Paul McGuire's Big Adventures

I’M not what you’d call a picture of health. I was once likened to a miniature Degas but I think that said more about my girth than my condition.

Day to day, like most folk, I make an effort to stay in shape. But year to year, that shape is going gradually more pear. Not that I’m particularly fussed about living up to modern standards of beauty; I’m all for slumming it to my own dubious benchmark.

As long as the fruit I resemble is vaguely human in appearance, I won’t be resigning my body to the compost heap just yet. Granted, I don’t intend to age gracefully – I’m planning to pan my golden years like a careless prospector – but I also hope not to kick the bucket any time soon and, if I do, I’d prefer to do it with cuneiforms that are still in decent working order. So I don’t drink or smoke and the only hard stuff in my life is the occasional bout of calculus.

I’ll admit my exercise schedule has room for improvement; fine, it has an entire mezzanine for improvement, but I have plans to turn it into a home gym. On the whole, while it’s not quite a temple, my body at least has a whispered prayer or two to its name. Sure, there are times when we don’t quite see eye to, well, third eye, but I can suffer its migraines and joint weaknesses if it’s willing to endure my panic attacks in return.

And while I’d like to think I’ll never resort to a nip or its partnering tuck to perk up my spirits, I’m not above giving my system a bit of a boost, particularly if it involves just a little adventure.

Acupuncture isn’t exactly new, having been practised as part of traditional Chinese medicine since parties themselves were having their very first birthdays.

But you don’t have to travel that far nowadays to feel its sting, since the technique is commonly used in these waters to treat a whole gamut of complaints from fertility problems to hypertension and back again.

Using specialist needles, acupuncturists target the body’s energy meridians, with the objective of stimulating its own healing processes and releasing its in-built painkillers. Whether or not you understand the flow of qi is neither here nor air.

Since I’m not ailing of anything that ice-cream and a good cuddle can’t fix, I opted to bolster my biggest organ with a visit to Acusports in Glasgow for a cosmetic acupuncture session. Founded in 2013 by acupuncturist Sara Lanzas, Acusports is a sports injury, massage and acupuncture clinic in the west end of the city, providing clients with a full range of restorative treatments, with or without the pricking of your thumbs. Thankfully, I have no issue with needles, evidenced by the 20-odd piercings dot-to-dotting a pathway across my person. The number is odd, not the pursuit, you understand.

But even this recovering goth was a little wary about a stranger poking pins into a face that, though not the most striking, has just about the right number of holes in it already, thank you very much.

Fortunately, Sara and her clinic set a comforting mood from the outset and, by the time I had admitted my weight and water intake on the record card and posed any questions I had about the procedure in a pleasant consultation, I felt just about ready to become the hellraiser I’ve always thought I could be. Qualified in both acupuncture and sports massage, Sara has applied her skills in therapy centres, addiction and rehabilitation facilities and palliative care hospices, and it’s difficult not to spot her passion for improving the quality of life of those she treats.

And even though I was only there to boost my tired epidermis, Sara focused on my overall wellbeing, making me smile throughout and probably worsening those laughter lines she was about to tackle.

While placing the first of the fine needles into my feet, she explained how this non-invasive procedure was creating micro-wounds in the skin, increasing blood flow and encouraging my system to ramp up its collagen production.

At the base of my thumb and in my wrist, the next needles were tapped gently in, and, of course, I felt their insertion but without cause for even the least embarrassing of flinches. In barely minutes, I was at the sharp end of around 30 tines, with a few in the back of my head and the biggest concentration spilling from my mug.

Wrapped in a blanket and happy as a pig in the same, I won’t lie, I didn’t really feel like I was in the midst of a big adventure, until one half-shut eye spied a needle protruding from its respective brow.

As relaxing as adventures go though, that hour spent letting my body do the grunt work while my mind enjoyed the lie down was among the most restful moments of my exploits. Hedgehogs have it good.

Soon though, Sara was relieving me of my spines, and, beside a tiny bruise under my chin, I felt brighter and calmer, and had that warmed feeling, like after a great day spent with good people.

Sure, it’ll take more than pleasant perforation to turn this sight into one worth seeing but if acupuncture can prod my system back into action, then it’s definitely worth a stab.

To have your own acupuncture adventure, visit the Acusports website: