My class recently got an exchange student from Finland. She only came for 7 months, the perfect amount of time for her to become familiar enough with Beijing so that she can get around fairly easily, while at the same time maintaining a constant interest in going to new places, trying now things, meeting new people etc… As unfortunate as it is, the longer you stay here, the less interested you become in the outside world, and the more you tend to stay in your little corner….until someone with the curiosity of a new born baby comes along and adds a little spark to your life.
So, my friend renewed my spark and that’s how I ended up at a Chinese Medicine Hospital where I had my first professional Chinese back massage, stomach massage, acupuncture and cupping.
The doctor only spoke Chinese except for the word "relax", so I had to translate for my friend. I must say, when I remembered how frustrated I’d get just trying to order chicken and rice, I felt pretty proud of myself that I was able to understand most of what the doctor was saying, but I digress.
I told him that my back hurt so he massaged my shoulders and was able to tell me how I slept at nights. Then he wrapped his hand around my neck and pulled it hard, so that I heard a crick. He did that twice. It hurt a bit when he did it, but afterwards, my neck felt so relaxed and limber.
Afterwards, another doctor massaged my neck, upper back and shoulders which is exactly the kind of massage I’ve been looking for but could never find. Then, I took my box of needles and my disposable bed sheet that they give every patient, spread it on the bed and he did a stomach massage. When he was done, it was almost like my stomach was non-existent. I couldn’t feel it.
The first doctor came back and opened the pack of needles and stuck 2 in my shoulders, 1 in my head and a few in my arms and stomach. Initially,I felt a little prick, but nothing that lasted for long. The only strange thing was that every time I moved the ring finger of my right hand, the muscle hurt because of where he had stuck one of the needles. He placed a heating lamp over my stomach and left me there for about 15 – 20 minutes.
After he pulled the needles out, I turned over on my stomach and he got a container of little glass cups. He then lit a stick with fire and put the fire in the cups for a brief second then put the cups on my back. The cups created a suction and so my skin was pulled very tight. It felt pretty uncomfortable and first. I mean, it’s basically stretching my skin. I stayed there maybe 10 – 15 minutes before he pulled them off.
I’m really supposed to do a set of about 5 treatments because that’s how Chinese medicine works, SLOWLY.
At first I hated it when every semester my friends would leave and I’d have to make new friends, but actually, I really like when new people come to Beijing. Everytime I meet someone new, I get to experience Beijing all over again, make new friends and I’m guaranteed to learn something brand new.
My friend has 1 more month in Beijing. She mentioned something about the Peking Opera. I’ve never been, so I may just join her.