My experience with acupuncture

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? Hope you’re enjoying the day so far!

Last night, the Pilot went out to dinner with some friends, so that meant OB Noodle House takeout for the girls. 

We shared some chicken pho and veggie spring rolls. It was perfect.

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This morning’s breakfast was super simple:


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(two eggs with pico + the new Trader Joe’s gf oat blend with almond milk and chopped peach)

It’s a day to finish catching up on life -I tried to really unplug a bit this past weekendt- acupuncture, Livi’s swim class (the best!) and spin later today. 

Since I’ve been going to acupuncture for a few years now, I’ve had a lot of requests to do a full post on my experience. I wasn’t sure how I’d be able to articulate this one, because acupuncture, like massage, or chiropractic care, doesn’t have guaranteed or tangible results. You really know if it’s working for you by how you feel. Acupuncture works extremely well for some people, and doesn’t work at all for others. I didn’t want to guys to think I’m trying to “convince the naysayers” or anything like that, but rather share why I think it’s been helpful since I’ve had so many emails and comments about it.

So what is it exactly?

My nutshell version: a nap with tiny needles placed in your skin. 😉


An explanation from this site, which has a lot of interesting info about acupuncture:

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the patient’s skin at specific points on the body – the needles are inserted to various depths. The medical community is not in conclusive agreement about how acupuncture works scientifically. However, we do know that it does have some therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and alleviation from nausea caused by chemotherapy.
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture points are located on meridians through which gi vital energy runs. There is no histological, anatomical or scientific proof that these meridians or acupuncture points exist. Acupuncture remains controversial among Western medical doctors and scientists.

Acupuncture is controversial because the results are subjective, and it can be challenging to study and separate control groups. This study indicates that acupuncture may efficiently treat a variety of diseases and provide therapeutic effects. 

My thoughts: talk to your doc before trying it, and if you try it and it works for you, rock on with your bad self. 🙂

It’s something I think has really helped me, particularly with the following:

-Relaxation/stress relief. Acupuncture is like a guaranteed nap. Also, when the acupuncturist inserts the needles, I can instantly feel the energy moving throughout my body. You know that feeling following your savasana after an awesome yoga practice? To me, that’s exactly what it feels like. Even when I don’t sleep, I leave the sessions feeling more calm and alert, like I just had a restorative nap.

-Fertility. I started acupuncture treatment while we were trying to conceive Liv, and while there’s no way to prove that it helps -I did a lot of different things over that course of time- I think it was a mix of everything we tried, including treatment with my naturopath. 

-Wound healing. When I cut the nerve in my thumb, I was worried I wouldn’t have feeling in it ever again. I immediately started seeing an acupuncturist to promote healing in my hand, and while my hand isn’t 100% -my thumb could likely be numb for a long time as nerves grow slowly- it has remarkably improved. I also saw an occupational therapist, who was WONDERFUL and helped decrease some of the pain and sensitivity. 

-Allergies. I have seasonal allergies, and this year, they are the worst they’ve ever been. I sneeze violently all day and have been pretty miserable. Last time I went to acupuncture, I didn’t sneeze for a few days, which was huge!! I’m back to my sneezy ways, but it’s not as bad as it was. Even the Pilot noticed, because I wasn’t waking him up in the night with sneezing fits.

I’ve heard of so many awesome situations and concerns that have been possibly alleviated with acupuncture. Even my madre, who was once kind of skeptical, now goes every week and has noticed changes with some of the health obstacles she’s experienced. 

Charlotte gets acupuncture


I think about Charlotte every time I’m there haha. 

Some of the things I’ve noticed about finding a good acupuncturist:

-Ask for a recommendation. All of the acupuncturists I’ve visited have been referred to me by a friend or medical provider. A blog friend recommended my first acupuncturist here, and my chiropractor recommended the one I’m currently seeing. They have both been amazing.

-Check out their credentials. <— important. I always like to see where they received their training, how long they’ve been practicing, any patient reviews, and that they’re licensed. 

-Of course, do your research and talk to your doctor if it’s something you’ve been considering. It’s up to us to become advocates for our health, research, ask questions, and make the choices that best suit our unique needs.

-See if a community treatment option is available. This is my favorite way to be treated, as I like the group atmosphere -you relax in a comfy chair and they usual have low lights with tranquil music- and it’s far less expensive. Tucson Community Acupuncture has a sliding scale, so you pay what you can afford. 

Does it hurt?

Not for the most part, which was surprising to me. I hate all things medical and needles, and I was shocked that the first time I went, it was absolutely fine. I like I just really love any opportunity to relax and snooze for a bit. 😉 There is one point (Stomach 36) that is always painful for me, so I just ask the practitioner to skip that point. 

Have you tried acupuncture, or do you think it’s something you would try?

Hope you have a wonderful morning!



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  1. Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood on August 12, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I love the idea of acupuncture, but the whole needles thing totally freaks me out. Though I have HORRIBLE seasonal allergies so maybe I should look into it!

    • Kelley on August 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      I found something at whole foods that has worked wonders for my allergies! Bioallers outdoor allergy tablets, I started using them a few years ago and noticed every year my allergies were much better, this year was the first time I didn’t need to take anything, my symptoms were so mild I wasn’t sure if it was allergies or just a few low energy days.

      • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm

        wow, that’s great to know! i will look out for them for next year

  2. Stephanie on August 12, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Gina, thank you so much for writing this post. Acupuncture totally transformed my life a few years ago and I still go sporadically. I have actually never done a private session and love the community clinics best. They also tend to have better pricing for those who can’t use insurance! I hope other people give acupuncture a chance because it really is amazing.

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      totally agree about the community aspect. our insurance hasn’t covered it, either, so it makes it much more affordable. so happy to hear you love it too!

  3. Erin on August 12, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I’ve been going to acupuncture for about 6 months and it has been absolutely incredible! I went for GI issues and bad acne. My GI issues have subsided and my acne continues to get better in just a few shorts months. My acupuncturist did say that my healthy lifestyle and age (25) help to expedite the healing. If you are considering it I would highly recommend looking for a good acupuncturist. I had honestly given up on western medicine for these specific issues and this was truly amazed at the results. Good luck to all those considering it!

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      so happy to hear that it’s been helpful for you, too!

  4. Bonnie on August 12, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I enjoyed reading about your acupuncture experiences. It truly is amazing how those tiny needles can tap into and shift the energy flow to promote healing. I’ve also had many positive acupuncture sessions. You mentioned that the stomach 36 point is painful. It could be that way because that is exactly where the stagnant energy is.

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      yes, it always amazes me! and you’re totally right. whenever i tell them i hate that point, they say “it’s probably because you need it the most”
      maybe i’ll be brave and let him do it next time

  5. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on August 12, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I despise needles, yet acupuncture needles have never bothered me. I will say though when I broke my leg in the car accident last month, my naturopath started acupuncture on me right away. Those needles did hurt because there was so much swelling and pain. After the first treatment, I have no pain in my leg. I’m still getting treatments until I’m fully healed to improve blood flow to the injury and promote healing. My last treatment I actually meditated very deep. It was quite the voodoo experience.

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      it’s pretty incredible when that happens. i think about you all the time and am sending you healing wishes <3

  6. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine on August 12, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I’ve always wanted to try it out!

  7. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on August 12, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I have always wanted to try acupuncture! I really need to give it a go!

  8. Jill on August 12, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Wow, this is so timely! I just scheduled my first acupuncture treatment for tomorrow. I’m going specifically for fertility – we’ve been trying for 2.5 years with one miscarriage. I’m hesitant to start full medical infertility treatments (plus, they aren’t covered by our insurance), so I’m starting with acupuncture. Thanks for posting. This is so reassuring and calming for me.

    • katie on August 12, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      best of luck to you 🙂 my experience with acu for fertility was amazing. I had 3 miscarriages, 3 rounds of iui, clomid… all kinds of injectable nastiness. I couldn’t take it anymore. I completely stopped the western and went eastern. Lo and behold, I conceived my beautiful son on my second acu cycle. I had weekly appointments, and a few anxiety house-calls in between 😉 The key is to find someone you really like. If anyone needs a recommendation in berkeley, ca – I know the best in the biz.

      • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        that is amazing!! i love hearing stories like this. it’s very similar to what happened to my cousin. she had multiple miscarriages, a couple of rounds of failed IVF, clomid, and a serious case of PCOS. she told me acupuncture was how she finally conceived!

      • Jill on August 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

        This is an amazing story – thanks for sharing. It’s these kinds of stories that help me keep my faith and hope!

    • Laura on August 12, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      I am interested in how you found someone you were comfortable with. I have been looking online specifically for fertility related acupuncture and it seems they all want to charge for an initial visit. Did you go in and meet them first or will this be your first time visiting? We went through multiple rounds of iui to get pregnant with our first child and we are not not hyped to go through it all again.

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      sending lots of good wishes to you. i really hope you love it and that it helps! <3

  9. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on August 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Gina! Ahhhh yes, information on acupuncture. It has been on my to-do list for years, yet I’ve never gone through with it. I’d love to see how it feels and see what it does for my body and mind. I LOVE that post-Savasana energetic feeling, so recreating that would be reason enough to try. Thank you for the tips on how to go about getting started! 🙂

  10. Karen on August 12, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Timely, indeed, Jill! I just got poked yesterday! I suffer from seasonal allergies as well and visit my friendly neighbourhood acupuncturist once a year. I had delay my regular spring treatment this year because I was going to physiotherapy, and then have been procrastinating, when it popped in my head one day during a meeting (squirrel!!), and I finally booked an appointment.
    I totally agree that it is a nap with tiny needles, and I too always think of the Charlotte scene while I’m lying there (and before I’m able to relax).

    Btw, this is my first time visiting your site, and I’m promptly adding you to my favourites!! (I was looking up recipes for homemade sports drinks.)

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      haha i’m glad i’m not the only one! the squirrel reference made me laugh, too, because that’s my life 😉
      welcome to the blog! thank you so much for checking it out and excited to see you around more often

  11. Amanda on August 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I would love to try acupunture- is it usually expensive?

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      it depends where you are and what type of treatment you get. apparently licensing in california is $$$$$ so it tends to be really expensive out here unless you’re in a community setting. community is the way to go if you have a great spot near you. in tucson, i paid $25 a visit, here i pay $35 a visit (my other guy was $90 a visit. ouch!)

  12. Jackie on August 12, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Wow, I’m surprised you’re a fan of acupuncture after claiming your hatred of needles. Has going to an acupuncturist helped your needle phobia in medical settings?

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      not in the least haha. i do what i have to do -like all of the blood draws for pregnancy, etc- but internally, i freak out every time. even before acupuncture, i get nervous each time. my hands were sweating like crazy today

  13. Erika on August 12, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I’m 38 wks pregnant and actually tried acupuncture for the first time a couple of months ago for some really uncomfortable mid to upper back pain I was having. After my second session, I noticed a huge improvement in my discomfort and it has only continued to get better. It actually also helped with some reflux I was having. As a physician, I appreciate what complementary and alternative medicine can do in augmenting what western medicine can provide patients.

  14. Freyja on August 12, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Wow I’m really interested that your went into a deep mediation with acupuncture Megan, maybe acupuncture not only help heal the nerve channels but somehow kick starts the brain into healing that area? There have been some fascinating studies on how acupuncture can help a smooth birth in the last trimester…
    I’m lucky enough to have never needed acupuncture but I’m sure it will be an option for muscle relaxation in the future 🙂 Thanks for sharing your honest opinion Gina 🙂

  15. Jonna Green on August 12, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Gina, I wanted to let you know that I made your best pasta salad the other day and it was amazing!!!! The only changes I made were that I didn’t add the basil/pesto (because I didn’t have) and I added in kalamata olives and a can of chickpeas. I will be making it again for sure. I loved the brown rice pasta (I got all of the ingredients at Trader Joes), but I was thinking it would also be great with quinoa. Also, I have had acupuncture for medical reasons (and needles make me nervous), but I loved it and feel it helped tremendously!

    • Fitnessista on August 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      yay, i’m so happy you loved it!!!

  16. Kelly on August 12, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    I think I’ve commented on this topic before, but seriously THANK YOU for giving some love to occupational therapists!! It’s great to see someone like you with a large readership promoting our great profession! Happy healing 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 13, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      it seriously changed my world! nothing was helping until i saw her. xoxo

  17. Janet on August 13, 2015 at 1:57 am

    I love acupuncture! I started going to treat my plantar fasciitis and now I go monthly for a “tuneup”. I agree with you – I come out feeling so rested and relaxed.

  18. on August 13, 2015 at 3:29 am

    I have always been curious about acupuncture! Thanks for the info!

  19. Chicago Jogger on August 13, 2015 at 4:22 am

    This is SO timely because I had my third acupuncture appointment earlier this evening. I actually fell asleep this time too 🙂 I love reading the comments of others who have tried it!

  20. Cassie on August 13, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I doubt I’d try acupuncture, but mostly just because of the cost. Right now, we don’t have a lot of options since my husband is starting a new business and I just quit my job to stay home with our little one on the way. I’d sign up for a yoga class, mommy and me class, or even a massage before shelling out for acupuncture. But if someone offered me a free class, I might try it.

  21. Liz on August 13, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for doing a post on this! I really believe in the power of alternative therapies to heal/help us! I haven’t got up the guts to try acupuncture yet but if I get a good reason I will definitely consider it. It’s just finding a good place that knows what they are doing that concerns me most!

    • Fitnessista on August 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      totally. that’s why i think it’s great to get a recommendation from someone you know and trust!

  22. Samantha on August 14, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Acupuncture was kind of a life changer for me once I decided to do it. It is weird because some sessions are more “maintenance” some really release things and some I will feel actually crappier for the day and then super release. Regardless, I consider it an important part of my health.

    What really did actually solidify acupuncture benefits for me was taking 2 dogs through it now. One for aging related degeneration and one for an injury. I have had sessions with dogs in which the improvement is dramatic a few hours after the session. The thing is, dogs really aren’t all that suggestible, so to see them experience relief like that after a session is always amazing to see.

    I do really agree you need to research though. There is an intuitive element + all the training and knowledge that really leads to that one perfect person for you.


  23. Theresa on December 9, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Hi Gina! I hope you are doing well & settling into your routine as a family of 4! I looked up this old post because my friend that lives in La Jolla is looking for an acupuncturist, can you recommend yours? Or one in the San Diego/North County area? Thank you!!

  24. Anisa Witham on November 29, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Hi! Just wondering if I could use you and your story as a reference for a Holistic Health paper that I am writing for my class! I have been interested in receiving acupuncture for the first time as well and reading stories is helpful.

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