Anyone who is a regular reader here knows that I’m an interesting case, medically speaking. There’s a lot happening with amputation and autoimmune diseases in my world and I’ve learned through trial and error that mainstream medicine and pharmaceutical drugs aren’t always the most effective approach to what ails a body.
Where every class of pain medicine available failed to ease the pain from a foot that was slowly dying, CBD oil kept me from losing my mind from the pain.
When every nerve type medicines prescribed at the maximum doses failed to even begin to touch my nerve pain, even when multiple forms were taken together, hypericum perforatum did the trick from the first dose.
Well, years of painsomnia broke my internal clock and my circadian rhythm was utterly destroyed from being unable to sleep through agonizing pain of dying flesh or angry nerves. Even when physically the pains were no longer an issue, I’d still be up until 3, 4, or 5 AM, sleep until 8, 9, or 10 AM, and then be awake the rest of the day with an occasional nap thrown in when my body was just too exhausted or when time allowed because no person can survive on that little sleep.
While most friends accepted that this rhythm was just what it was, albeit unhealthy, there were one or two who would find me clicking away at my keyboard writing or chatting with them at all sorts of ungodly hours and they were always trying to send me to bed. When I listened to their advice, I would sometimes sleep but more often I would just lay awake staring at the ceiling until the clock ticked to the sleep place and I finally fell into slumber for a couple hours before my body would wake. So imagine my surprise when, after years of being No Sleep Gwen and being sent to bed in the middle of the night by friends all over the world, a little treatment of battlefield acupuncture left me completely able to sleep normal hours for a few days.
What is battlefield acupuncture, you ask?
Battlefield acupuncture was developed for use in the military where small “needles” are used in different locations on the ear where they can remain for up to a week before being pulled or falling out. It is ideal for soldiers deployed overseas or in the field because a medic can apply the needles and soldiers can experience relief in pains they feel from their very active and very demanding jobs. It is so effective as a treatment that Vanderbilt University Medical Center uses it for post outpatient surgical pain relief. I’ve received battlefield acupuncture as a part of research for it’s use in chronic pain patients who visit the ER. When I had my second treatment, I mentioned to the person administering the treatment that I’d slept exceedingly well after the first treatment and she suggested a daith piercing in my ear as a permanent solution.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the kind of person who makes permanent changes to my body lightly. I felt like a rebel when I got my nose pierced in my mid-thirties but I wear small rings in it and at times don’t wear anything at all. When cartilage piercings were cool and everyone was getting their bellybutton pierced, I had no interest. When tattoos for the sake of tattoos were what people did, I didn’t. I always felt like if there was something going on or in or through my body it should be done mindfully and with purpose.
Not something that I will regret or that doesn’t have powerful meaning or purpose for me…
Everything is on purpose.
This woman was suggesting the kind of piercing I would never get for any reason other than a medical one and she was suggesting it as a possible treatment for one of my biggest issues… And she is smack-dab in the middle of mainstream medicine. Huh. That’s interesting: a mainstream medical professional suggesting an alternative approach?
What does Gwen do when things are become fascinating like this? Research, obviously.
The internet left me with no small amount of completely unscientific claims of a daith piercing either being incredibly effective or incredible hogwash. It did not, however, leave me empty handed with proof that acupuncture can be as if not more effective for pain relief than opiates. Acupuncture is not the first among so called alternative medical treatment like massage, essential oils, homeopathic, osteopathic, meditative, and others that are not mainstream or pharmaceutical based medicine where researchers have begun to study and prove the viability of these alternatives to big-pharma, I could find no empirical data about a daith piercing for sleep. But there were these two little things that kept nagging at me:
I’d already tried any and every mainstream and alternative approach to the problem of sleep and had gotten no place.
Drugs, sleep hygiene, exercise schedules, diet, blah, blah, blah. I may have been able to make the sleep I was getting more efficient and restful but I still wasn’t able to get enough and I still wasn’t able to get to sleep at anything close to a normal hour.
I was already not sleeping.
So what’s the worst that could happen?!
Regular readers are probably familiar with this Gwenism…
If the worst that could happen from getting this piercing was that I would continue to not sleep but have a weird piercing in my ear, than all I wasted was the money it cost me to get the piercing.
So at the end of November I walked into a licensed tattoo shop and asked for my piercing.
It hurt initially but not nearly as much as my nose piercing or as much as a tattoo. Honestly, a teeth cleaning was worse than this. Yes, it bled. Yes, it got a titch swollen. Yes, it hurt a smidgen for a bit. But I was able to sleep on it from the first night…
Did you catch that? Let me say it again…
I was able to sleep.
Hallelujah! I felt amazing. Sleep, sweet, blissful, restful, amazing sleep!
I laid down my head, closed my eyes, and actually fell asleep without trouble.
What is more miraculous is that I stayed asleep all night and didn’t wake until my body said it was rested.
My first thought was it couldn’t honestly be that simple and that profound so quickly, even though it was that simple and profound with the CBD and the hypericum perforatum. I expected it to not last. I expected it to not work. I expected it to be another failed attempt but it wasn’t.
Ever the sceptical and cynical woman with the broken trust-o-meter… I decided that rather than celebrating this success I would simply not to tell anyone about it and instead do some simple observations and unofficial data collection for a bit so I could wait for it to stop working.
After all, it could be placebo, right?
I mean, there isn’t any empirical data to back up this choice, right?
Just a shot in the dark.
But my completely unscientific, subjective data on this says that…
A daith piercing works for sleep and I have yet to have a migraine.
Truthfully, other than a few nights where I was up with friends who were having a difficult time or that I was too sick or to worried to sleep (stress does that), I’ve actually slept marvelously for 8 weeks.
After years of being the narcoleptic with the inability to sleep, I’m sleeping better than I ever remember sleeping before and I’m free of the headaches that had me prescribed narcotics for the pain for nearly 10 years.
So, if you’re coping with chronic pain, migraines, or insomnia, perhaps try some battlefield acupuncture or a piercing.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Just make sure you go to a clean, licensed, reputable piercer.