Chinese Chiropractic (Part 1) started here…
When I came back he was already seeing another patient. As most do in China, I cut in and made my request to try the medical massage. With a flick of his pen, and 64RMB ($9.50) later, I found myself standing in front of a peculiar contraption. It was a mix of metal, chains and leather straps. I was told to straddle it and fix my head in between the front and back leather straps. A crank was turned by one of the doctors, which pulled my head toward the ceiling! At this point, I got a bit nervous; shouldn’t a fuzzy TV screen turn on featuring a scary clown doll with a spooky voice? (Like in the “Saw”series)
15 minutes before completing a full cycle on this thing, I broke free and asked if I could use heat instead. In fact, both methods were being used by patients who were preparing for the massage therapy. When I finally got on the little wooden stool in front of another doctor, he began asking what my discomfort was. After explaining a second time, I started to get a violently strong neck massage. Tears were gathering in the first few minutes and I had no idea what would happen to me! Then he moved to my right shoulder and the muscles around my collar bone. That is when I felt true pain. He found two pressure/acupuncture points “Xue Wei” like some kind of ninja; and seconds later I was subjugated; forced to twitch and move around like a puppet!
Within 20 minutes my right arm was curved over my head and moderate pressure was applied to a chunk of back muscles. I heard light snaps. And the last 5 minutes would help smooth out the nearby knots in my neck and surrounding shoulder blade area. It seemed that my desired “back breaking” had happened.
Then I asked, “are knots OK sometimes?” He said “knots only exist when something is wrong.” It was then that I realized that our skeletons are not always in control of our bodies. Sometimes our muscles, when agitated over months and years, can take control and leave us in naturally-occurring pain. Some bones move out of place and cause any number of problems. In my case the agitation led to sleep deprivation, which caused other health problems.
I didn’t need coffee to simply “wake me up,” or medication to help me sleep through the pain. I needed to resolve the core problem, which in this case, required rather simple physical therapy… or in other words, a massage. Massage actually does more than provide superficial pleasure, or a joke for those chatting about their last trip to Asia. In fact, it truly does help. I’m sleeping better at night now and I don’t feel so groggy in the morning. My energy level is higher and I don’t feel the urge for morning coffee.
Medical massage, chiropractics, and physical therapy are not just for athletes or people recovering from car accidents. When done by a professional, they can help avoid thousands of dollars in surgeries and costly medicines. I confirmed this for myself by not dismissing this medical massage at that first doctor visit. Sometimes, traditions that are steeped in centuries of practice can really deliver a beat-down on modern medicine. We just need to move around our cultural skepticism before we can uncover the truth.