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Bring on the Acupuncture!

Last summer I was with a friend going to lunch (she was driving) when we were rear-ended – hard.  The effects on my body were instantaneous – severe neck and back pain radiating to my legs.  The next several months were spent in Dr.’s offices, physical therapy and massage therapy.  I progressed, and progressed, until I stalled. 

At this point, I can function regularly with minimal pain as long as I make my every other week massage therapy session.  Miss one session – disaster – neck, shoulder and low back pain ensue and refuse to go away.  This is completely unacceptable.  I’ve always liked massages once in a while for relaxation and health but I don’t want to HAVE to get one every other week for the rest of my life.  And this is massage therapy, not a relaxing spa massage.

So, I headed to my Dr. to find out what we could do to push past this plateau.  Her suggestion?  Acupuncture.  I know several people who swear by acupuncture so I decided to give it a try.

Before my first visit, I had to fill out five pages of medical history asking for details as specific as what I usually ate.  After the acupuncturist reviewed this novella, she explained to me the different methods she would be using in addition to the traditional needles I was anticipating. 

We started the session with “cupping”; a method that entails pulling the muscles up through glass suction cup type devices.   The muscle release was pretty immediate although not complete.  And as I’m slightly anemic these days it left some lovely round bruises on my upper back – hmmm. 

Next up the needles.  This was fascinating.  For the most part I couldn’t feel the needles entering my body at all.  But once in a while – ping oohtender spots.  Not sure why, and completely random (tender on one hand, not on the other, although in the same place).  In some areas she used an herb called moxa with the needles.  Moxa is warming and apparently helps redistribute energy.  The needles were placed in my neck, upper and lower back, feet and hands while lying on my stomach and between my eyebrows and on my hands, feet and knees when lying on my back.  After all of the needles on a side were inserted, I rested with the needles in place for about 10 minutes, then the needles were removed.  On each shoulder she placed a small magnet strip to continue the treatment for 24-48 hours.  And that was all there was to it.

Result?  I definitely feel better, although I’m still sore.  My next session is on Sunday and then we should be able to go to once a month treatments.  From the people I’ve talked to the treatments build upon each other.  In the meantime?  I need a massage.

Tuesday Treat: Let Us Eat Cake!

Chocolate Cake with Coconut, Pecan Frosting

Chocolate Cake

Saturday night we had friends over for dinner.  I failed to do my usual two-week menu planning and so the meal was kept pretty simple.  

  • Brie and baguette to start served with wine in the living room. 
  • A salad of spinach leaves, dried cranberries, goat cheese, Trader Joe’s spicy and salty pecans (the star of the salad) and Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinaigrette. 
  • A main course of roasted root vegetables (carrots, parsnips and red onions) and pork tenderloin (a Real Simple recipe). 

To step everything up though, I decided to make a cake for dessert.  Chocolate cake with coconut, pecan frosting.  What is it about cake that makes the evening feel so special?  Is it the time and care that goes into the making?  The perceived difficulty?  The rarity these days of a home-made cake?   

The cake and frosting only took about an hour to make plus an hour to bake, so it wasn’t a huge time endeavor.  Jim made the cake look beautiful by taking over the slicing (one large cake sliced into 3 layers) and frosting.  Difficult?  Not as difficult as some other desserts we’ve tackled that have less WOW factor. 

Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

Jim's Handiwork

 Rarity?  Growing up my Mom thought of chocolate cake as the perfect breakfast food “because it has eggs and stuff,” so cakes from a box were pretty normal in our house.  (Although her “slide cakes” were unique as she frosted the cake before it had completely cooled leading to a sliding layer effect).  Now, I only make about 1-2 cakes a year and in my adult life I’ve rarely been served a cake that doesn’t come from a bakery.  So maybe rarity is the secret. 

Or maybe cake just makes us feel special because cakes are tied to birthdays and other celebrations.  I don’t know, but after tasting that home-made cake this weekend, I say “Let us eat cake!”