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The Angmoh Pincushion

I'm writing this is as a prelude to what I'm about to do. It started back in February on our trip to Cameron Highlands. On Saturday the 8th after the big climb, I managed to stumble into a drain while moving things to the trunk of the car. As I fell I reached out to grab for something to stop my fall and twisted my arm the wrong way, causing my shoulder to hurt like hell. Figured it would mend and waited.

On March 7th, I have an appointment with a sports doctor who informs me that I have an AC joint sprain and does some ultrasound to increase the blood flow to the area. By Monday April 6th, still suffering from the pain, I buy an arm sling to help support the shoulder and limit the use of my arm in hopes that it will help it mend. So basically we are talking two months of pain, some days more so than others. No pain meds, just dealing with it.

Then today April 11th, my lunch gal who makes my favorite dish suggests to my wife that I should see a doctor in Woodlands who practises acupuncture to help relieve the pain, promote the blood flow and help me to mend. So that's the plan. With luck she will have the phone number for us in time for tomorrow’s lunch. By the way, I guess this guy costs less than 20 bucks for each treatment. I'm both anxious and a bit scared in regards to trying acupuncture.

Ok, so that was yesterday. Today, I got up, had lunch and got the whereabouts of this acupuncturist. It's at Block 166 at Woodlands Street 13, walking distance from the Marsiling MRT station. Turns out the clinic is called Ci Hui (TCM) Medical and Acupuncture Centre. And the one thing that wasn't mentioned was how an appointment would be needed, especially on the weekend. Somehow though, through what seemed to be an act of faith, somebody’s cancelled appointment left an opening so that I could be seen. Talk about serendipity.

awol at acupuncture clinic
Before treatment got started, they took my blood pressure and it was elevated. Of course it was - I was scared half to death! Then I was given a bit of a speech on how this is not magic, that it may help, but may also require further treatments and that I should just remain calm since there was nothing to be afraid of. Yeah, that last bit didn't really give me much comfort as I was still thinking about pins being stuck in me.

acupuncture needles on legs
Now here is where I become baffled. It's my left shoulder that's bothering me. I had thought that meant a series of needles going in around that general location. I couldn't have been more wrong. The first needle went in near my right ankle and with a little twisty motion, my trapezoids (the muscles between the neck and shoulder) relaxed to the point they were like mush. They had been really tense from the pain only moments before and with just a single prick…WOW! I was amazed.

acupuncture needles on belly
In all there were 20 needles inserted. Five in my right leg, one in my left and 14 in my belly area. This was mind-blowing as the pain and tension in my shoulder was relieved without so much as a glance in that general area. After the needles went in, I was told to just stay still and rest for a few minutes, after which the needles were removed and I was good to go.
awol relaxing with acupuncture

close up of acupuncture needles
A close-up of the needles on my belly. The needles look almost finer than the hairs on my belly, don’t they?

If you're looking to get acupuncture, I'd highly recommend this place. Tell ‘em AWOL sent you, not because they will know who that is, but because it should be fun to have their mind blown that someone has sent so many their way without being asked to. This endorsement is completely of my own doing as I really appreciated the service and how effective it seems to have been.

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