November 11, 2013

Thanks, but I can dress myself.

I got acupuncture the other day. It's great, because my new job covers $250 each for acupuncture, massage, chiropractor, and probably some other stuff. In my eternal quest for migraine relief I thought acupuncture would be a good step to take.

A year ago I tried getting massages to help with the life ruining migraines I was getting every two weeks like clockwork. It didn't help, but it felt nice. A few months after I gave up on that (no more benefits and no visible migraine results) I figured I'd give the chiropractor a go. I'd heard of a friend of a friend who had the same issue as me and it turned out she just had something out of alignment and BOOM relief. The chiropractor helped a bit, but not much, although he pointed out some issues that he blamed for my migraines.

Eventually he suggested I go see a naturopath just to see what was up. I did, and she suggested I give up dairy. Hello, success! I've gone from biweekly migraines to intervals of up to eight weeks between them. I'm working on eight weeks right now, but I'm optimistic that I'll beat my record this time. The reason? Acupuncture.

I chose my acupuncturist based on location. I've gotten massaged, chiropracted, and naturopathed all at the same place, so I figured I'd keep it consistent and get acupuncture there, too. That way they could talk about me amongst themselves if they wanted.

If you've ever gotten a massage, you'll know that you strip down to your undies for the process. If you've ever gone to the chiropractor you'll know that you keep your clothes on. If you didn't know that, it might be time to find a new chiropractor.

The morning of my acupuncture appointment I called my mom at work to figure out if I'd be getting naked for the acupuncturist or not. If not, what should I wear? No one wants to be dressed inappropriately for all that up close and personal touching. Especially when it involves needles.

Mom informed me that it was more of a "bra and panties" kind of ordeal, so I wore a dress to work. If you're taking it off, who cares what you're wearing? Might as well look good for the co-workers. Those post-menopausal women think I'm the best dressed thing since sliced bread. That's how cute my dresses are.

When I showed up for my appointment, the acupuncturist, a thirty-something year old woman, informed me that I'd have to take off my tights because she was going to put some needles in my legs. Just my tights? No big thing. She left the room while I took them off and lay myself down on the table.

When she came back in I suddenly felt very aware of the fact that I hadn't shaved my legs in a few days. As she touched my moderately prickly legs I felt obligated to appologise. She shrugged it off as no big deal and said she didn't even notice.

I reminded myself that most white people practicing Chinese medicine probably don't care about body hair, being major natural healing method hippies. Anyone who believes that sticking needles in someone's body will help what ails them clearly has some natural, hippie tendencies.

She took my pulse in various parts of my body before asking me to hike up my dress so that she could feel my stomach. She draped a glorified pillowcase across my lower bikini area (aka my crotch) and I hiked up my dress, while trying to keep the pillow case from hiking up, too, all the while under her watchful eye.

I'm pretty freaking graceful and good at being coy without showing off my undies. I can understand why she'd want to watch to learn a few thing. Getting changed in a sleeping bag? Forget about it, too stinking easy. (Just kidding. My name may mean "full of grace" but I'm pretty sure it's meant ironically.)

She felt and prodded my stomach and lower (LOWER) abdomen for a bit, and then we established that my liver and kidney meridians (or something) were the opposite temperatures from what they should be. The top part of your tummy is supposed to be cooler than the lower part (the part that holds all my cookies) and mine were reversed. The lower half of your body is supposed to be the warmest. You learn something new every day.

(If you didn't just feel your stomach and abdomen to see which is warmer I'm really disappointed in you.)

After the getting-to-know-you-touching portion of the appointment came the actual pin poking part. It didn't hurt until she stuck one right between my eyes, almost as an afterthought. I felt really cool then, lying with a pillow case on my crotch, my dress hiked above my stomach, and a giant pin sticking out like a really offensive unibrow.

After fifteen minutes of trying to battle sleep while she me left alone, she came back and told me to take off my dress and roll onto my stomach. That's when it got awkward.

She left the room and I quickly stripped down to my bra, contemplating whether or not I should keep my tank top on, but eventually deciding I didn't need it. I was laying on my stomach, anyway. I might be awkward in my skin with or without clothes, but I'm not a pre-teen dealing with the shame of not understanding what's going on with my body. I can be mature.

She came back in the room, not saying anything, and promptly unhooked my bra.

It's been my experience that people always ask or at least let you know when they're going to do something that might make you uncomfortable. For instance, my chiropractor will generally warn me when he's going to something in the middle of my chest (aka my sternum area) and the massage therapist used to let me know if she was going to head towards my backside. And it's okay because at least I've been warned. There is also nothing awkward about paying someone to feel your bum if it's covered by your work's medical plan. Totally legit.

After she was done poking needles into the other side of my body, left me alone for another 15 minutes, and came back, we discussed the impact the time change had had on her chickens (less eggs). I told you she was a hippie.

As she was talking, she hooked my bra back up.


Now, never in my 25 years has anyone ever hooked UP my bra for me. Ever. And she didn't say a word.

I guess she didn't think I'd be flexible enough to do my bra back up on my own while laying on my stomach (she'd be surprised because I have the most flexible arms in my yoga class) but she let me get dressed alone.

I was surprised she didn't pull my straps back up onto my shoulders because they'd slipped a little. What was I even paying her for?

If you're going to dress me, at least dress me properly and finish what you've started.

I'll be going back to her in four weeks, because I'm really healthy (BOOM) and don't need to go back in a week like she'd normally recommend. I plan on wearing yoga pants and a loose shirt this time. And also shaving my legs.

Awkward times...


  1. Being mostly naked in front of people who aren't actually doctors is the WORST. Worth the results, yeah (sometimes at least) embarrassing. I used to get massages from my coworkers when I worked at a chiropractor's office, and they were all dudes. Took a few times before I realized they just really didn't care...(this was pre-marriage, fyi!)

  2. This is HYSTERICAL. So many things have me cracking up. I cannot stand anyone but my husband touching me like that. I would die of humiliation.

  3. Yeah, being naked is such an awkward thing. It's even worse when you get pregnant because you're naked at least once a month. Naked and poked all over. It's wonderful (not) and yet us women have to deal with it. Men have it so much easier. They only have one area to worry about.

    PS. I love your stories. They are hilarious and so much fun to read. Thank you!

  4. Oh man, I got acupuncture once, but just on my hands and feet. A much better experience than yours I think...but I was kind of freaking out and it was all I could do not to kick the guy and he told me it probably wouldn't work very well because I didn't really "believe" in it.

  5. Oh man, I got acupuncture once, but just on my hands and feet. A much better experience than yours I think...but I was kind of freaking out and it was all I could do not to kick the guy and he told me it probably wouldn't work very well because I didn't really "believe" in it.


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