Acupuncture Addict

In Health and Body, Mental Health on June 12, 2010 at 11:53 am

Dear Yenta,

I’ve been going to acupuncture regularly for about 4 months as a way to improve my general health and boost my immune system. Really though, I got hooked thanks to the hazy, fuzzy kinda high feeling I got right after a treatment. What can I say? It’s a natural high!

The problem is that I’m not really getting high anymore- the buzz has worn off and my body is getting use to the feeling. Since I’m not going for any specific ailment, I can’t decide if that means I should stick with it or move onto the next “natural high” experience (bikram yoga, perhaps?). Have you ever experienced this kind of thing? What do you say?

– Poked and Prodded in New York

Acuptuncture is meant to bring out the you-est part of you. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,


I have experienced this kind of thing, and about ten to one-hundred varieties of this kind of thing. For some people it is normal to get all stoney-like after being treated. Acupuncture, when done well, should align you towards a more whole and balanced version of yourself.  For some, this alignment makes them feel euphoric.

They say that after a treatment you are supposed to feel into that natural high and remember it, because that state is your life goal or an experience of your purest and best self.  One girl I met at a co-op in Boulder would be so happy post-treatment.  It was really important to her not to drink or eat sugar or do anything that would alter that state for at least a day after her treatment, because she wanted to get acquainted with that higher self feeling.

If you are feeling less high but more inclined to continue seeking that high in ways like yoga, etc., I would say the acupuncture is working well.  You don’t want paid treatments to be the only way you achieve that sense of self, you want to be reaching for ways to integrate that high into your daily life.

There is no reason to walk away from treatment, unless financially it is too much.  Because if you can continue to afford it you will only continue to balance and move the body. One acupuncturist told me that he and his friends went daily in China for treatments. Everyone benefits from realignment. Period.

So now that the high has worn off, check in on your lifestyle. Chances are it has changed and maybe you are “higher” all the time, therefore not noticing the difference when stuck with needles. Try to let go of that old reaction that you enjoyed and just be with what comes after each treatment. The “non-high” is as important as the “high” and neither is better or worse, only according to what your mind has told you.

If, however, the treatments leave you feeling low, reassess from scratch. Sometimes too much alignment is too much to handle.  Other ways to balance your system include changing eating habits, changing drinking habits, learning to meditate, exercising more and/or finding a yoga studio nearby.  It is way easier said than done, so also seek a community to support your healthy new existence.  Advance according to your intuition, and according less to pleasure and more to whether you are suffering.

For more information on acupuncture, read:

The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine by Tim Kaptchuk

Between Heaven And Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine by Helen Beinfield and Efrem Korngold


Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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