Today I had my first acupuncture treatment for the trigeminal nerve pain that is still with me just over a month after the start of my shingles attack. I have also been taking some enzymes that are supposed to have a therapeutic effect. I'm not sold on the enzymes yet, but the acupuncture definitely works, so I am going back next week!
I was not expecting to feel much pain from the very fine needles used, but I felt even less than I expected. My acupuncturist put some in my left leg, one in my right foot, one or two in my left hand, and a couple more in spots around my face. Many of the needles I could not feel at all after the initial slight tap as each was inserted. Some of the spots on my face were more sensitive, and I could feel a mild burning or itching while the needle was in, but I would certainly not call it painful.
After I relaxed with the needles in on my front for a while, my accupuncturist took them out, then had me turn over, and put in a couple of needles at points at the base of my skull. This spot on the right side had been particularly sore and sensitive during the initial shingles attack, so I was rather surprised to find that I could not feel the needle there at all once it was inserted.
While I was face-down, my acupuncturist also did a procedure involving dropping bits of hot incense ash on some points on my upper back. At least, that's what I think he was doing; he told me he was going to do something with incense and heat, and I smelled it and felt it, but I could not see the details. This felt hot, but like the acupuncture it was not actually very painful, as the ash did not seem to be hot enough to produce burns. This technique is called moxibustion. I have to confess that I know almost nothing else about it aside from what Wikipedia could tell me.
During treatment my right eye, which has been very dry, began to water quite a bit, which was a big improvement. A couple of hours later it is still watering more normally. It seems to be focusing more readily. The muscle tension stuck in my forehead and brow is lessened greatly. I'm feeling much less of the various types of pain that have been zinging through my forehead and brow. There is also a slight relaxation/energizing effect which is persisting. Some of that may be attributable to getting the answer to my question "I wonder if this is going to hurt?" It also seems to have revved up my metabolism a bit -- I've been especially hungry and thirsty!
As I told my acupuncturist, "if this happened to you, you'd try whatever treatment modalities you could." I'm glad I tried this one!