Life of a Dutchie

It's all about me, what I'm doing, where I'm going, what I'm thinking, what I shouldn't be thinking…

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Like some of you know I have a serious injury at my right shoulder/neck/arm, partly because of a car accident I was in over a year ago, partly because of all the computer work I do and being extremely right handed. After being untreated for over a month since I arrived here, I went to a hospital to get some treatment, see an earlier blog. I got some Tui Na then, which helped for the weekend, but then my symptoms returned again. So it was time for another round of Chinese medicine…

My office mate took me to the hospital relatively close to the campus, to the acupuncture department. After I shortly described my problems (and she translated as far as she could), I had to pay and treatment started. It was the first time I underwent acupuncture. After I already had the dry needling back home, I have to say that this was peanuts, although sometimes it felt a bit similar (although much less painful!). After 20 minutes of laying still and having problems breathing (there wasn’t a hole for the head in the bed) the needles were taking out and I thought I was done. Guess again! Suddenly I felt something very strange on my back, like someone was grabbing my muscles and lifted them up a bit. Apparently after acupuncture it’s time for cupping.

After I got over my first surprise I could feel the cups sucking in my skin and muscles. Sometimes it felt like they were ‘walking’ over my back, sometimes it felt like many hands were pulling me up. It was a bit painful, especially at the ‘problem areas’, but it wasn’t so bad. After 10 minutes they were taken of and the doctor put some patches on the needle spots and a big one on my neck which had to stay there for 4 hours. Not exactly sure what it did, but it’s probably helping with getting the bad stuff out of my body. Some places were bleeding during the cupping, and apparently that’s a good sign, it’s the ‘cold’ that’s coming out.

According to the doctor I have traditional neck-shoulder syndrome. Best is to come in 3 to 5 times per week for now and relax my arm more. So best thing is to stay far away from the computer as possible… Yeah right, like that’s going to happen. Downside is that my chair at the office cannot get any higher, so I cannot relax my arms when using the computer. A new chair is not an option, so I ordered a pillow to put on it, hope it helps. Otherwise I may have to find a new chair myself, that’s probably cheaper than all this therapy. Have to look into what’s insured at this moment and what will be insured by the university when my registration is finally done, till then the intense therapy has to wait, but I will be back.

This weekend I also visited a massage place in my neighborhood all by myself. I looked it up online and thankfully I had the precise address, otherwise I was probably not able to find it. I had to go upstairs and was pointed into a small room with 2 small beds. I could put my stuff on one bed (they never let me put my bag on the floor) and had to lay down on the other. I used my hands to indicate I wanted a whole body massage since English was something they really didn’t speak. I had to take of my clothes and wear some sort of blue short over my underwear.

I don’t think a lot of white people come here for a massage (or even be in that neighborhood; there was a girl in a shop that yelled to her colleague to come and watch when I cycled by). One girl came in just to look at me and said I was beautiful (the only English word I heard there, although I have the feeling she came back later and said something in English, but I couldn’t understand and wasn’t sure she was talking to me). Later she came back in again and even stayed for a minute or so. I think they were amazed by the size of my thighs.

When you go get a massage in the Netherlands you’ll be in a calm, warm room with soothing music. Here you’re not. Like I said, it was a small room with 2 small beds. There were two small windows towards the hall with some plastic and curtains. The door was also more a curtain than a door. I could hear everything that was going on out there; a fight movie, some music, talking, laughter, walking and sometimes running around, people that talked to my masseuse now and then through the curtains, and the sound of clapping and tapping on other peoples bodies.

She was pretty tough, but not too much. It was both painful (like expected with my muscles and injuries) and nice and a bit relaxing. Back, shoulders, neck, legs, arms and very intensely my belly. Too bad she didn’t do my feet, but since you can get a foot massage pretty much everywhere (and is sometimes the core business), that’s probably separate. She ended with a short scalp (and ear) massage. I think I have a lot of tension there as well, because some areas she touched felt like I had bruises there. She did some tapping, knocking, finger flicking and what not and then I was done. It took about 90 minutes in total. Damn, times runs fast!

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One thought on “Traditional Chinese Medicine

  1. Sorry to read about your car accident. Did this happen in the US?

    When I was in Taiwan 2008, I remember that everything was cheap – with the exception of the one massage I had in a luxury massage parlor… and this was so very painful! Much unlike I had expected; and I did not even feel better afterward. Like in your case, although I could order a “full body massage” from their English folder, this did not imply a foot massage. I actually complained why “whole body” does not contain “feet” (particularly when it is so expensive), but they did not seem to understand. When a friend told me how extremely painful his foot massage was – performed by a guy who looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger –, I thought that it was perhaps better that way. 🙂

    The most intriguing question is, however, whether this traditional procedure did you any good? Did your pain go away for a while, at least?

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