Friday, February 1, 2013

100 Things I Love About Korea # 52: Replay - Acupuncture

This is a repost from March 7, 2008.

So if you've been reading along, you know I've been having some troubles with my back. I feel like at old man at the ripe age of 30. I guess 2 decades of hard sports (football and futbol) have taken their toll on me. My friend Anne Cave keeps telling me I need to take up swimming. She's probably right, but there's just something so stress relieving about the competition and physical contact of soccer. I'm not ready to give it up yet.
To deal with the pain and muscle tension in my upper back, I've been trying out Eastern medicine. It's really more than acupuncture. The whole process takes more than an hour.
When I get to the doctor's office the first thing I notice is the mild aroma of some herbs or roots brewing somewhere in the background - maybe ginseng, I don't know. If there is a line, I get a cup of some herbal tea, which is very brightly colored - red, orange, or purple - kind of like hot koolaid. Then one of the nurses leads me to a heated table. I spend the first 20 minutes laying on my back on a heat pad (in addition to the table which is already heated) and with a hot rock on my stomach. Sometimes this heated table is so hot that by the end of the hour, my legs are drenched with sweat. Koreans believe that very warm environments are health inducing. (When we visit moms in the hospital after giving birth, they are dressed in sweat suits, and the room temperature is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit!)

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