Pins & needles

I’m getting to the point of complete desperation and I am willing to try whatever legal methods I can to speed along my recovery.


Luckily I purchased a living social deal a couple months ago for acupuncture that included a consult and two sessions. It was a steal. It was for a community acupuncture place and in case you don’t know how that differs from a regular acupuncture place I’ll tell you:

Community acupuncture is a movement started by POCA (People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture) that aims to make acupuncture treatments for financially accessible to people. Treatments are offered on a non-income based sliding scale…typically anywhere from $20 or $40 depending on what works for you and $40 is still MUCH less expensive than what I’ve paid anywhere else. The catch is that you are treated in a room with other people. This sounded fine to me; I’ve already gotten poked with needles in a room with other people at tattoo studios and blood drives. This would be way more relaxing and therapeutic than that, plus my problem areas are my leg and foot so no removal of clothing would be required.

I picked a B-free morning when I could go get my consultation and have my first appointment. When I arrived at Acupuncture for All – a clean, pleasant establishment just outside of Baltimore – I was the only one there. The acupuncturist came out of the back and my jaw almost hit the floor. I KNEW HIM! He is a good friend of someone that I used to date and I hadn’t seen him for like 7 years. The consultation was a little bit talking about my problems and then a little bit catching up and showing off pictures of Betty. Talk about a small world.

Anyway we started the session and that brings me to another really cool point about community acupuncture: in a non-community appointment you are in a room for a set amount of time before the acupuncturist comes back to take the needles out (my appointments were always in the 20 minute range). Here, I could hang out for much longer. And I did. I had needles placed in my hands, forearms, feet, calves, and earlobes and then was left to just zone out. I must have fallen asleep for awhile because the next time I looked at the clock it was an hour and a half later, I was totally confused as to where I was, and three more people were in the room with me.

All my give-a-damns were busted. Someone could have told me my house was on fire and I probably would have been like


Okay maybe they weren’t THAT busted, but I was SO relaxed. It was awesome.

Going for that one treatment did seem to help somewhat. My leg and big toe feel better. The remaining problem right now is with my second toe which is currently KT-taped to my third toe. I’m so over this. My body and my mind both want to run so badly and this one stupid toe is not cooperating. I hate it and I’m starting to think about having the damn thing cut off.

Hahahaha yeeeeah I’m not entirely kidding.

I have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow and fingers crossed for a more pleasant solution that will hopefully work fast because I’m supposed to run a 12 miler in a little over 2 weeks. Obviously there is no way I’ll be racing that, but I want to finish and get the medal. It’s the last installment in the B3 race series that I have been so excited about all year. (I ran the 5K in March and the 10K in April.)


Have you ever been to acupuncture? What did you think of it? Did it help you?
(This was not my first go-around with acupuncture. It has helped me in the past with several other conditions! I LOVE it and highly recommend it!)




83 thoughts on “Pins & needles

  1. alsoranagain says:

    I’m glad to hear the acupuncture is helping your foot and my fingers are crossed you’ll be able to run that 12K. I haven’t tried acupuncture but I hear good things from friends and clients. I’m sure I will try it at some point!

  2. Lauren says:

    I’ve been really intrigued by acupuncture. Not sure how I feel about the needles. I’ve got really tight muscles and back pain so it might help with that!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Honestly, you don’t feel them. The needles are SO thin. And especially if you would be getting your back done, you wouldn’t even see them placing the needles so I think you’d be all good. 🙂

  3. SuzLyfe says:

    I have always wanted to try acupuncture. We used it on the horses along with massage therapy! It helped them tremendously. The whole affording it and finding a time to go makes it a bit difficult though.

    • runsaltrun says:

      The affordability factor was always an issue for me as well which is why I’m so glad I found this great community place. I could go all the time now!

      Funny you mention your horses. My friend that works at AFA said that the other acupuncturist there specializes in pet acupuncture. He also told me about horses, but that it is totally different needles, etc. (Because the teensy needles they use on me would never do anything for a horse I’m sure.)

  4. DarlinRae says:

    Never tried acupuncture, but I know a lot of people who have and have been really happy with the results. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not recovering as quickly as you’d like. That sucks. A lot. Sending lots of hugs and good vibes your way!

  5. Harold L. Shaw says:

    I pass out when needles start entering my body!!! So acupuncture is not really an option for me 😉 oh well just the way it is. It works for some people I know and for others it doesn’t, so I would be on the fence about it any way.

    However, I understand completely about the not running thing. Hopefully you get great news at your Dr. appt and can run that 12 miler to complete the series. I am trying to get healthy enough to get through a couple of local trail series, but Karma seems to be conspiring against me ;-).

    Good luck and I look forward to hearing about your results.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much. I feel like Karma is against me right now too. Hopefully things work out in the best possible way for both of us like right NOW. 🙂

      PS. The needles don’t hurt! I promise!! 🙂

      • Harold L. Shaw says:

        It isn’t the pain (I’m an oft injured runner and still running), it is just the needle and knowing it is going to enter my body – from things that happened in the past – it automatically puts me into shock 😉 sucks but hey it is what happens hehehehe I can laugh about it until the needles come out. 😉

    • txa1265 says:

      I’m sorry to confess that I had a chuckle at your expense about this just now … 🙂 However, the Karma thing and your personal ‘series of unfortunate events’ I find frustrating on your behalf …

      • Harold L. Shaw says:

        Mike you know that I have broad shoulders and it doesn’t bother me when others laugh/chuckle at me. I laugh at myself after I wake up and start talking to the nurses who are trying to draw blood. Damn vampires ;-). I am going to be fine and have fun running in the future there is no doubt about it.

  6. samantha couch says:

    just cut off the toe! who needs that pesky thing anyway? 😉 i kid, i kid. i’m so happy the acu gave you some relief – i know you’ll be in great shape for the 12miler.

  7. afastpacedlife says:

    I hate needles in me, so I can’t do accupuncture. My mother tried, but I was such a wuss that the needles barely went in and I was a freaked out mess. After a few (expensive) sessions, we stopped. My mom swears by them. I just can’t handle it.

    I’m glad it works for you. I have 0 pain tolerance.

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yeah definitely don’t do it if it needles stress you out! Personally I can’t even feel them going in (except for sometimes the ones on my hands), but I also have a very high pain threshold.

  8. txa1265 says:

    For whatever weird reason I have never had an interest in massage or acupuncture or whatever … no concern about needles or anything, and love hearing about how well it works for people! Great find for you!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Me too! If you ever have an opportunity to check out a community place, I think you should. It is so much more affordable that way and frankly I liked the office better than my regular acupuncturist!

  9. Hailey @ Striding Strong says:

    I’ve never tried acupuncture before, but I’ve heard that for some people it works wonders! So great that you were able to find something was was affordable and how fun that you knew the person doing it! I really hope your foot feels better soon! It sounds similar to what I had…my stupid second toe! After what seemed like forever one day it just quit hurting altogether. It still has its random hurting moments on random days…but those get fewer and far between. It was seriously the most frustrating injury ever… I think foot injuries are just like that. My doctor said it was either something to do with the joint capsule, the ligament, or just really really bad tendonitis…so much for a real answer huh? 🙂 I know its super frustrating, but it will eventually get better! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      You know I was reading around on WebMD last night which I generally try to not ever do, but what it sounds like I have is capsulitis. I’m really curious to see what they say about that tomorrow. I think I just had about 10 different issues and some are resolved and now this is the last one. I cannot WAIT for it to get better!! 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      SO frustrating! Ugh I know you are right there with me right now. My friend said it can help with PF too if that’s what it turns out you are dealing with so it’s always an option!

    • runsaltrun says:

      It really doesn’t hurt! The only ones that are maybe slightly uncomfortable when they first put them in are ones that go in between my fingers. The needles are like hair-thin and once they are in you don’t feel them at all!

  10. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    I’ve been to regular acupuncture a couple times, and I thought it helped a little. I had a bit of a different experience though- I’m not scared of needles or anything but I found it really hard to relax. I kept thinking about how much time had passed and I couldn’t see a clock so it freaked me out a bit. I really hope that it helps you! Those prices sounds MUCH more reasonable that a regular acupuncture place!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yeah they are super cheap by comparison! I don’t know what it is about acupuncture but it’s like I have those needles in for 5 minutes and I pass right out. It’s pretty cool. I hope it helps too!

  11. Amy says:

    I know you were kidding about cutting your toe off, but it reminds me of something I saw in a documentary. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was about ultra running, and the one guy they interviewed had had all his toe nails surgically removed because they kept getting all messed up and falling off and hurting him. Crazy, right? Or genius, I don’t know, I don’t run ultras.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I guess if I were in his position I would do that. And then I would just paint my toe to look like I had toenails in the summertime so that my nail-less toes didn’t freak out everyone at the pool.

  12. chasingchels says:

    Fingers crossed for the doctor tomorrow!! I hope you get good news! I’ve never been to an acupuncturist (and I won’t lie…the thought of needles randomly poking out me does freak me out), but I’ve heard really good things about it, so I’d be game to give it a try sometime! Maybe it would help me sleep better at night….although with Joe being gone, being in the midst of marathon training and planning a wedding, and trying to keep up with the boys I watch each day while trying to have a small social life now then, I wouldn’t count on it 😛

    • runsaltrun says:

      I bet it would totally help your sleep! The needles are so tiny you don’t even feel them. 🙂 I think it’s worth giving it a shot! If anything it’s a really relaxing experience (at least for me) and you have so much going on that it might give you a little extra relaxation!

  13. RunCrush says:

    Hmmm I’ve never done it before! Needles have always seemed a little intimidating to me, and the sticker price hasn’t been super appealing either. Maybe if I find a deal, I’ll give it a shot, but it’s not necessarily on my “must-try” list. Glad it’s been at least semi-working for you!

  14. irishrunnerchick says:

    I hope you get good news from your doctor tomorrow! Thinking positive thoughts for you! And I totally get the desperation to try anything to get better. Being injured is really frustrating especially when you have races coming up. I hope the acupuncture helps out.

  15. Rebecca Jo says:

    I have a friend who moved to go to school for it, when he comes home, he will do it on my dad who just recently had hip replacement. But before, acupuncture was the only thing that gave him relief. I truly believe in it. I’ve always wanted to do it myself but there is no one close to me that does it.

  16. themilereport says:

    I had electroacupuncture on my butt last fall when I had the really tight butt muscle injury–Thank God I didn’t know him!! lol
    It kind of freaked me’re so adventurous for getting those needles everywhere

    • runsaltrun says:

      Hahahaha yeaaah that would have been seriously awkward! Luckily I think the community place is not somewhere you’d go if you had to take off your pants. 🙂

  17. candies & crunches says:

    I have never been to acupancture before. I’m a little scared of needles, but I’m still pretty open to trying it out one day. I am so happy it made you feel about better. Also I am happy it wasn’t a bad break up and it seems like the guy’s friend didn’t hold any grudges against you; otherwise, I’d be scared LOL! Please, get better soon, love!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh it wasn’t a great breakup at all, but we were together for a long time and this guy was one of my favorite friends of my ex. Plus it was so long ago. But yeah…good thing he doesn’t hate me haha.

  18. bluecoyotelifecoaching says:

    Acupuncture is amazing! It really has been the best treatment for migraine headaches I’ve ever tried. Both the severity and frequency of the headaches were cut way back once I worked acupuncture into my routine.

  19. littlegreenrunningshoes says:

    Acupunture scares me! I’m not a huge fan of needles but I have heard that it does great things for those who use it. I think I would need a coaching session before I ever tried it just so I know everything that happens before it does. Glad it worked for you and talk about a small world!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thanks and yes it was so weird! I’m not afraid of needles, but I’m even less freaked out by acupuncture needles. They are so super thin that you don’t feel them at all. I think the best approach is to just not look when they are putting them in. 🙂

  20. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I had acupuncture once years and years ago. I almost passed out. Funny because needles don’t bother me when I’m sticking other people as a nurse, but in me? Forget about it!

  21. KelsieLou says:

    Oh Wow. I never thought of acupuncture as a method of recovery. DUH!

    Thanks for sharing. I’m going to check and see if we have a community place like that in Louisville.

    Hope your toesie wosies get better!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thanks, lady! I hope you can find a place! I had never heard of it before getting the Living Social deal, but it is such a great option. I would have gone anyway, but I loved not having to pay an arm and a leg for the treatment.

  22. piratebobcat says:

    I have not gone, but I really want to. Ha, one question though – who were the people in your room when you woke up? Strangers? Acupuncturists? Gawkers? I hope your private bits were at least covered. Haha!
    Keep listening to your body and let it get the rest it needs!

  23. Run Pilou Run! says:

    Acupuncture helped me loads with shin splints and Achilles issues. Even though it can hurt a bit it really does feel like a little bit of pressure is released when the needle is removed.
    With regards to your toe issue (and sorry if I missed it in another of your posts), but have you had an MRI done? I know you trust your guy, just like I trust my lady (I’m talking about osteos, physios, etc. here), but it wasn’t until I had an MRI done that the actual cause of all the pain and discomfort was discovered. Just a suggestion of course, and I know they’re not cheap as I had to pay for mine out of pocket!
    I hope you feel better real soon!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I haven’t had an MRI yet, but I have an appointment for today and I’m going to ask about it if he doesn’t have any other answers. I’m so glad acupuncture has worked for you in the past too!

  24. Meghan says:

    YES! I truly believe in acupuncture! I went for stomach issues, and it is exactly what did the trick – no medicine or GI doctor was able to help. I hope this works out for you. I’m currently laying off the running myself due to an angry hip, so I completely understand your frustration!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I LOVE that! I’m just constantly so amazed by how effective it is for so many different conditions. Thank you so much, friend. I hope it works too and I hope you feel much better quickly!

  25. Judith / soveryslightlymad says:

    I’m super curious about acupuncture but I do worry about the cleanliness of the places. Not that I’ve been in one to have concerns.

    I feel your frustration. I’m not 100 percent yet and every run I fear going backwards in rehabbing my hip. It doesn’t make for relaxing training. 😦

    • runsaltrun says:

      I think that is a totally legit concern. If you end up ever trying it definitely read reviews of the place or go somewhere that you know is accredited or has been recommended to you.

      I hope you keep getting better and better. I had a decent run yesterday and I really NEEDED to run yesterday for my own sanity, but I thought about that the entire time. Definitely not relaxing.

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