The Need for Needles: Acupuncture


Jeff Weidmann of Element Natural Healing Arts in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn introduces me to the 5,000-year-old form of medicine.

While I will try just about anything, the thought of needles being put in my body (and my face!) was, nevertheless, a bit unsettling. Just the idea makes most of us cringe. Yet when asked if I would be interested in giving it a try, I whole-heartedly jumped at the opportunity.

Being a healthy young woman, I don’t exactly have a slew of medical complaints. Yet acupuncture, used to help treat numerous health conditions and promote general wellbeing, seemed ideal to help me with my few ailments: a strained muscle, chronic acid reflux, and, of course, the normal stresses of everyday life. So, why not give it a try? (Yeah, the being-pricked-with-needles factor hadn’t yet begun to phase me.)

On the morning of treatment, however, the fears began: What was I doing? Are the needles clean? Will it hurt? I even dragged a friend along. Because, let’s be honest here, the idea of needles not only being pierced into but also being left implanted in one’s skin is damn unnerving. Yet as I arrived at Element Natural Healing Arts, the feng shui designed space with its dimmed lights, bamboo floors, and a no shoes or cell phone policy, immediately began to ease my lingering uncertainties.

After filling out an unbelievably intimate medical form (prepare to reveal everything from your usual medical history to the condition of your skin, hair, and colon) I was taken back to the treatment room for the consultation, an interview that made the medical form look less personal than the SATs. (Let’s just say Joey, our fabulous photographer, and I are now intimately acquainted.)

Ready for treatment, I lay back on the massage-like table and anxiously awaited what I thought would be a piercing prick as I questioned my sanity in signing up for this! Surprisingly, the first needle was completely painless – I actually had to ask if it was really in when I saw Joey start to take pictures (I was pretty sure he didn’t just want a close up of the pores on my forehead). With my anxiety now fully assuaged, Jeff placed the remaining needles along various points on my body, correlating to specific body parts and conditions. With relaxing music on, the lights dimmed, and thirteen needles scattered across my body (yikes!), Jeff left the room to allow me to relax before removing them about thirty minutes later (again, painlessly, although the thought still makes me cringe a bit).

Did I feel instantly better? No, not quite – for chronic conditions or acute pain multiple treatments are usually necessary. I was, however, incredibly and surprisingly relaxed. My biggest complaint: the pimple I got the next day on precisely the same spot where the needle was put in my forehead – A risk I would certainly be willing to take again.

Consultation, $55, Acupuncture Treatment, $95
(Covered by many insurance companies)

Element Natural Healing Arts518 Henry StreetBrooklyn, New York 11231718-855-4850