So I've gone to acupuncture 4 or 5 times now and shockingly, I've actually somewhat habituated to the needles! The first 2 or 3 sessions I was still so nervous when she was putting the needles in that I would have to focus and breathe with every one. And then lying there with the needles in was still really tortuous. I couldn't stop thinking "there are needles in the side of my neck."
I went again this last Friday and when she was putting the needles in, I was calm enough to the point where I wasn't even really paying attention. I was just listening to my music and she was talking to me about different things. I was able to relax more while I had to sit there with the needles in, though I must admit the thought "there are needles in the side of my neck" still occurs every now and then and still creeps me out.
Overall, the acupuncture has been helping. I always get it done on a Friday and notice I feel pretty good over the weekend (not pain-free, but definitely less pain) and then as the work week starts I notice more pain as the week progresses. My acupuncturist discussed the importance of stretching throughout the week so I'm going to try to do that more.
In our discussion, my acupuncturist brought up this idea about how life is about balancing the damage we do to our bodies (through work, stress, diet, overexerting ourselves, sitting in one position too long, etc) with undoing the damage (through methods such as massage, meditation, stretching, yoga, acupuncture etc.), which I thought was a really interesting idea I never gave much thought to before. I mean, it's kind of common sense, I just never really thought of it in that way--almost like a yin yang balance. I've been trying to keep this in mind in having more balance in life and "not sweating the small stuff"--it's a work in progress. One of my first steps is trying to listen to my body more and spend more time undoing the damage and less time creating damage.