Perhaps you are considering attending one of the Life Healing Life Fertility Retreats and aren't exactly sure what group style acupuncture entails... You've come to the right place!
During these retreat style acupuncture sessions participants come wearing comfy relaxing clothes and claim a space on the floor (where we'll have already been hanging out and chatting during the educations/support part of the retreat). Typically participants bring something to lay on such as a yoga mat or blanket (or both). Bringing one or two pillows is also recommended, one for your head (and should you bring a second you will likely find that placing one under your knees makes laying down and relaxing more easy & comfortable). You are welcome to bring other blankets to cover up with as well (the room tends to be if anything on the warm side, so most find it very comfortable to relax in).
Once you are comfortable lying down (face up) you may opt to use an eye pillow to darken the room, or simply close your eyes. Relaxing music will be playing, and prior to receiving your acupuncture treatment the mere act of lying down peacefully is much like a savasana (or final relaxation pose) at the end of a yoga class. This alone is part of cultivating stillness and peace and unwinding from the stress that is so much a part of our day to day lives.
Using the one page paperwork that you complete when you arrive at the class, I will select the points that match your main complaints, where you are in your menstrual cycle (if pertinent) and anything acute that may be going on with you the day of the retreat (each person gets different points because each person is unique!). I may take your pulse and/or palpate gently on your abdomen to help me determine the best point selection for you. Because there are up to 10 participants per retreat, the number of points used per participant is usually between 5 and 10. They are commonly done on the arms, legs, head and abdomen (the abdomen often feels like a vulnerable place to be needled, but in reality, there are very few nerve endings, so it is one of the most comfortable places!).
I work my way through the group, needling each person in turn. Once everyone has their needles in a brief meditation or peaceful music is played and then the needles are removed. The first person to receive their needles is the first person to have them removed. In this way everyone gets close the the same amount of time with their needles in (generally 20-30 minutes total).
A final goodbye is given and you are sent on your way, hopefully to embrace the day recharged and supported and ready to have a lovely rest of your week!
Some logistical things to know:
Eating within 4-5 hours of receiving acupuncture is required (feel free to bring snacks, I'll provide some too)
All needles used are single use, disposable, sterile needles
The needles used for acupuncture are much thinner than western needles and solid (as opposed to hollowed) so they feel like a tiny poke (most would say less than a mosquito bite) to not much of anything when they are place through the skin.
Once the needles are in place they do not feel "pokey" they typically feel a little heavy or distended, warm, or like nothing.
If you haven't ever tried acupuncture there is no way of really knowing how it feels without giving it a try. I am a very gentle needler and have worked with many a needle-phobe as well as with many women who are just plain sick of needles because of ART treatments for fertility. In almost every case these women are amazed that the acupuncture needles feel so different and relaxing!
If you aren't comfortable receiving acupuncture you may opt to leave after the first two hours (and pay accordingly) or stay for the third hour and be treated using pressure beads instead of needles.
I hope to see you at a retreat :)
Welcome to my blog!
I'm an acupuncturist, teacher, fertility specialist, patient centered advocate, mom, activist and more! This blog is a place for me to write down the things on my mind, the things I discuss over and over, and the things I find helpful, interesting, and inspiring all in the hope that someone else out there, maybe YOU, will find some of these things to be helpful, interesting and inspiring too. I love learning, I love sharing, and I am passionate about helping others lead more balanced, fertile, and healthy lives - while trying to do the same myself. So here goes... The Blogging Life...