In Living

Jodie Heinrich provides a moxa treatment. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

In Living

Sometimes a hole in the head is a good thing. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

In Living

Wrist needles. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

In Living

GreenSquare houses more than 20 holistic healers. (PHOTO: Royal Griggs)

Acupuncture experience sticks with recipient

I am not afraid of needles. As a kid, I stuck pins under the tips of my fingertips – I'm not exactly sure why – and then later I received numerous tattoos and injected myself with hormones for an IVF experience that would prove to be fruitless.

So when Kip Friedman from GreenSquare Center for the Healing Arts, 6789 N. Green Bay Ave., asked me to come to the facility to experience acupuncture, I was intrigued and completely undaunted by the thought of dozens of little needles sticking out of my face or back or feet. I'm impervious to pinprick pain and I fancy myself as a bit of a badass, so why not?

What I did not comprehend was the emotional side of acupuncture or the way that I would feel following the experience. It's not that I walked in as a skeptical nonbeliever.

I had heard from a lot of people the merits of acupuncture, so I went in with an open mind, but also with the belief that I was just doing what I love to do: something wacky for the sake of the story and for the personal experience of it.

This is why I asked David Seebach to cut me in half. This is why I got a colonic. And this is why I thought I was getting acupuncture. But it turned out to be more than that.

Jodie Heinrich has rented space at GreenSquare for about two-and-a-half years and was one of the first in the building. She has been a massage therapist for 25 years and a licensed acupuncturist for almost eight years. She received an MS degree from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Racine / Chicago.

Heinrich's space is serene and uncluttered, with a large skylight, soft music and a trace of flowers and sandalwood in the air. There's a framed piece of Buddha art and a small bell hanging from the ceiling in the corner of the room that a friend told her was for feng shui.

The space is calming, and what one would expect from a natural healer's office. But Heinrich is no stereotype. She is down-to-earth and has a quick sense of humor. She is also a great listener and a seemingly gentle person.

GreenSquare Center leases office space to more than 20 independent natural healing specialists who have their own offices (or with another practitioner) and share common space. Acupuncture is just one of the center's offerings along with reiki, physical therapy, reflexology, chiropractics, feldenkrais, body activation, hypnosis, massage, yoga and more.

To begin my acupuncture treatment, I filled out a form about my physical and mental health and we discussed my issues. Heinrich said the paperwork was to "identify the patterns" in my body. I am overall healthy, but I don't always sleep very well. I am prone to anxiety. My menstrual cycle is a little out of whack.

She is so easy to talk to that I went on and on once I got started. Before I knew it, I was telling her about my driving anxiousness brought on by witnessing a serious car accident happen about three feet in front of me last spring and the fact I think nighttime wine-drinking is at the root of my shallow sleep.

She smiled at me and asked to look at my tongue. I stuck it out at her. Then she asked to see it again. Then again. She said it was a little pale, indicating a blood deficiency, and my tongue's center fissure "showed a little heat" which suggested spleen deficiency.

She was quick to point out that her use of "deficiency" did not mean something was really wrong, rather that some things just needed adjusting. She said my tongue was "scalloped," too, which indicates that I might be burning myself out. She took my pulse and then reported it was a little weak.

I then took off my boots and socks, rolled up my pant legs and reclined on the table. Heinrich proceeded to stick 18 little needles into my body: including my wrists, feet, ears, forehead, just above my ankles and just below my knees.

She also stuck one in the top of my head, for calming and mental clarity, and said when she was in Oriental medicine school, a lot of students would show up for tests with a needle sticking out of the top of their heads. I like the image of that. Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)

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