Just so everyone knows what acupuncture is, we're talking about inserting needles of all different sizes into various points around the body—on purpose—with the goal of healing by releasing blocked energy and restoring equilibrium. Now, I've had a couple acupuncture sessions, but I'm definitely no expert. So I enlisted the help of Michelle Spina, a master in the field and someone who has helped me personally unblock, rejuvenate and relax on multiple occasions with her deftly wielded needles. You don't believe me now, but you will.
I met Michelle while I was covering Soho House's Wellness Week in New York City in January. At that time, I wanted her to help me treat some digestive issues I was having: I'm still getting the hang of this whole gluten-free thing
, and she was going to see if she could help me revive proper functioning with a few pricks. (Michelle also customizes treatments for everything from anti-aging to fertility to weight loss...I want to try them all! Well, I might leave the first two for a bit further down the line, but good to know what's out there!)
I've been to acupuncturists before, but I wasn't about to let her start probing me before I made sure she did, in fact, know what she was doing. From a few simple questions sprouted an incredibly informative, wonderfully illuminating dialogue about the many uses of acupuncture and Spina's particular take on how her patients ought to feel about the whole affair.
"I basically teach self-healing. When you're in balance, your symptomology doesn't show up and you feel your best," Spina says. "My goal is to educate my patients so that, once I get them to the healing point, they can keep themselves there without me." Few drug companies feel so strongly about actually healing the patients that shell out money hand over fist for their products—after all, if your customers get better, who's going to buy the drugs? I asked Michelle what her incentives were for this self-sabotage. "My entire practice is based on referrals," she says. "Happy, satisfied patients are the best advertisers." Good enough for me.
Oh, and for the record, Spina also has a medical background, deals regularly with conventional medical doctors in her practice and is a master of many forms of acupuncture, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and French/German—each of which employs different needle gauges and point selections. Not only that, she is also schooled in other traditional Chinese medicine techniques such as gua sha, cupping and moxibustion and is an all-around knowledgeable woman.