I watched as another long needle slid easily into my knee.
OK, I’m fibbing. I actually had my head turned and eyes closed like a big baby, but there was a long needle stuck in my knee. Nine of them to be exact, stuck between my left knee and right shoulder. A couple of the needles only had an inch or two showing on the surface and I tried not to think about how long they were when we started!
Some were plunged deep to hit buried acupuncture points.
Under normal circumstances, I would rather be covered with rattlesnakes than with needles, but I came for an acupuncture treatment voluntarily in an effort to get my knee fixed up. I want to walk out of here proudly carrying my rucksack in a few days, rather than hobbling like a cripple.
Lara, a fellow kung fu student, studied acupuncture and natural medicine in Switzerland for four years. She graciously volunteered to turn me into a human pincushion for free. She seemed to know what she was doing, and within 20 minutes, I could feel a warm burning sensation all the way up my leg. Maybe it was just the infection taking hold? OR, more likely it was the chi flowing again that had been blocked by pain and injury for the last week.
My options here at the school are slim. The resident doctor is really a last resort.
Some people balk at the thoughts of invisible energy and Chinese medicine, but when you consider that their techniques are more than 2,000 years old and less than 200 years ago us Westerners were still putting leeches on people, I accept these holistic methods firmly. And they work.
I finished our afternoon training session for the first time in a week without my knee giving up before I did. Thank you, Lara.
Seeing needles still makes me break out into a cold sweat, but my first acupuncture treatment in China was an experience that I will remember. I’m sure that it wont be my last.