We’ve reached week 7 of the 52 New Things. This is the first week in which I didn’t have something pre-planned. Whether it was through perusing the local paper, or having a friend call and ask “Hey, want to go try Krav Maga?” the first 6 weeks just sorted themselves out. Realizing I finally had to resort to “the list” (which has now grown to 85 items), I started to worry a little. The thought of having to plan something 42 more times was a little overwhelming. But I sucked it up, closed my eyes, and picked something at random. Not really . . . I just went with the first thing on the list: Acupuncture & Fire Cupping.


Acupuncture is an ancient form of alternative medicine that uses the insertion of needles in key points of the body to influence the flow of qi (pronounced chee). You may already know that, but I felt a need to explain after this conversation:

Me: What do you think acupuncture is?
Friend: Seriously thought an Asian woman stood on your back and jumped and stuff.

I went to Angie’s Acupuncture in Seymour, TN. For my first session, she focused on points that would aid in relaxation and help with my life-long insomnia. She explained how the process would work, showed me the needles she would use, and told me what to expect when she inserted the needles. I laid down on the table and she began.

HeadNeedlesShe started by putting needles into the top of my head. Five needles to be exact. It was so painless that after she stuck the first one in I asked, “was that it!?” I could barely feel it. In fact, I could barely feel most of the needles. There were 16 in total, 5 in the top of my head, one in my forehead, and 2 in my ears, stomach, hands, knees, and feet. For most of them I couldn’t feel a thing when they were inserted. However, the needles in my feet did feel like little bee stings, but any pain was only momentary. While I had the needles in my hands I did feel some pressure and decreased mobility (inability to grasp my phone) but I did, after all, have needles sticking out of them.

She said the purpose of the locations of the needles was to circulate my qi and open the “four gates.” Apparently, these points are used to spread energy throughout your body. When she placed the first needle in the top of my scalp I felt an immediate calming. Perhaps it was all in my head–no pun intended–but she said that location is considered a “happiness point.”  After she inserted the needles she covered me with a blanket and left me to relax. That’s actually a good example of just how gentle the needles are–placing a blanket on top of them was barely noticeable.

Fire Cupping

Next, we moved on to fire cupping. Cupping uses heat and suction to circulate blood and relax muscles. Essentially, a cotton ball is lit on fire and momentarily placed within a cupping glass. This burns the oxygen and creates a vacuum inside the glass. The glass is then placed on the body, sucking the skin into the cup. She used 4-5 cups on my back and moved them around working on my tense muscles and working out the knots. They weren’t hot like I expected, but if felt a little bit like I had an octopus hanging out on my back. I was skeptical at first, but I could feel a definite difference after she was done.

It was a very interesting experience, and one I will probably repeat. I actually found it more relaxing and calming than most massages I’ve had. When I got home from my session (and having lunch with a friend) I promptly passed out for approximately 4 hours. So who knows, maybe there is something to it.