Optimizing

21st January 2009

In an effort to eliminate my mystery hives, which are apparently not allergic reactions, I am off to have a very nice acupuncturist stick needles in me. These are tiny needles. Hair thin needles, I am told. Needles so small they hardly even qualify as needles, you see. So why call them needles then? Why not call them something less panic-inducing? Stupids.

Fun Fact! Tongue goo is a part of the diagnosis process in Chinese medicine. Therefore, I was not supposed to brush my tongue this morning, which is counter-intuitive when you wake up and it tastes like something died in your mouth.

The end.

39 thoughts on “Optimizing

  1. Robin

    I hope your visit to the acupuncturist goes well. I visited one for many months to help my migraines and I always loved it. And yes, she did always look at my tongue. Interesting.

  2. Jessica!

    My high school gym teacher told me (when I had hives for no reason) That hives were the result of making a ‘mountain out of a mole hill’. But she was a real bitch . . .

  3. Angela

    I had a great deal of success with acupuncture for some “digestive” issues. I was really quite blown away by how successful (and relaxing and relatively pain free) it was. The needles don’t hurt as long as you don’t move – at all – after they’re put in. Say you do move because you startle after hearing a sound? The bruise only lasts a week or so.

    About the mystery hives? You might consider getting your thyroid* checked as that’s a common symptom.

    *I have a thyroid problem, so I think everyone else does too. I am not a doctor, but I play one on the internet.

  4. Kath

    Hooray for tongue goo and chinese “medicine” horse pills. Acupuncture got me through my last pregnancy virtually pain-free! Enjoy your time on the table, and if you fall asleep whilst being poked, try not to drool.

  5. Dinah

    Good luck! However, do be exceedingly careful about your choice of acupuncturist. My co-worker lost many weeks of work and his life was nearly in danger from one who managed to perforate both his lungs last year using needles on his chest. It seems a healthy mix of eastern & western medical knowledge is essential.

  6. sarah

    none of the needles hurt except the ones in my arm where i have tendonitis.

    knowing what i know, i would only see a Chinese practitioner.

    those needles are not that long. i can’t imagine how you manage to perforate a lung. crazy sad.

  7. mamie

    i did the TCM/acupuncture route for my PPD. it worked but entailed 60+ tiny hair thin needles to be stuck in my abdomen for upwards of an hour twice a week. i swear by it, but it is not necessarily painless. effective, but not painless.

  8. Puanani

    I have been to tons of homeopathic doctors and they all want to look at the tongue. It is usually bad news, like no dairy or fun things to eat. Good luck with the hives though. I once had small needles in my ears for two weeks to help with allergies, it totally worked!

  9. Robert

    Did your allergist discuss chronic idiopathic urticaria with you? If you were seeing me, that’s what I’d think of based on what you’ve said thus far. Oftentimes hefty doses of regularly scheduled antihistamines (the newer ones that don’t turn you into a sleepwalking zombie) are enough to take care of it.

  10. Maura

    I’d recommend getting allergy testing done by a naturopath. I had regular testing done, which is only done at one strength. The naturopath titrated to smaller strengths and I found out I was allergic to all sorts of foods/trees/gluten etc. Eliminating these foods have made a huge difference for me (although admittedly, a pain in the butt). I can recommend one in the bay area if you’re interested. Good luck!

  11. Meegan

    There is a Dutch expression that, when translated literally, means “I have a dead bird in my mouth”. So this is where my mind went when I read this post. I am either a tongue freak or a highly functioning part-time alcoholic.

  12. Meegan

    By the by…in that last comment I failed to translate the figurative meaning of the Dutch expression. It means, I have a hangover. Hence, the alcoholic reference. Geez. Ever hear of proof-reading, Meegan?

  13. Lisa

    About five years ago I went for acupuncture performed with very small electric shocks instead of needles. It was performed by an older Chinese couple and I also had to drink some of the worst tasting tea I’ve ever had in my life. I used to have horrible, chronic back pain, but haven’t had any problems since!

  14. Marie

    You deserve a medal for not brushing your tongue this morning or a badge, at the very least! Good luck with the acupuncture, hope the hives go away very soon!

  15. Jodi

    I see an acupuncturist regularly, and my only advice is to eat something before you go. This makes me less sensitive to the needles. Good luck!

  16. Suburbandiva

    If your hives started when you were in Mexico, you might consider that you had a reaction to the sun. I am fair skinned and if I don’t start taking Reactine and exposing my body to UV rays at least a month ahead of time, and using zinc/titanium sun block while in the Carribbean, I break out in hives all over my exposed skin. This only started once I hit my 30s. It takes weeks for them to go away. Just a thought.

  17. Mary Beth

    I have also had chronic ideopathic urticaria for 5 1/2 months,and after a go-around with every Western doctor and multiple drugs the only thing helping is my accupuncture. I go to a Chinese doctor, who also recommended liquid vitamin injections a certain points in my legs (slightly painful) and magnetic seeds(embedded in an adhesive) at acu-points on my ears. I have had two out of the last three days totally hive free – its wonderful! It’s not a fast cure, but it does make an incredible difference – stick with it and it will work. Best of luck to you!

  18. happy little atom

    I love reading your allergy posts. Not for your pain, because I am also a fair redhead who breaks out in hives and whatnot for everything. RANDOMLY. I’ve finally decided I’m sensitive. Not allergic to coffee, sensitive to cacao. Not allergic to peanuts, prone to hives when I eat them. Not allergic to every single flower but get itchy and blotchy when they’re around. I love Chinese Medicine and no longer love coffee. Well, maybe every once and a while. When I need to feel like I’m on speed.

  19. Lisa

    I had a few acupuncture sessions about a year ago. They were nice and very relaxing and I would do it again. However, I was always SUPER nauseated afterward. Just an FYI. I figured it was my toxins moving around.

  20. Kate

    Two years ago, a friend came down with Mystery Hives, and the official diagnosis came back as Allergic to Cold, because she broke out every time exposed skin met outdoor elements. I initially called bullshit, but the doc said it happened as an unfortunate immuno-aftermath to a bad virus she’d had. Immune system goes crazy trying to kick the virus, then it continues to overreact long after the crud is gone. Just throwing it out there.

  21. Tara

    I had a raging case of mystery hives that lasted the final 3 months of 2007. After many appointments the cause was determined to be autoimmune related, which basically means that I am allergic to myself. You can imagine my relief when I heard the diagnosis.

    p.s. Zyrtec helps and it’s otc.

  22. Tara

    I had a raging case of mystery hives that lasted the final 3 months of 2007. After many appointments the cause was determined to be autoimmune related, which basically means that I am allergic to myself. You can imagine my relief when I heard the diagnosis.

    p.s. Zyrtec helps and it’s otc.

  23. Meg

    I hope it is/was wonderful. Once you stop thinking of them as needels it’s really the most relaxing/wonderful pain reducing thing. You can actually feel your energy feilds sort of re-balancing while you lay there.

    Also, and I know this seems even crazier but if you want to go big, consider cupping. Also awesome. Though… the very first time I did it I felt icky for 24 hours before feeling wonderful, as it pulled all the toxic ooze out of me.

    So: enjoy! And YAY for it not being allergies.

  24. lili

    you want to get some rosehip oil, any health food store will have it. it won’t tell you what is causing mystery hives but it will make them vanish. or at least if it doesn’t i’ll be amazed.

  25. Ann

    As an acupuncturist, you might try drinking strong, lukewarm spearmint tea (if your hives are red and itchy and you feel hot). That should cool the surface of your body and relieve itch. You can even dip a washcloth in the tea and put it on the hives, themselves.

    If your hives are raised, water-filled and not itchy, you might find strong ginger tea helpful. Ginger warms the interior and helps dry excess fluids, releases the exterior pores of your body.

    This doesn’t treat the source of the hives, but it’s a nice at-home remedy for relief, possibly.

    Hpoe you had a good treatment, as in: you feel as if the molecules of your body are lifted out of you and rearranged in a more harmonious manner. Sometimes it takes more than one treatment for that sensation to occur, and to see overall constitutional changes in your body.

    Good luck!

  26. Susannah

    As another redhead with the urticaria that shows up randomly and takes forever to get rid of it.. I’ve figured out there are a few things that trigger it – cold weather, sunburn, stress, a change in laundry detergent I only buy dye and scent-free but even a change from brands will kick it off (oh so fey). I have been to umpteen docs and have heard everything from “external bacteria” to “virus” to “allergy”. What helps?

    Abuse of Lubriderm – like 3-4 times a day just slather it on. Don’t rub dry with a towel, pat dry. Loose clothing (tights and body fitting clothes exacerbate the itch). Aveeno baths help soothe the itch if it gets to unbearable – but with the soak as with baths/showers – only lukewarm water – no hot and especially not scalding hot water. Relax as much as possible (easier said..) and cut out things – at least temporarily – that amp you up (caffeine) or make you sweat (good excuse to skip the gym today.) Mild soaps and detergents – non-scented, not dyed.

    Oh – and don’t shave if it’s leg area or underarm – that seems to make it worse too.

    I’m sure you’ve heard most of this, but it does help.

  27. Susannah

    As another redhead with the urticaria that shows up randomly and takes forever to get rid of it.. I’ve figured out there are a few things that trigger it – cold weather, sunburn, stress, a change in laundry detergent I only buy dye and scent-free but even a change from brands will kick it off (oh so fey). I have been to umpteen docs and have heard everything from “external bacteria” to “virus” to “allergy”. What helps?

    Abuse of Lubriderm – like 3-4 times a day just slather it on. Don’t rub dry with a towel, pat dry. Loose clothing (tights and body fitting clothes exacerbate the itch). Aveeno baths help soothe the itch if it gets to unbearable – but with the soak as with baths/showers – only lukewarm water – no hot and especially not scalding hot water. Relax as much as possible (easier said..) and cut out things – at least temporarily – that amp you up (caffeine) or make you sweat (good excuse to skip the gym today.) Mild soaps and detergents – non-scented, not dyed.

    Oh – and don’t shave if it’s leg area or underarm – that seems to make it worse too.

    I’m sure you’ve heard most of this, but it does help.

  28. kristi

    Maggie,
    I wish you wellness. But mostly I hope that you’re working with people who are as rad as you are. If not, I highly recommend this accupuncturist located in SF:
    http://www.joannwbennett.com/ She was my saving grace a few years ago (neck and shoulder pain along with cycle issues). Really. She is nearly angelic and absolutely rad (like you).

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