About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chinese Medicine Part 3: When it hurts

We live in a toxic world, no matter how well you sleep, how loyal you are with your exercise, and diet. With work and stress it is easy to get out of balance. When Taiwanese get out of balance and become tired, with back ache, neck ache, poor sleep head ache, they quickly get some traditional treatment before making the appointment to see the Doctor. Part of a healthy regimen or as a treatment there is massage 按摩 an (4th) mo(3rd), cupping ba(3rd)guan(4th) , cupping with bleeding 血  fang (4th) xie(3rd), and scraping sha(1st) gua(1st). If those do no work then it is off to the Doctor.

I try to get a massage twice a month. I would do more if I could afford it. The woman I have been going to does the deep tissue, Chinese acupressure massage. It is excruciating. I am making animal grunts and my face is contorting into grimaces of pain and torture, but afterward I am as loose as a goose and everything is all worked out. Occasionally she will give me some cupping therapy, occasionally I go get some cupping somewhere else. She charges 800 NT for an hour and half, I usually go during my lunch break. She doesn't speak any English and I have been going to hers for almost 2 years and it such a blessing because I hold stress in my neck and shoulders and with training so hard at the gym as well, its just wonderful.

When I lived in Korea the parents of some of my students were Traditional Chinese medicine doctors. Every Monday during lunch me and 2 co-workers would go for treatment. First she would start out with having tea with us and she was very intuitive. For their particular constitution my coworkers usually got moxibustion, and I always got cupping and blood letting along with acupuncture. The blood letting is used with the same cups (like glass jars), they suction your skin into the cup and instead of leaving you there for some minutes, after the blood rises to the top, they get a little pin and start jabbing you and all the "bad blood" is released. It feels great. They show you what the blood looks like and it isn't the nice red liquid that you would think but dark, congealed, blobs, that looks like grape jelly. When I was in London I found a set of cupping jars (plastic) and bought it. It is now in  my folks home in storage, but whenever I went home I had my my mom help me (to her utter disgust.)
Photo taken of me in Seoul, S.Korea of cupping/blood letting.
I see some of my students come to class with their necks scraped raw. They were probably coming down with something and their folks used scraping to release the "bad chi". It really works. I have seen people use the lids from their Tiger Balm for scraping and I have 2 little tools for scraping/acupressure massage, one that is wood and the other stone.

Any of the above treatments can be done at home, the Chinese Medicine Doctor or the neighborhood traditional massage place of business (not to be confused with other types of massage places).


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