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.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chiro to the Stars: Managing Back Pain in Anping

Dr. Mark Signore checking my daughter

I was asked by three people this week about making an appointment with my chiropractor, so I thought I'd just write a post.

Call it an occupational hazard or byproduct of  modern living, but my back is messed! Bending over to help little bodies and picking them up, bad posture from the computer whatever, my back pain predates Tainan. I thought I did something having a major car accident at age 16 (we totalled my friend's car, the guard rail was singed into the motor). Or when I was a PTA in a nursing home, we were understaffed and had to lift heavy, often combative old people on a daily basis. So I've noticed the past 8 years or so whenever I get stressed out (bad sleep, argument, driving too much, etc) the left lower muscles seize up and gets rock hard. I always thought since my back was so strong and flexible it would in moments like this pull itself out of alignment.

In the summer of 2012, the expats of Tainan had our Beach Olympics. I didnt actually participate in the competitions but I did get a little too rowdy and fell hard and basically twisted my pelvis out  of alignment. My recovery has been a slow process. More like 1 step forward, 3 steps back ever since. The flexibility in my left leg still isnt the same as it used to be, I suffered from piriformis syndrome until I found Dr. Mark and even after being adjusted, have continual sciatic and shoulder pain that comes and goes in intensity (I'm sure standing all day doesn't help.)

Boy was I shocked when I saw my x-rays and did it all suddenly make sense.

My lower back is S curved and where it torcs is where my muscle often "seizes" up. Also one hip bone is smaller than the other and thus one leg is slightly shorter. This means my musculoskeletal has to seriously overcompensate so my head sits up on  my shoulders.

My back care regime is basically practicing yoga several times a week, weight lifting as heavy as I can in moderation and 2 full body massages a month. Before last year I also would go to the local physiotherapy clinic for some electrical therapy cupping and infrared lamps. It costs only 50NT ($1.70 USD) each time. I dont go there anymore because I just don't have the time,  I seriously need to rethink my current schedule. Its mostly just old people in there, the woman therapist speaks English. The clinic is across from the Fire station on Yonghua and Yuping Road, on the 2nd floor. Its nice to go there with my headphones and chill out for 30 minutes.

My Massage:Hurts So Good

The massage couple I go to are amazing. It costs 800NT ($27 USD) for 80-90 minutes for a full body traditional Chinese (deep tissue/meridian/tuī ná 推拿) massage. I have been seeing them religiously for 5 years. It's not your soothing, soft, Swedish style massage. I brought several expat friends there who only went once and never returned. Its excruciating--in a good way, if you like that sort of pleasure/pain--which I do. I'm muttering coarse words, and then drooling on the floor, eyes rolling in the back of my head, purring like a cat. After so many times, the woman (whom I prefer) knows exactly what I need, where I need it; her hands are a symphony of knuckles, elbows, oil, pounding and finger tips. Often a session includes a round of cupping (拔罐).The massage is good for stress release and also because I do regular weight bearing exercises. The cupping is good for circulation, blood and lymphatic health.

There were several times,when they were pressed for time and they both worked on me at the same time. Magical. I couldn't tell my legs from my arms, its a seriously mind altering experience. They also do foot/leg massages for 400NT, takes about an hour and is definitely not my cup of tea. After about a 5 minute foot soak in boiling mugwort water, all the sensitive areas on your legs and foot are prodded and poked and smacked. I was alternating between crying and laughing from being tickled. 

To get there from Tainan City go west on Mincyuan towards Anping. When you passed the light/intersection at Huaping, its your 2nd U-turn, flip one and park it. (439 Mincyuan Road Sec 4). Its the building on the end beside a side alley (Anping lane 406) that goes to Anping Road. They dont speak any English and its recommended you call first and make an appointment. Their hours are 9 am-9:30pm. 2269227 or 0931878923.

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
My TCM Dr thats in my neighborhood (Yonghua and Huaping) suggested I see his friend (also in my neighborhood) Dr.Su.The good Dr didn't adjust me the way Id hoped, or he didn't adjust me at all. With very little examination except reading my pulses (that might be all he needed), he threw acupuncture needles like darts into my shoulder, and hooked them up to a machine that sent excruciating electrical impulses. It seemed to work. When it was time for my left hip and sciatic, it was just too painful, I could barely stand it. 

After this treatment I had to sit and get my lower left back steamed with mugwort steam. I did this about 3 times, but it was just too excruciating  His office is on Yonghua in Anping between Yuping and Jiankang 3rrd Street, go passed the light where Xiao Bei Store is and its next to Toto's Hair Salon, on the 2nd floor. 

American Chiropractor in Anping

Nancy, Mark's wife with Alex

My buddy from San Diego was playing tennis and met Dr. Mark. I saw him 6 months after he and his wife moved from LA to Tainan to care for her sick mother. He has a sweet set up, state of the art scanners and tables. The first consultation is free and he will not adjust you without proper xrays. 

Although he is certified to x-ray (he had xrays in his office in LA), by Taiwanese law a clinic may not and also the Taiwanese medical system doesn't recognize chiropractic medicine as a legitimate medical science. Which is weird because tuī ná 推拿 could also include manual adjustments

Xray tech at home in his underwear

I went with my yoga buddy Aleks for our free consultation and xrays. He sent us to Beiman Rd near the train station. I guess this x-ray tech will take the xrays according to Dr. Mark's detailed requests. The xrays have to be standing at certain angles to see how gravity affects the alignment.

After the xrays, Aleks and I quickly returned for our adjustments. After that first visit every visit is 700NT and for me takes about 45 minutes to an hour, for Aleks less. He also adjusted my daughter for free. 

Dr Mark Signore's philosophy is that he shouldn't adjust a patient more than once or 3 times, it should not be a chronic therapy. He is such a holistic Dr and has helped heal people over so many years he came to his own conclusions in terms of diet and nutrition, unresolved emotional issues, mind/body connection and even delving into the spirit world. Just don't call him "New Age'  as he is a practicing conservative Catholic. He is very thorough and published his observations in a book.I cant tell you how refreshing it was to speak with someone who not only speaks English but is so professional.

 Natural Health Restoration Centre Dr Mark Signore: Spinal care consultation, spinal subluxation correction, energetic balancing 098-1111-675  06263-1515, 1-16, Xinle Road, South District, Tainan City 702. To get to his office from Tainan City go west on Jiankang Rd Sec 2, towards the beach. Passed the light where Giant bike store and Poya's  (Jiankang + Zhonghua W Rd) its the next light on your left. You'll see big, expensive, empty looking buildings, its there with the green sign.

Saturday October 19 at 4-8 pm Natural Health Restoration Centre will have free spinal consultation and check ups. At the United Love Garden (Rui Fu and Dadong night market square ). There will be  more than 100 stalls, including Dr. Mark's. All charity and food revenue will be donated to this charity. Natural Health Restoration Centre pitch will be in area B. 10月19日星期六下午4點到8點大東夜市廣場瑞復&美善聯合愛心園遊會。共一百多個攤位。所有義賣&美食收入全捐獻給此慈善机構。自然健康整復中心攤位在B區,免費脊椎諮詢和脊椎錯位檢查。歡迎大家告訴大家,前往支持此愛心活動。

"If you have become so habituated into the conventional belief mode that you think it’s normal for everyone to get cancer, then maybe for you it’s already too late. However, if you understand that your body was made to last for 120 years, you are still in the game. The human body was not designed so that the thyroid gland should become dysfunctional at 50 years of age, the heart seize at 60, and the liver become cancerous at age 70.  As mentioned previously, car parts are designed to fail after a prescribed time. But in nature’s biological assembly line, the parts are supposed to wear out together. If the systems of your body are breaking down prematurely, you have two choices; try to live with it, or change it. To change it (beyond just covering up the symptoms) will require a thorough and objective evaluation of your beliefs. Why? Because so far, your beliefs as to why you are sick and what’s needed to get well have obviously not worked. If they had, you would already be better." 
(from Dr, Mark Signore's book Heaven and Health.)


Hannah Holland said...

We tend to ignore the little things when we are busy, but unfortunately the years of hard work can take quite a toll. Luckily, you were able to find several practitioners who were able to help you. I hope that you continue taking care of yourself, for the sake of your daughter and yourself. Take care!

Hannah Holland @ BerkeleyCommunityACU

Kathy (杜 言 艷) said...

Thanks Hannah!

Jana Jani said...

Great. I think chiropractor greenville sc is the best Chiropractor in the SC. If you have any back pain, come here for removing it. I hope you will be so happy.
Thank you