A Travellerspoint blog

September 2013

Medical Massage...

sunny 27 °C

So today I went to see my Chinese friend for lunch.
Nothing strange there - She owns a restaurant in town and I cooked Christmas dinner there for everyone last year (hopefully a tradition that will continue this December as well!)
I told her that I hadn't been sleeping well and that my back, neck and shoulders were in desperate need of a massage.
She advised me that in our town there is a special kind of hospital that is run by blind people who specialise in using their hands as their sense of touch is heightened by their inability to see.
Needless to say I was intrigued and out the door we went to get on the number 20 bus for about 5 minutes or so, all for the extortionate price of 20p!
We arrived at a rather shabby building with a worn down medical cross sign outside.
Through the apparently popular plastic meat curtains we entered.
It looked a little like a make-shift hospital concocted when an unforseeable war suddenly strikes an area.
Hospital beds in odd places, dark little rooms and corners with muttering, hushed voices and people in distressed white coats floating from what appeared to be patient to patient.
I was seated at a cluttered glass table with my friend and a young woman clad in an aforementioned white coat.
She asked relative questions; my age, where I live, my profession and what appears to be the problem...
My friend dutifully translated both ways until the young woman left into one of the rooms to the side, only to return moments later with an older gentlemen, somewhat more befitting of the coat, with a white stick guiding his way to the desk and to me.
He asked my friend if I was in great pain and if an injury had been the cause of my discomfort, I advised of the no such injury but described my medical issues as more of an ache, a constant ache, like my muscles were too weak to hold me together anymore.
My friend advised me to turn in my chair so my back was to the gentlemen who began to move towards me, using the edge of the desk to find me.
His hands were warm and unthreatening as he placed them on my shoulders. A little pressure here, a gentle squeeze there and some quick questions at my friend then lead him to put his hands between my shoulder blades. Bam. The source of my ache was located.
I was moved to one of the beds in plain sight of every other person in there and told to lie face down with my head in the little face-hole in the table/bed.
A white sheet was placed over me and another man was called over. Even though the situation was quite surreal, knowing my friend was sat there on the bed next to me watching everything unfold made me feel safer than had I been alone so my ability to actually relax was much easier.
For half an hour this other man, equally befitting of the white coat he wore, applied hard and accurate pressure to different points of my back, my shoulders and my neck.
After 20 minutes or so I was advised to lie on my back as he massaged my shoulders, neck, head and forehead - pushing all of the pressure points until I felt almost ethereal.
It was like he knew where my body needed attention before I did. He kept applying pressure then asking my friend to ask me if it hurt and it did, every time - not from what he was doing, but rather from his heightened sense of where the energy was being blocked in my body.
I was then told to sit on the chair as he finished my shoulders and neck with some stretching and pulling - I think I grew a whole inch by the end of that!
I paid my 30 RMB (a whole £3) for the experience and was told to come back regularly to help ease the ache away completely.
I was told by the first man that the reason for my aches and pains could be down to three things:
1. My bed is not supporting me properly when I sleep.
2. My head hangs forward more often than it should, so I must work on keeping my head up and my neck strong.
and my personal favourite -
3. I'm letting too much cold wind get to my neck and it's getting into my bones.

I love China, Chinese people and their views and interpretations of the needs of our bodies.
For a thorough and in-depth half an hour sports massage for £3, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm not in there several times a week!

Posted by Lady Mantle 00:19 Archived in China Tagged medical china cheap energy body massage blind_doctors Comments (1)

Back to China :)

After a summer holiday in the UK...

sunny 28 °C

So... after having been in China for 10 months, and then spending 5 weeks in the UK to catch up with old friends over the summer, I find myself back on my home soil - China.

It's strange to go from living somewhere so familiar for a such a long time, to move to somewhere so different in so many ways, only to feel more at home and at peace with yourself in your new surroundings rather than your old ones.

China is so incredible and has been the best decision I think I've ever made. Asia is so beautiful and so are the people, their cultures and how they treat people. I feel so at home here and welcome. When I finally returned, people welcomed me with love and open arms and I've never been so happy to be anywhere in the world.

Obviously the proximity to other Asian countries is ideal for travelling and allowing me to see other wonderful cultures on this side of the world, but more so than that, it allows me to continue soaking up the atmosphere and really emerge myself in the culture and customs and especially the language of this amazing country.

Ay, there's the rub! The language! It still eludes me but everyday I feel as though another word or the correct pronunciation sticks in my brain a little longer. It's so unfamiliar having to use tones and intonation to change a word rather than provide emphasis as we do in the English language. However, I welcome the challenge and will hopefully reap the rewards in due time.

People tell me I am an inspiration - I enjoy this idea but don't believe it. I feel very blessed to have found the strength to do what I have done but it was inspiration that drew me to this place; I can only hope that my story helps others find the inspiration to do something they will truly love with their whole heart as I do now.

At the minute however, I feel very disconnected from myself which is making me feel disconnected from China so this needs to be rectified immediately! I think my brief time in the UK has reset me somehow, so I feel like I have to re-tune myself to my surroundings and rejoice in them once again. A brief moment in time showed me that although I love it here, and I do, when something happens and I cannot find a friend here to console me, I still have people in my life, albeit in a different country, that can still bestow good wishes and vibes on me which is reassuring and gives me hope that even though rivers and oceans separate me from the most important people in my life, they are never truly that far away.

This new school year promises to be a fruitful one - my kids from last year are my kids this year so I get to enjoy their growth from the beginning until the end, which will be very rewarding. The plan for Chinese New Year is Cambodia, Vietnam and possibly Malaysia so watch this space for another look at the Asian world through the eyes of a soon to be once again optimistic western traveller :)

Posted by Lady Mantle 05:52 Archived in China Tagged cambodia malaysia vietnam work chinese_food travelling students teaching teachers foreigners tefl new_beginnings chinese_games starting_again Comments (0)

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