Friday, July 29, I offered my second Free Friday event at my office in Willoughby. I thought I'd share my thoughts about the event.
I ended up doing 8 treatments from 9:30-4:30. I started earlier than I initially scheduled (11am) to make room for an interested Westsider, which was fine with me. I find that being willing to be flexible about my hours when I can serves, and in this case, it definitely did. I stayed later than I had initially scheduled (3:30pm) to listen to my last patient. I find that being able to truly listen to what a person needs to say serves, and in this case, again, it definitely did. I had one person miss their slot, which was A-OK (it happens) and allowed me a moment to catch my breath.
While I won't go into specifics about treatments (like anyone else in the medical profession, I am bound by HIPAA privacy laws), I can offer a couple of observations about what Free Friday was like:
1) Most of the people attending scheduled appointments because they were curious about what acupuncture could do for their pain.
This is the most common reason that people in the U.S. pursue acupuncture treatment, so that was not surprising to me. What was and is surprising to me, though, is the amazingly varied ways in which human beings experience pain. It's a unique to each of us type of experience.
I got the sense that few of them felt as if they'd been heard or understood by many people, including their families and healthcare practitioners. They seemed surprised that I was interested in hearing as much about their situation as they could tell me, and that I was asking them lots questions around the pain, in an effort to get a clearer picture of their circumstances.
2) Most of the people were surprised how they felt during the treatment.
One of the top three questions about an acupuncture treatment is, "Do the needles hurt?" Again, not surprising, given our relationship to needles and shots in a traditional Western medical setting. There are a variety of factors that come into play when answering this question . . . and the overwhelming sentiment among the free fridays was that surprisingly, it didn't hurt like they were worried it might.
There were some specific points that generated more sensation than others (a lot of this depends on their location on the body), and there were some that were surprised because it felt like the needles were still in the points when I told them we were finished with the treatment (admittedly, I think this is an odd/cool aspect of the medicine). By and large, the prevailing opinion could be summed up as, "Huh . . . that wasn't so bad."
3) Most people were surprised by how they felt after treatment.
People reported that they felt different from their first experience with acupuncture. Maybe their pain was addressed, or they felt calmer, or just . . . different when they got off the table (it can be hard to process and put into words in the moment, especially since it's something new). In following up with people over the last few days, some have experienced big shifts, some more subtle. Some are interested in following up with more treatment, others I may not hear from again.
All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to expose new people to what an acupuncture treatment is like, how it feels, and what being treated can offer them.
And I can't wait to do it again sometime this month. When I have my August date and time set, I'll announce it here, via Twitter (@lakeerieacu), and on Facebook (Lake Erie Acupuncture Page).
Thanks for reading!