Although holistic medicine is generally frowned upon in the US, I have grown up with a chiropractor since birth. Dr. Henry is one of the greatest male figures in my life and I make a point of it to see him every time I go back to the US. His practice is not mystics or voodoo; it’s purely anatomical brilliance.
With a painful, achy shoulder for nearly two months, I decided my problem was not just about sore muscles after some strenuous upper-body workouts. My sleeping was also effected because my posture caused continual pain in the same area. Whatever the reason, I felt it needed to be checked out by a chiropractor rather than a general practitioner.
When I finally got around to visiting the People’s Hospital of Zhuhai, I was prepared for anything. I had never seen a chiropractor in China before, but I was determined to experience it and make some comparisons. After all, Dr. Henry’s practice stems from Chinese medicine. Getting in line was easy; as usual, it only cost 4RMB ($0.70) to register. When I got into the doctor’s office I found a vacant stool next to his desk, which I decided was where visitors were expected to squat on. Actually, it kept my back quite straight during the consultation. After I described my condition, he walked around me and grabbed my neck bones with his left hand. His right hand began to massage the sides, perhaps in order to check for dislocation or abnormalities. When he was finished, he suggested a medical massage and an x-ray.
I laughed a little at the x-ray and began to make my case against it. Dr. Henry would never require me to get an x-ray for this kind of discomfort. (Maybe it was just offered to make me feel better… who knows.) When the only option was a “massage”, I felt a natural flight-response pull me towards the door. I tried to make it clear that my chiropractor in the US would never prescribe a massage for this kind of bone-related issue. However, this Chinese doctor couldn’t imagine any other way of dealing with it.
After I politely shifted into the hallway and said “Zai Jian”, I found myself at the elevator, waiting with a random group of patients. A curiosity began tugging at me. “How wrong could this massage be? What if it could help? What would be so wrong with trying this?” The others entered the elevator and waited for me. I stepped back, and let curiosity take me into the doctor’s office again.
Chinese Chiropractic (Part 2) continues here…