Thursday, April 25, 2013
Acupuncture Made Me Levitate and Grow A Third Eye (Oh Yeah, and Cured My Headache and Healed My Knee)
Two weeks ago I was levitating on an acupuncture table, taking in the entire universe through a giant new purple rotating third eye in my forehead, and this weekend I was racing a triathlon faster than I should've been able to.
I was going to start the blog off this week by writing up a race report about the Heart of the Valley Sprint Tri (short story: I had a great race!) but I think leading up to it, I need to tell you about some pretty interesting things that happened in my quest to arrive at the starting line healthy and whole.
You all know about my knee injury leading from the bike problems in my build-up to Ironman Coeur d'Alene last year, how I didn't run for two months before the race, and then was unable to do any other triathlons last year. Since then I have done everything under the sun to rehab my knee: physical therapy, taking months off of running, pool running and elliptical machines, and finally a cautious return to soft-surface trails only. Eventually, I had worked up to running 15 - 18 miles a week, but anytime I pushed the pace, the mileage, or ran too much on pavement, the knee started to hurt again.
I had two treatments on my Groupon, and so I figured with the first triathlon of the season coming up, I would be running hard and running on pavement. It's time to get this knee up to full health. So I booked an appointment with Yumiko Freeman at Eugene Family Acupuncture. Going into the appointment, I had something unusual happen: I got a headache. This is rare for me and usually limited to the occasional spring allergy attack. But this one had lasted for three days (unheard of), and was radiating up from my neck and nowhere near my sinuses. I decided to ask if she could do something about that as well.
The first treatment was pretty straightforward. She did a long Q&A and I really felt like she listened to and understood the problems I was having with my knee, and also the headache. One cool thing is that, like my experience with the acu-stim previously, I could literally feel the energy unlocking when she put the needles in. Some had no effect, but some set forth these wild electric currents coursing up and down my leg. Cool. Except then I started to cry - not like wracking sobs or anything, but like the kind of tearing-up thing that happens when you watch a movie like Marley and Me. Just overcome with emotion, spilling over. Okay, that was weird, but it passed within a couple of minutes and was gone. Eventually she took the needles out and I went home. No levitating. No third eye. That came later.
That night, I woke up with wracking pain in my knee and a sinking feeling that I had made a terrible mistake. It hurt so stinking bad. I just lay there calling myself a dummy and promising Never Again. But then when I woke up in the morning, the pain was gone and hey, my knee felt great. A little tender, but okay. My 3-day headache was gone too, just vanished. The lack of pain was refreshing. Through the week, my knee felt better and better. By Sunday, I decided to try a little experiment - a 5K at the track. The last time I tried to pick up my running pace past an easy jog, I got some pretty big jolts of knee pain, so this would be the acid test.
The result: a 25:28 5K. That's faster than any of the 5Ks I ran at the track last year. Last year, when I was doing all that interval training? And this year when I haven't done anything more than some slow jogging? I'm faster. Whoa. Okay. I'll take that. And even better: no knee pain. What? Yeah, you heard me.
So, needless to say, I kept my second appointment with the acupuncturist.
And that was when things got weird.
I have to admit right now, what I'm going to tell you is going to sound really out there. You're going to think I'm a real whack-a-doodle, if you don't already. And I was actually too confused and maybe even embarrassed at the time to talk to the acupuncturist about this and ask if this ever happens to other people. Like how do you even start that conversation: "Um, when your clients are getting acupuncture, do they ever have out-of-body experiences or feel a giant purple third eye blooming in the middle of their head?" I would sound like I was high or something. Which is about how I felt, but I digress.
Same as last time, she stuck some needles in me - knee, back, neck, head. I was lying face down on the table. She left the room for awhile so I could just hang out with my needles and let my energy unblock or whatever. But by now with the miracle 5K behind me, I was a believer. Heck, if it would make me run faster, I'd get needles poked in me every day!
So I'm lying there face-down on the table like a human pincushion. My eyes are closed. This is when I see inside my head a giant purple third eye opening in the middle of my forehead. It's pulsating and vibrating and looks a bit like Sauron's eyeball, except with purple flowy lightning instead of orange flames. Yeah, I know you're thinking exactly WHAT did I smoke before going to see the acupuncturist but my answer is nothing! This is just happened. And then the eye started opening and closing, and it was like it was my eye but it wasn't. Everytime it opened, it's like I could see the whole universe in one shot, and the whole universe was getting sucked into my giant purple eyeball. Then I would close it and just take it in. Open. Close. Open. Close. Suck in the Universe. Relax. Suck in the Universe. Relax. I was just tripping on this completely.
Then after maybe five minutes or eternity, I don't know, the eyeball just closed.
And I was unbearably sad. Come back giant purple eyeball, come back! Come back! I wanted to cry again.
But I didn't have too much time to feel sad, because this is about when I started levitating out of my body. Every time I took in a breath, I would float up out of my body. I could literally feel myself leaving it, leaving all sensation of my body behind. All of a sudden, I couldn't feel my fingers, my toes, my stomach pressing down on the table. I was just spirit, nothing else, hovering a foot or so above my body, insubstantial as a wisp. Then, when I would breathe out, I would re-incorporate, sinking down into my flesh, regaining the sensations of my body instantly. Breathe in. Breathe out. Spirit. Body. Spirit. Body. I have no idea how long this went on either, but finally I settled back into my body for good and didn't leave it again.
Yumiko came back in, removed the needles, and I went home. Dazed and confused. What the heck just happened to me? I used to take yoga and my instructor would talk about weird stuff like third eyeballs but I always thought that was too Hindu metaphysical for me.
And then I googled Third Eye on the internet, something I've never done before. And all of these images I found are all PURPLE and SWIRLY, just like my own very real third eye.
Honestly, I don't know what to make of ANY of this. Except that I think that any experience that opens yourself up to other ways of seeing the world is good. I have always believed that there is more around us - more energy, more spirit, more ways of seeing - than we know. Unlocking the ability to see and experience that, even if it only happens once, even if it's transitory, that's an unbelievably cool thing.
And on top of that, I ran a 25:33 in the 5K at my triathlon last weekend. After not running most of the last 12 months. After not doing any speed work, or track work, or much of anything really.
In my sprint triathlon last year in the same week in April, I ran a 27:30 on a similar flat course. After 20 weeks of sprints and fartleks and tempo runs and pacing work.
Let me repeat that: Tons of running work = 27:30. No running work + 3rd eyeball floaty acupuncture experience = 25:33. What the heckity-heck is going on here???
Bottom line: Acupuncture good, roll on Third Eye. Race Report to follow.