Acupuncture pitches ‘halvies’ to a PTSD Vet

Had an “out-of-body” experience.

Twice. Once on my stomach, the other on my back. Got “acupunctured.” Second time for my back. First for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Back got punctured a dozen times in various parts of the body, starting in areas other than the back.

Ed Cunningham, the accupuncturist, started with needles to my hands and legs first, then made his way to the back of both knees. One needle in the right foot and then another to the left at a point connected to the kidney.

I got some dozen needles in my back along my spine and also around the areas of my left and right lumbar. It was an extensive treatment being provided me and other veterans on a regular basis each Thursday night.

I meditated and felt my consciousness “arise” from the table I lay flat across, and travel through my body, leaving the meaty “shell” behind. I didn’t “transport” anywhere, but remained above my self, my physical self. Alone. Without a care in the world. Merely an observor. One invincible to all things.

Too soon, the needles came out and I turned over as it was the PTSD’s turn to get “poked.” Sharp, but ever so brief,  pangs of pain pierced two spots on my chest as needles punctured the soft spots about two inches below the collar-bone. Ed’s research showed that this is one area where relief could be provided. It felt like one of the meridian points that I “massage” during an EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) session. I apply pressure to certain parts of the body to relief stress and discomfort, and I assumed the needles worked on the same principle.

My consciousness arose quicker this time as I felt my “Self” leaving again. I heard something outside the WON Institute in Glenside, PA. Noise. Someone bouncing a ball? Getting louder.

Got an immediate flashback. No, not from Vietnam. From my old neighborhood where I grew up playing with “pimple” balls. I flashed onto a time as a child, a joyful time playing with a small inflated rubber ball with small, quarter inch bevels or embossed circles we called “pimples,” hence the name “Pimple Balls.”

What made it so great was the longevity of each ball. When it split, you got two halves of a ball, or “halvies,” as anyone growing up near an urban setting in the ’60s and ’70s could tell you. And, to me, “halvies” was always better than playing with, you guessed it: “whole” balls.

You never had to buy a bat. You just used a part of an old broom. The broom stick. No gloves needed. No batting helmets, jock cups or catcher’s gear required.

If you hit a half ball over the roof, it was a home run. Each side decided before-hand the spots on the wall the ball needed to hit for a triple, double and a single. Three strikes you were out. Any ball caught on a “fly” was an out. It was an out if the “other side” caught the half ball bouncing off the wall but before hitting the ground.

All of which went through my consciousness as my body lie beneath me. I tasted heaven. And it wasn’t Iowa. It was my home. Somewhere inside. Goodbye PTSD. At least for now.

For more, see Veterans’ Day story: 

Acupuncture calms stress, a veteran’s woes

4 comments on “Acupuncture pitches ‘halvies’ to a PTSD Vet

  1. kim says:

    I have been going through acupuncture for several weeks for back and neck issues and I’m done now. I didn’t have an out-of-body experience, but a deeply spiritual one each time. Different from yours. This may sound strange but I felt as if there were other-worldly healers surrounding the table as I laid there meditating. It was almost spooky.


    • contoveros says:


      Sounds like a mystical experience to me. Spiritual. Mystical. When does one merge into, or become labled the other?

      And why does mysticism exist only in books?

      For most people, that is.

      Perhaps, those that experience such “visions” as you describe can discuss it only with like-minded “crazies” like me.

      michael j


  2. Acupuncture seems like an interesting undertaking. It sounds like you had a very enlightening experience that many would enjoy having.



    • contoveros says:

      Try it. The relaxation it provides is “well” worth it.

      Did I tell you how well it makes you feel?

      How worthwhile?

      Oh, well. Let me return for another shot or two. Tonight, April 1st, 2010.

      michael j


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