Friday, November 11, 2011

Oriental Medicine

My life in Korea is so random!

After listening to me gripe about a backache this afternoon, a colleague mentioned a nearby place to get acupuncture. With nothing to lose, I set out on a mini-adventure. I say that because I wasn't exactly sure where I was going, but ultimately I arrived. 

The clinic looked clean and fairly modern... so far, so good. I had my blood pressure taken, and then it was time to take off my socks + shoes. The doctor asked me to hold onto a metal grip while he used a device to measure 12 different points on my wrists and feet. He then did some sort of analysis of my general health.

Afterward, I had a brief meeting with the head doctor -the one whose name is on the clinic door. He was a friendly man who spoke a little English, and he suggested 5 days of acupuncture. Fine.

First, the acupuncture:  I counted about a dozen needles as they went into my back; nothing too surprising. And then things got interesting. 

Next up:  Moxa^. I had no idea what to expect or what was happening, but when the doctor finished setting up the contraption, I asked him to snap a photo with my camera. Upon looking at the photo I realized that a small fire was burning over my back, supported by a few needles and special paper (his words). Wow. I don't know if I've ever been more still in my life, especially after he disappeared for 10 minutes.

After moxa, I had something like electrotherapy. No idea what the technical term is. I was hooked up to a machine, and 10 different currents were pulsating around my back for 15 minutes. Part of the time it actually felt like human hands were massaging the knot area, but it was only the machine.

Altogether a very random and interesting adventure. I've got an appointment tomorrow morning for session 2.


  1. That Moxa is mugwart and I am EXTREMELY allergic to it. The doctor told me (on this scale of allergicness) that a 1 or 2 was "kind of allergic" and a 3 was severely allergic. I was an 18! Did he ask you if you have any allergies?

  2. No questions asked (are you surprised?!)! Thank goodness I'm apparently not allergic to it... would've been bad to find out during.

  3. jen - that is so funny because i thought about contacting one today to find out if acupuncture would help sore (very sore) worn out feet. will you check it out for me and ask? i am desperate. i so badly miss running races. remember when you were my cheerleader at my 1/2 marathon? hope your back feels good real soon. it helped penny this last week too. xox a.n.