to pain. Let it go. Release the pain. Release the mind. Reclaim the vision, the love. Peace of body and mind. It works. Relax. Ahhh.
Until my left foot feels restless. It wants to run. I wanted to run. To keep it from jerking, I stretch and stiffen my foot. Feels like a deep puncture wound. I recall the nail through a 2x4 I stepped on as a kid. The flip-flops I wore afforded no protection. A piece of blue foam rubber was implanted, but I didn't know it till it festered out a few day later. I know these 4 or 5 needles protruding to the center of my foot were goading my appendage to another agonizing paralysis.
Oh God, please. where is Leah? When is the Angel returning? The hour has got to be about up. I hear her talking to the client two seats to my left, the other side of Marily. Talking, Talking. Endlessly talking. Enough already. Move on to Marily. Pull her pins and get over here. I may need 911.
I flop some pins and lift my head to turn and see her. Maybe I can signal my urgency.
Not there! I hear her, but she’s not there. Everyone in that direction is sleeping. One is snoring. Am I loosing it? Flop. Relax. Ouch!. Lift. Flop. Relax. Twitch. Damn. My altered state of mind and soul is of a near-death experience, but not the peaceful one in which fear of death is dissolved. No detachment here. Death does seem a better option.
So many thousand milliseconds later, Leah speaks: “How was your rest?”
Distracted from the pain by her presence and speaking with a surprising calmness, I tell her of my concern/trauma. I wonder if my eyes show the residual agony from the event. I remember the deer that totaled our Nissan one dark and stormy night in Montana. We heard the guttural last gasp of the doe as she slid up over the windshield.
But all traumas eventually pass, and life becomes normalized with time. If time doesn't stop with death.
Relaxed again by Leah's presence. Her voice. Her smile. Her touch--that painlessly removes the needles. Feet and knees. Hands and ears. And the top of my head. Like a butterfly gathering nectar the bumble bees forgot.
Healing. A continuing process to forestall the eventual leaving of this body. How much is our choices of body—physiological? Our activity or lifestyle? What we consume? What aid we accept? What about the practitioner or healer herself? What about the mind and the heart?
I feel the demeanor and care and loving heart of Leah is responsible for the effectiveness of the therapy, while I must take responsibility for the mind switch. Isn't it the vibration of love that true healers exchange with the patient that affects healing of body and mind? Yes, an exchange. We must accept the healing with gratitude and love. The mind can overcome conditions of the physical entity, but it is the opening of the heart to love and re-radiating that love that assures lasting health. The body heals itself, and love is the healer.
I smile. “Thank you, Leah.” Relaxed and grateful.
As she leaves my side, I gather my keys, my phone, my watch and other pocket junk. Put on my sandals and head for the door. Like a pincushion ready for dry-cleaning. “See you Saturday.”
I can’t wait. We’ll see.
© 2014 Ardi Keim