Until Nixon visited China in 1972, most people in this country had never heard of acupuncture. So most people had no idea what it really was. Thanks to ping-pong diplomacy and ever-ready TV cameras, though, Americans like me finally got a chance to see an acupuncture treatment up close — and it looked pretty scary.
One night I turned on the television and saw these Chinese doctors sticking so many needles into some poor guy that he looked like a human pin cushion. Unbelievable!
“Come and look at this!” I called to my mother. “They’re turning this guy into a porcupine!”
My mother walked into the room, took one look at the procedure, then announced, “That’s acupuncture.”
“Well, I don’t care what it is,” I told her, “that’s the craziest thing I ever saw in my life!” Then I made this prophetic rant: “I can tell you right now, nobody is EVER going to stick me with all those needles! No way, it’s just not going to happen, I’m NEVER going to let anybody do that to me!”
Fast forward to 2015, to The China Institute in St. Paul: I’m going on my 12th year of letting Dr. Ren stick all those needles in me — and I couldn’t be healthier or happier about it.
I first came to Dr. Ren’s clinic in January, 2003, after my podiatrist wanted to “put me under,” then cut up the soles of my feet with a scalpel. That was his way of treating my recurring heel pain and plantar fasciitis, anyway. He said the scar tissue (that would result from the cutting) would provide cushioning for the bottoms of my feet. I thought it would leave me crippled. Thanks to Dr. Ren’s treatments, I was able to finally walk and move around without chronic pain. More importantly, my feet didn’t have to get bloodied and lacerated with her cure. With acupuncture, she provided safe, drug-free, affordable relief.
Over the years, she’s also helped with my other health concerns. Menopause (and related insomnia), TMJ, digestive problems, chronically tight muscles, other injuries — all these things were addressed with the needles I used to dread so much.
And to think, when I was little I was so frightened of becoming a human pin cushion, I swore I’d never have anything to do with acupuncture…Now I’m glad I did.
This remarkable treatment has been around for hundreds — no, THOUSANDS — of years; and yet, a lot of people still won’t try it. All I can say is don’t be like I used to be. Don’t delay. Don’t be scared. Give acupuncture a chance and see what it can do for you. You might be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.