February 8, 2012

Xiao Yao San

Aaaahhhh! Oh My!  Why yes, indeed!  I had acupuncture yesterday. I’m so ‘balanced’ now that I’m speaking to everyone in a June Cleaver sort of way.  No need to be alarmed….it won’t last that long, but damn it feels good.  Feels good to just really have your chain jerked the other way for a change. The truth is that I could get really addicted to the needles.  No, they don’t hurt.  You really don’t even feel them.  I mean, you feel them a little when they first go in, but it’s not like a shot.  I can tell when she really gets them right smack dab in the right ‘meridian’, if that is the proper term.  It kind of feels like a nerve is pinched for a second. When I get there, she examines my pulse on both wrists, not just checking the rate, but determining whether it feels wiry, weak, rolling, etc.  Then she looks at my tongue, determining if it is pale, red, swollen, coated, has teeth marks, etc., and then even under my tongue, checking for swollen veins and vessels.  She then asks me many questions about my menstrual cycles, my moods, my energy levels, my digestion, etc.  I usually just laugh and say, “Look, I’m one crazy bitch right now…hit me up!”  I always get one at the crown of my head and one in my ‘third eye’…I’m pretty sure those are the bat crazy bitch points.  I lay down with a little Chinese pillow over my eyes, and I listen to lovely Chinese music for about 45 minutes.  She even has beautiful Chinese drapes.  And let me tell you something.  When I get off that table, I have surrendered to the biggest and most profound attitude adjustment of all time.  Every time.  I love her.  Love her.  You know that little phase you experience ever so briefly, when you are just about to fall asleep?  You are not really awake, but not really asleep either.  It usually lasts mere seconds.  I’ve read that you should pay attention to the messages or thoughts you have during this time.  They are important.  Well, for some reason, when I am poked up with needles and I have the little eye pillow and the lovely Chinese music, I can stay in that phase for a really long time.  It’s delicious.  I can wander to the ends of the earth and back, I go wherever I want to go, and I have deep thoughts and even conversations with whomever I desire.  You know, off the table, I’m not really that great at meditating.  I’m a little too….intense??  I just can’t quiet myself for very long.  But there….on the table….something happens.  She always says, “Gosh, you respond so well to acupuncture.”  It’s true. The first thing I usually notice, in the first few seconds, is my breath.  Like when you become conscious of breathing and realize that your awareness causes you to breathe funny or out of sync.  It forces me to breathe deeply and focus on my breath.  Then I begin my prayers.  Dear Jesus, give me refuge in Your Sacred Heart.  I know I am not worthy.  But I need to be there right now.  I focus on the music.  And then my mind just takes off almost in a dream state…but in a way it never does anywhere else.  If I need or desire something, I simply visualize it.  Intensely.  When I am done, it’s like I’ve taken this magic pill…only the healing has come from within.  From my own body. And it lasts for days.  The first adjustment is more extreme…then it becomes more subtle.  I probably won’t be like June Cleaver next time.  It’ll be a little more like…Marge Simpson maybe.  And then after a few times, I won’t be like anybody.  I’ll be just me.  Only the good me.  Not the out-of-whack-hormonal-having-PMS-twice-a-month me.  I usually go once a week for about a month or so.  That’s usually all it takes for a proper jerking of my chain.  I might do that twice a year.  Or extra if I’m injured in some way, like neck or back pain.  As an added bonus, I’m taking some Chinese herbs now too.  I haven’t taken herbs in a while.  Last time I took them I literally wanted to run everywhere, not walk.  I felt so great.  I can’t even look at the bottle or say the name of the pills without giggling about Dave.  I’m on Xiao Yao San right now, and that’s something I took a while back.  Whenever I started getting a little ‘uptight’ he would mock me in a Chinese man voice and tell me “You need Xiao Yao San!!!”  Oddly, today I didn’t talk to Dave on the table.  I didn’t try to catch a glimpse of his Heaven…instead I kept thinking about my friend Shirley.  The one who always begged me to write.  The one who used to bribe me to write letters to her.  The one who said before she died, promise me you’ll write a book.  She was like my second mom when I lived far away from my own.  I used to tell her that and she loved it.  So funny she was.  I miss her so.


  1. Dear Mad Woman,
    I loved your post.
    I was surfing the net, lost in the endless thread of explanations on XIAO YAO as I am a daoist and practice Chinese medicine.
    It is good to let yourself ramble without destination.
    I have always done that physically but since I arrived in the US it has been more difficult since walking is just not that easy. So I wander "beyond", following an invisible net of connections getting rid of all preconceptions about where I should go, who I should be...

    I am glad I read your post which contains the exact perfect wording/description of the state which follows acupuncture.. Your description of the moment before sleep as the perfect meditation is exactly that! Because you are anchored by the needle you can be both here and there...the infinite world of possibilities; open and floating yet not lost.
    I call it "induced meditation".

    Keep well and warm (wear scarves and socks during the winter!),

    Thank you for your writing,

    In health

  2. Dear Mad Woman,
    I Googled Xiao Yao San and cam across this post.
    Thank the heavens.
    I thought I was the only one who responded to acupuncture in this way; none of my friends have been so...touched by it, I guess. But you put into words what I've been feeling and it's rather pleasant to know that a) I'm not entirely bashit insane and b) if I am entirely batshit insane, I'm not the only one.
    Anyway, I can't wait to keep reading more.
    Thank you for this post - and being you.
    Another Mad Woman