Acupuncture calms stress, a veteran’s woes

Needles punctured my ears for the first time in my life this week.

Acupuncture was being offered for one free session to veterans on Veterans’ Day, and I appeared at the WON Institute in Glenside, PA, to take advantage of the procedure. The practitioner, Ed Cunningham, was kind, offering me some cheese and crackers as we made small talk and I got ready for the event.

I sat in a regular metal chair (It may have had some padding, I recall). The room was in a building where students earn masters’ degrees in various forms of meditation, as well as acupuncture. (  I cleaned my ears with a small alcoholic rub that was provided. Standing behind me, I could not see Practioner Cunningham hold the needles, but I felt the first “pin prick” on  my left ear. I believe three more needles followed, each slightly higher than the previous.

After completing the other ear, a procedure that took all of two minutes, a needle was stuck in the top of my head, where I was told the “chi” rested. I think it was used to help energy flow better.

I felt just the opposite take place!

I felt sedated. Almost numb.

Not so much with my body, but with my anxieties. I had none, and I felt their loss with a happy sweet sorrow. Sorrow, hell. I experienced a wonderful feeling of freedom. Freedom from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and all other agitators!

Sedated. He could have taken my tonsils out and I would not have cared. I could feel no harm and I was as peaceful as I have ever felt through meditation.

And I did not have to wait long minutes to reach this state of awareness. It came within 60 seconds of the last needle. Instructed to close my eyes like in meditation, I relaxed with nary a thought for some 25 minutes. I did not experience the same “lightness” as in a meditation. The relaxation was more palpable, more “heavy,” so to speak. I was free of all worries about the past and/or the future, and completely immersed in the moment being at one with my breathing and the contact my body had, feet to the floor, arms on my lap, and buttocks on the chair. Like in meditation, I felt a “oneness” with the physical properties I touched. A “oneness” with the comfortable temperature inside the room and the slight taste of salsa my taste buds had still noticed from the snack I consumed minutes earlier.

Nothing this good could go on forever, and I slowly opened my eyes. The practitioner was seated on one of the chairs. He had moved around while my eyes were closed, but the sounds he made adjusting a table or dropping a package somewhere did not bother me or my relaxation. It was simply part of an environment that was engaged with me, engaged with my ease and comfort.

One of the doctors who had opened this clinic some six years earlier had come into the room. We had chatted before in the waiting room. He was native of South Korea and served in the medical corps in his homeland. As a captain, he outranked me, and I saluted him, wishing him a pleasant “Veterans Day” before leaving.

The procedure invigorated me and energized me, while at the same time I felt calm and peaceful the rest of the afternoon and night, and even now, several days later,  I still can remember the “wellness,” I felt come over me with acupuncture. I hope to return to the institute for a possible follow-up procedure. You see, I have this bad back and if more  needles could help me, I will gladly offer it up as a pin cushion.

4 comments on “Acupuncture calms stress, a veteran’s woes

  1. […] Acupuncture calms stress, a veteran’s woes […]


  2. […] Contoveros Needles punctured my ears for the first time in my life this week. Acupuncture was being […]


  3. How wonderful, Michael, to experience such relief and peace.

    I have a good friend who spent five years in S. Korea and he, too, had remarkable success with acupuncture. The knowledge practitioners have of the placement of the needles along meridiens, their painless insertion of the needles, and the effects on the whole body-mind are striking. I had the procedure done for back pain and the Oriental Medical Doctor who performed the procedure electrified the needles after insertion creating a warm pulse from the inside-out. It worked amazingly well.

    All the best in working with your acupuncturist moving forward.


    • contoveros says:


      How do we get the rest of the States to see the usefullness of acupuncture? People are still wary of it. Don’t want to be stuck by needles. Even if it could help them in the long run.

      I guess we’ll just have to wait until some government-run organization gives its seal of approval.

      Now, what if I could get the Veterans Administration to offer it? They have allowed the “New Age” meditation to be taught and practiced on federally-operated grounds. How long could it take before other “Eastern” practices make their way into the “mainstream?”


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