• Rosemary Mac Cabe

You'll Just Feel Some Light Vibration – Do You Feel That?

Photo by Thomas Verbruggen on Unsplash

"I'm going to see a lady about my shin splints," I tell Ciara, as she navigates her way through Dublin's streets in her little black car. "Apparently she's really good and is going to fix me." "What does she do?" asks Ciara, switching lanes with something approaching gay abandon.

"Well, she's a Pilates instructor and she does, uh, massage. And acupuncture." There is a pause. "Oh Jesus. Do you think she's going to try to acupuncture my shins? Surely you can't acupuncture someone's shins. If she tries to acupuncture my shins I will lose my shit."

One hour later: "I'm just going to do some acupuncture on your shins – have you had acupuncture before?"

"Yes, I have, that's fine," I say, staring at the odd lighting fixture on the ceiling and wondering if it's from my favourite place in the world, Ikea. When the needles are in – "Oh it's okay if it feels a bit achey, it'll ease off," says she as I grit my teeth – they are attached to some kind of electronic device. I feel a bit like Frankenstein's monster; I wonder if I should remind her that I am, in fact, already alive.

"You'll just feel some light vibration," she says. "I'm going to turn it up very slowly." I feel nothing. I feel a little more nothing. Then I feel quite warm and, suddenly, I feel as if bees are crawling over my leg in tight circles where the acupuncture needles are attached to the machine. I feel slightly nauseous at the thought. I grit my teeth again.

I leave the studio an hour later with strange suction marks on my shins and an instruction leaflet about my new "diet". No wheat, restricted dairy, some "supergreens", whatever they are. I still can't think much about the Frankenstein machine and the needles - but my shins feel light, like old Blu-Tac that's been taken off the wall and warmed up and worked on until it's soft and sticky and elastic again.

"You'll have to come back in 10 days," she says as I'm leaving. "We'll do another session."

"I'm not having those needles in my shins again. I'm not. It freaks me out and it was slightly sore and I felt a bit like crying or getting sick." That's what I want to say. Instead, I hoist my bag up on my shoulder and smile. "How much do I owe you?"

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