Thursday, March 03, 2011


because meditation, yoga and a meatless february haven’t rendered me boring enough, i figured that adding a little acupuncture to my life would be just the thing needed to complete my transformation into a humorless hippie. soon, i’m sure i’ll be living in an ashram in Big Sur, where i will eat twigs and be known by the name of Fairy Dust. (or maybe Farty Dust given the amount of vegetables i’ve been eating lately.)

the acupuncture was really a whim, initiated only because a new martial arts/chinese medicine center opened in my area and offered a discounted session for first-timers. i hadn’t thought too much about acupuncture before, only heard (mostly good) things about it from various friends who’ve indulged. i didn’t even have a specific health problem i needed to resolve.

i was simply curious, so i went in and met with the nice white doctor specializing in chinese medicine, who asked me a slew of questions far more detailed than any western doctor has ever asked me. we spent nearly an hour talking about things like my sleep patterns and skin, my periods and stress levels, my diet and family medical history. there was some talk of yin and yang, chi and heat. he looked at my tongue (yellowish coat in the back, not good) and took my pulse in four different places (kidney pulse very weak).

when he asked what i hoped the acupuncture would achieve, like any self-respecting, body-conscious woman in los angeles, i said i wanted to lose weight by speeding up my metabolism, which has slowed to a snail’s crawl since i hit my thirties. i also told him i wanted more energy, more balance, more youthful vigor and general zen-ness-ness.

with that, i got on the massage table and prepared for the needling. in general, i’m ok with needles as long as i don’t see them pierce my skin, so i kept my eyes closed for the whole affair. he started by putting a little alcohol on the spots where the needles would go — eight on my lower legs and feet, one in my belly, four in my forearms and one at the top of my head. except for the needles in my belly and head, the placements were symmetrical, so if my left wrist got a needle, my right wrist would too.

i didn’t feel too much pain beyond a little pinch when the needle was inserted and then twisted slightly to deepen its reach. placing the needles took only a few minutes. the doc left me alone for about 20 minutes after he was done, a time when i felt very little occurring in my body beyond a general swirling and swooshing of energy. it’s hard to describe because the sensation was so subtle, almost imperceptible, but something was definitely happening. mostly, i felt very, very relaxed — with any tension i was carrying in my body fleeing from me like cockroaches in the light.

the bliss continued after the doc came to take the needles out (totally painless) and even after i paid for the session (sixty bucks). the feeling was heavenly and glorious, similar to one i’d get after emerging from a two-hour massage at the day spa, not a half-hour interlude of being stabbed with needles. everything was amazing — i felt calm and clear, like a mistress of zen (“radiant” is the word the doc used to describe the dumb look on my face). i was so ridiculously joyful, in fact, that i bought a discounted 10-pack of sessions on the spot. the doc could have asked to see a boob or borrow my car and i probably would have obliged. i was feeling that good.

three sessions later and i’m still feeling mighty good. i realize it could all be psychosomatic, but an artificial high is still a high, so i’ll take it. i’ve also had more energy, better sleep and a generally pleasant disposition — a stark contrast to my usually cynical self. (am i an LA asshole yet? is it time to be taken to the back of the barn and shot? just let me know.)

my appetite has been ravenous so i think my metabolism has indeed sped up. now if i could just stop overeating to compensate, i think i would lose some weight. thankfully, the meatlessness has shaved a few pounds off already, and my body has felt so lovely that i decided to extend the nonsense into march. this makes two whole months of no meat, which is a record for me. though i can’t claim that i’m not dying for a steak cooked medium rare and topped with a gorgonzola sauce, i know that i’m not dying without one (despite thinking about it nonstop for the past 31 days).

and while i don’t think i’ve sworn off eating dead animals forever, i have inched closer toward the healthier lifestyle i’ve always envisioned myself leading — one that’s kinder and gentler, cleaner and leaner. hopefully, i can go meatless for a whole three months next year, which would be a personal miracle for me. i think all ashrams are vegetarian anyway, so it makes sense to get ready for it now. in the meantime, i’ll keep acupuncturing, keep meditating and will take the steps i need to take to officially change my name to Fairy Dust.


Celia said...

You're such a great essayist, Milla: ) I love reading your blog. I find myself smiling a lot.

The Only Black Person You Know Who's A Vegan said...

You can do it! Om namah shivaya!

darknessatnoon said...

You should go wholehog. Raw food diet for two weeks; set up an acupuncture session then go to bikram yoga; at home afterward give yourself a coffee enema.

Milla said...

thanks, celia and black vegan! and good idea, darkness. i think i'm gonna try it once i finish my organic soap-making class.

Michael said...

Let me know when you discover that you want to write a self-help book.

Milla said...

will do! that will probably be around the time that hell freezes over. i'll keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Just curious. Where is this new acupuncture place?

Milla said...

whoops, forgot to hyperlink it in my post. here's the website:

chris knight said...

Cousin Jelly suspects that the white tongue thing has something to do with 'halitosis' or something - his word, i didn't look it up - and that you should get it checked out before engaging in risky behavior with 'Costa Rican Cuties'- he said it, not me. Jelly also wanted to know the name of the acupuncture place because, 'needles' he said 'are always god for you.'
He said it, not me. Anyways, the dog pics are cute. Stay Posi! Peace out!