Day 2 of my 39-day self-care challenge
One of my (many) birthday gifts to myself this year was to have a session with acupuncturist, Nada Ashkar. Nada’s office is next-door to mine, and I booked an appointment for rebalancing my system, easing tension in my jaw, and cosmetic acupuncture... I mean, I did just turn 39! And while I plan to age gracefully and continue to believe I am getting hotter more beautiful, and more fabulous with time… Well sometimes a girl just needs a little support.
This story is for those of you who are curious but freaked out about acupuncture because, well, NEEDLES.
The first time I ever went to acupuncture was in 2013. My friend, Meg, invited me because I was having major TMJ issues. My dentist had identified degradation in both sides of my jaw joints and it had gotten to the extreme that, halfway through a meal, I had to stop eating because of the pain. I often went hungry! I wore a mouth guard at night to prevent the clenching from damaging my jaws further, but as my teeth pressed against the guard, they started to reposition themselves from the pressure… So then my bite didn’t match up. Honestly it was hell.
Anyione with jaw pain, teeth grinding, or TMJ of any sort, I feel you. It is painful, debilitating, it kills your confidence, and is very upsetting. I felt like I couldn’t eat, or laugh or yawn in comfort. And let’s all not pretend it doesn’t have ramifications for one’s oral-sex life! (Haha, sorry mom, if you’re reading this!!)
ANYWAYYYYYYYY so Meg said “come to acupuncture with me” and I went. I went without thinking, but as soon as I arrived, I suddenly was like “Wait a second. Acupuncture is where they put needles in you… WTF am I doing here?!”
We had gone to Roncesvalles Community Acupuncture (it’s cheap because they do multiple people at the same time, in the same room - seriously less awkward than it sounds). The person on that day was Dr. Chris Pickrell. Despite my fear, curiosity got the best of me and I laid down on one of 8 massage tables in a dimly lit, quiet room. Chris came over and we whispered back and forth - what is wrong, ok this is what I’m going to do, etc. - until he was ready to get started.
I took a few deep breaths because I was nervous about the needles… but I barely felt them going in! Sometimes I’d feel a sort of PING but it was inside my body - not on the surface where the pin touched my skin. It was weird, but not painful. He told me to relax then and left me there to work on the other people waiting…. I fell fast asleep.
I woke up when the needles were being removed. I felt heavily relaxed.
TBH I felt like I had smoked a big fat joint and taken a nap, and was just waking up ready to put on some Neil Young and clean the house (old go-to when getting high in my 20s!). I felt awesome.
As Meg finished her session, we walked out the door, and her first question was “How’s your jaw?”
“Oh. Uh, I don’t know,” I said hesitantly. I was SO nervous that if I opened it to check it would pop in and put the way it did sometimes. Gingerly, I opened my mouth. Then wider, wider. I yawned in comfort for the first time in months. My ears popped. My head felt so clear.
I couldn’t believe it. Freedom, finally.
Ever since then, acupuncture has been a major part of my self-care. I’ve tried a few different practitioners, and places. People have different styles and areas of expertise. I love Tehseen and Chris at Roncesvalles Community Acupuncture, and several people I know (including my sister) love Susanda, at Six Degrees (I have never been able to time my appointments to see her). But most of all I love Nada.
I tried out Nada’s services because we are neighbours, but instantly I knew she was so much more than meets the eye. She is a healer physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (as all healers should be in my opinion). She takes the time to talk before our appointments. She does all the TCM things, like looks at my tongue and takes my pulse. She also advises my nutrition, which I find helpful because it aligns with my the Ayurvedic diet advice I take from my sister, and apparently I can always do with a reminder!
Once I went in after a bad emotional experience, and she brilliantly guided my body to expel what had stuck with me. It was intense and exactly what I needed. I put my health in her very capable hands. Would Recommend!!
Resources Toronto Acupuncture:
Acupuncturist, Nada Ashkar