I woke up today with an aching back and a stiff neck for reasons I don’t really know, but I can probably blame my sleeping position, maybe. My back feels like a plank of wood which I can’t move, I can’t even move my shoulders – not even to shrug. Anyhow, so I was suffering the whole day and my Chinese colleague even gave me a mini acupressure massage at the office (the joys having a multicultural workplace). She told me that I should go for acupuncture to treat it which is an advice that I gladly followed as soon as I got out of work.
I went to TCM Acupuncture Therapy Center which is not one of those questionable massage parlors scattered around Al Barsha. There were two Chinese men waiting for their turn, one Caucasian guy who I overheard went there for a leg injury that he got from playing football and a Lebanese woman who looks like a regular in that place as the receptionist was talking to her in a more personal level. In my head I was thinking that if this place gets Chinese regulars then it must be good, so I patiently waited for my turn with the receptionist as she handed out the receipt to a Chinese lady who just finished her session.
I told the receptionist what my problem was: a stiff neck and a backache, I asked her if acupuncture is the best treatment that I should do to cure it? She asked me if this is the first day of this problem then she can probably recommend a head, shoulder and back massage instead. Well to tell you honestly, I was not really all excited for an acupuncture as I hate needles. Knowing myself with a threshold of pain close to none, I don’t think I will ever get over the idea that I will prick myself with dozens of needles to cure an aching back. So I accepted her offer of a head, shoulder and back massage.
I was lead to a small room and my masseuse asked me to remove my shirt. She covered my back with a warm towel which gave me an instant relief from the muscle pain. She then started to glide her hands on my back and she immediately gasped in surprise: Oh my God! Your back is so stiff! See? See? Can you feel the “click click” sound when I put pressure on it? When was the last time you had a massage? Two years ago?
I wasn’t sure if I’d laugh because of her unapologetic frankness or if I should take offense on the bad things that she just said about my back? Well it’s actually true that I can hear the “click click” sound everytime she puts pressure on my back, specially that area in between my ribs. It was both painful and relieving for me, more on pain though. She then told me that I must have a 1-hr massage and not only 30 minutes, she didn’t sound like she’s trying to upsell on me or something – she sounded more like I absolutely need it, so I said yes. She then suggested that she will also do the cupping on me for 5 minutes at no extra cost just so my back will not be as stiff as it is and I will be relieved from pain more quickly. I then said yes again.
For those of you who are not aware of cupping:
Cupping therapy is an ancient Chinese form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps).
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum on the patient’s skin to dispel stagnation — stagnant blood and lymph, thereby improving qi flow — to treat respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis. Cupping also is used on back, neck, shoulder and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Well to tell you honestly, I have been wanting to try it out because as you can see on the photo, it looks relaxing. Well believe you me, it’s not! It’s not at all relaxing – at least for me. As soon as my lovely masseuse placed all of the cups on those problematic areas of my back, I winced in pain and asked her to immediately take it off. The cups didn’t even stay on my back for more than 60 seconds and I was already in pain. When I got home, this was what my back looks like:
Well just imagine if I did let the masseuse leave those cups on my back for 5 minutes as what she was intending to do. I don’t blame her though since I have a very low tolerance in pain which some people doesn’t quite understand. I am currently lying on my bed now and my back no longer feels like wood, it actually feels like a hundred horse ran over me. So yes, whoever loves to do this sadistic procedure is a masochist. I’m not saying though not to do it because it does have some really good benefits, it’s just not for me as it’s too painful for the sissy that I am.
Amount paid: AED180 for 1hr of head, shoulder, back massage with less than a minute of cupping. 🙂
Day 2 update: left photo was taken at the same time that I created the blog, right photo was taken the next day. It turned dark violet. My back is now normal though, I mean I can move it now and it doesn’t feel like a wooden plank anymore. The bruises though are hurting like hell. Just the bruise now, at least. :-/