Going to Acupuncture

Have you ever been to acupuncture? I recommend it to everyone I know. And I'm always surprised to learn how many people are afraid of going! They think it will be painful or scary. (It is not.) So I asked Eden Alexander of Golden Acupuncture here in Zurich if she would be willing to have a photographer along at my next session. 

Click on "Read more" below to see what a typical acupuncture visit is like from start to finish. The amazing Olga Bushkova took photos.

I first started going to acupuncture when I was having stomach aches for no apparent reason. My doctor had tested me for Celiac's disease, put me on a wheat, sugar and gluten-free diet and made me give up red wine and coffee. :( It was difficult and stressful, and none of it seemed to help much. In the end, my doctor was at a loss and basically told me I'd just have to live with it. Thankfully, a friend suggested acupuncture and after just four sessions and daily Chinese herbs, the stomach aches were gone and I felt wonderful again. Best of all, I could eat or drink whatever I wanted. It was miraculous! Since then, I've been to acupuncture for everything from pregnancy, labor-preparation and allergies to coughs and colds. Aside from my annual physical, I hardly ever see a regular doctor anymore.
Each visit begins with a little check-in. Eden asks how I'm feeling and why I've come in. Sometimes it's for a cough or cold, sometimes for stress or allergies. She looks at my tongue and checks my pulses. Eden is very flexible so Coco comes along, too. I just bring some toys and books for her and she plays on the floor.
Checking the pulses is done to see how the meridians in the body are flowing at that moment. In Chinese medicine, the body has meridians, or pathways, through which energy, called Qi (chee) flows. The ideal is to have good energy flowing freely through the pathways. By checking, Eden can tell if energy is blocked or stagnant in my lungs, digestion, circulation, etc. During this part of the visit she will ask if my feet have been cold, or if I have woken with night sweats to confirm which points need attention in order to rebalance my Qi.
Then we go into the practice room. It's calm and has a lovely view of a pretty rooftop.
Eden is super quick and the needle insertion almost never hurts. If it does, it is usually just a quick sting for a second or two. She instructs me to inhale, and then exhale and on the exhale she inserts the needle. I find that it's less painful when I say inside my head, "I'm open" or "I accept." It sounds silly, but it works! 
The needles are so tiny you almost can't see them in the photos! Once they are in, it's time to relax, close my eyes and breathe deeply. If Coco gets restless, Eden keeps her entertained. What a treat for a mama! ;)
After a few minutes, Eden returns to check my pulses and see how the needles are working. If my pulses are not responding, she sometimes adds needles in different points, or just gives the ones that are in a little wiggle. 
Sometimes Eden does Cupping or Moxibustion depending on what she thinks is best or necessary. And of course there are the herbs, which she formulates based on your needs as needed. Coco finds the cupping very interesting!
When the session is finished, I always feel so relaxed and good. Eden checks the pulses one last time and advises me on whether or not I need to come back again soon. Sometimes she'll suggest a supplement or other simple remedy. 
A California native living in Zurich, Eden is a truly amazing acupuncturist. She treats everything from headaches to fertility issues. If you would like to go see her yourself, she is accepting new patients. Golden Acupuncture is covered by Swiss supplemental insurance plans. Visit Golden Acupuncture to learn more. 

So what do you think? Does acupuncture seem scary to you or do you think you'd like to give it a try? 

Olga Bushkova specializes in artistic, documentary style family photos; she is based in Zurich. Golden Acupuncture is a Swiss Lark sponsor, but this is not a sponsored post. 


  1. I have attempted to convert many people to the wonders of acupuncture, but as you've experienced, so many of them are afraid of the needles.
    Love that you made this post and added pictures! Now I can direct them here :)
    I have to say, my acupuncturist gives me the best medical care I've ever received- just from the fact that he listens to me, looks for changes, and adjusts each treatment accordingly (one summer I saw him 2x a week every week and he never got complacent! I could not say the same for my western doctors who I would see every 6-12 months).

    1. It's the best!!! I hope that this post will convert people to acupuncture. It's so amazing and I agree that the care is extra personal. Top notch! xo

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