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I’m a wimp around needles, but no stranger to acupuncture. I black out when I have blood taken, sure, it’s happened. But put me on an acupuncturist’s table, and my fear, like my stress, all but evaporates. And until you experience it for yourself, you probably won’t believe me. That’s fine.

I have had a few not-quite-helpful visits to the doctor this past year, and while they’re good for an Rx, they usually come up short on everything else. Which is why I decided to get an acupuncturist back into regular rotation. So I made an appointment with Juhi Singh at the Ash Center (headed up by Dr. Richard Ash).

In a word, it was restorative. Sure, I had some niggling, chronic issues here and there that I wanted addressed, but while you may go in with those in mind, you get a much more comprehensive treatment. Juhi, like most practitioners of Oriental Medicine, are going to ask you about your sleep, your diet, your bowel movements, all of that. She’ll want to look at your tongue.

But you may be surprised by what else she asks, such as “Do you have vivid dreams?” The tools of the holistic practitioner probe into different areas of your mind and life, and it makes for an interesting experience for sure.

Juhi happens to teach and practice from an Ayurvedic framework (Ayurveda being the oldest health care system on record, hailing from India and informing pretty much all of Eastern medicine in one way or another). She won’t give you a standard or generic approach to diet. She takes into account who you are as an individual, with your own personality and body type, etc.

When you finally get to the treatment part of the appointment you’re ready–and she has an idea of what you need precisely.

The needles? Pshaw. They’re hair-thin–literally the diameter of a human hair, and Juhi’s touch is utterly painless and gentle. I laid there like a human pincushion for the better part of an hour I’d say, though I don’t know for sure because I was so relaxed I got swallowed up in some time-space vortex and came out the other end renewed.

You can’t imagine that you can relax this way, but you absolutely can. I like to imagine all those teeny tiny needles like miniature lightning rods, channeling, directing, and shunting energy through my meridians where I need it most, dispatching signals from one cluster of nerves to another, cooling this down or warming that up, and generally normalizing my inner physical and emotional climate.

I walked out of there as if in a dream. And in fact, I just kept walking–left the crunch of pedestrians on 5th avenue and just floated across the park back home.

I am absolutely 100% going back. If you give yourself a gift this year, try a few rounds with a trusted and recommended practitioner.

It will be the best decision you make all day.

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