In February this year I tripped off for some acupuncture. There were multiple reasons for doing this, none of which involved my sleeping issues. I’ve suffered from insomnia off and on for over 15 years, and during that time I’ve tried everything, including acupuncture, to resolve it. If you’re a fellow sufferer you’ll be familiar with the myriad of options – vitamins, homeopathic remedies, drugs, baths, warm milk, meditation, counselling, sleep school, and so the list goes on. The thing about something like insomnia, is that once it’s manifested, I just got resigned to the fact that it was never going to go away. You discover ways to manage it. You find tricks that work for you some of the time and you make sure you’ve got a prescription on hand for those weeks when it all gets too much.
But the acupuncture I had on this occasion was different to what I’d had previously… this was ear acupuncture, which I’d never heard of before. The idea is that by stimulating pressure points around the ear, you help the whole body heal. The tiny needles (really like 1mm or so) are covered by a plaster and remain in your ear for 10-14 days. There’s a vague sting when they’re placed, kind of like a mosquito bite, but after that I never really felt them (unless I rolled onto that ear in the night).
A few days afterwards I remember waking up feeling strange. Why, you ask? Because I suddenly realised that I’d had a few good night’s sleep in a row… without using any kind of aid. It had literally been years since that happened. At the time I had just started on our yearly keto detox diet, so I figured it might be something to do with that. But the thing is, I’ve done the keto detox multiple times before and I couldn’t recall any kind of sleeping benefits. Could it be the acupuncture, I wondered? At first I was too afraid to contemplate it. If I did, it would surely disappear in a puff of smoke. If I said it out loud it definitely would. It took me another week or so to tell hubby and a few weeks before I told the doctor it was helping.
Sure, it’s not like a switch flicked. It’s not like I go to bed now and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I’ll never be that person. I’m always going to be a substandard, light sleeper. But it seems that these days, even if I’ve lain awake for an hour or so, the panic doesn’t kick in like it used to, and my brain can relax enough to get to sleep. Sure, I’ve still had to rely on my tried and trusted methods sometimes, like playing my sleep music or taking a half a valium, but it’s significantly less than what I was doing, and I still get that strange feeling sometimes when I wake up and I’ve slept well. Like when your nose unclears after weeks of being blocked. This is what life is meant to be like, I suddenly realise. This is how the majority of the population lives. They just go to bed and wake up again in the morning, and there’s nothing in between.
I’m planning to pop back for a top up soon, because the doctor said that a refresher every six months or so is quite common for those facing chronic problems. And why not? Who really cares if it was the acupuncture or not? If it helps, I’m in. Now… I just need to get over this chronic back pain… and I really will have won at life!