The title of this blog promises reviews of pretty much anything, right? Well. Okay then.
For years, I’ve suffered from severe seasonal allergies. Actually, I’m not sure severe is a strong enough term, but I don’t want to be overly graphic in a family blog. Enough to say that it had been years since I’d been able to enjoy spring or fall.
As my wife will tell you, I always called them the killing seasons. She even had to take me to the emergency room a time or two when my symptoms got so bad that I literally couldn’t breathe. I once joked with my pal Bill Shaouy that I could never be the Braves stadium announcer, because I’d always start the season on the disabled list. Frankly, they made my life utterly miserable for at least four months of the year.
Needless to say, I tried just about every remedy available, both prescription and over the counter. I literally exhausted every option my doctor had to offer. Nothing worked. Nothing.
Finally, one of my wife’s friends (thank you, Mary Frances Jones!) told me that she used to have the same problem. Now, she swears by … acupuncture. Seriously. Acupuncture. I was desperate enough to try anything, despite my general distaste for anything involving needles.
I made an appointment with Laura Greiner at Intown Acupuncture, located just a mile and a half or so from my home. First, I have say that the experience met none of my preconceived expectations. The practitioners were not male or Asian, they didn’t wear long red silken robes decorated with Chinese symbols and characters, and they didn’t have those little pointy gray beards. The needles were not long and gold, nor were they tapped in with a little hammer. Apparently, Hollywood has misguided me.
Laura Greiner is professional, kind, and skilled, and happy to educate. As near as I can tell, the other practitioners there are as well.
The needles are small, and barely break the skin. But … it works. Now, I’d been warned that I wouldn’t see results after the first or second treatment. It would take three or four. That turned out to be true. Since that fourth treatment, I haven’t needed allergy medication. Seriously. Not a single tablet or Albuterol shot. I still have a symptom or two, but not enough to make me lose my voice, hack up a lung, or (best of all) miss a wink of sleep. I doubt I would have exhausted even one of those little pocket packages of tissue.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being no result at all and 10 being stones to bread, Red Sea parting, and pillars of fire in the desert, I’d put it at around an 8. Given that my insurance covers it, I might even push it up to a 9. I now go eight times a year for “refresher” treatments—four times in the spring and four in the fall.
It’s good for more than allergies, though. I have friends who swear by it for everything from fertility to back pain. I can attest to the energy/mood boost and the overall feeling of well-being. Not too long ago, my dad suffered what appeared to be a very minor stroke. Since then, he’s suffered occasional fainting spells, difficulty walking or getting in and out of chairs, and a host of other, similar symptoms. After batteries of test from a small army of specialists, he wasn’t closer to learning what was wrong … or how to treat it.
So I made him an appointment with Laura Greiner, and (another “9” miracle) managed to talk him into going. Unlike me, his results were immediate and dramatic. He’s been twice now (two consecutive Fridays) and is planning to go at least twice more. If he continues to improve as much as he did after the first two treatments, they may have to lock the doors to keep him away.
To be honest, I have no idea how or why acupuncture works, and I certainly don’t advocate it as a substitute for traditional medicine. I don’t know anyone who does. But if you have lingering issues that more familiar remedies haven’t soothed, give them a call. Or get a recommendation for a licensed acupuncturist near you (I wouldn’t go to one without a recommendation — any more than I would choose a doctor without a recommendation) and ask. Who knows? You might be surprised.