My one day massage ordeal

I’ve been visiting tuina 推拿 manipulative therapy on and off, for a few years. It’s interesting to note, this kind of method is widely available in China, called Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) 中医 but I would not have considered when I was in China back then, because, well I was young and youngsters visit Western Doctors. The fact is, I began to use it when I’m living in New York is beside the point: my advancing age is the key -:).

Over the years, I used a few different masseurs, male and female. Some are better than the other: skills, personality, availability, locality, etc. Recently I’ve been sticking with Dr. Steak. When a friend opened a new massage salon, I decided to check it out.

It opened a month ago. One hour body massage is $40 (or $400 for 13x) but $15-$20 tip is expected; foot one hour is $30, $10-$15 tips. I made an appointment at 1 pm with a girl friend who wanted foot massage. She is a sharp cookie, who knows a lot about massage or tuina. After a brief conversation with the masseur Mr. T, she decided not to go forward.

My back has been bothering me lately. My torso looked like the Spongebob, and walked like a shrimp. But after two visits with Dr. Steak, the second one being on Thanksgiving day (he called), I was feeling mighty fine and able. No pain whatsoever. My purpose of visit today, it’s more like maintenance, an extra security: I’m eager to play tennis, again.

Mr. T whose breath smelt smoke asked me what’s wrong with me and where/who had I visited. When I mentioned Dr. Steak, I thought he showed some disapproval. Once on the table, he gave me a quick rub down/exam, to see what and where the problems are. Then as he started to massage, he asked me if the previous masseur had done what he was doing. And if the previous masseur had done this and or that. In all honesty, I couldn’t remember.  Mr. T is very talkative (loudly) throughout the full hour. Mostly was about how superior he is than the rest. And how much more he’s doing than the rest. At one point I heard him cursing. One leg of the massage table seems shorter then the other three, constantly squeaking, and it slide easily. Toward the end of it, he made a big move that caused sharp crack sound, like something dislocated. Immediately I felt my back side becoming tender. He insisted that he just corrected my dislocation.
It could not be true! I have 闪腰, not 错位 liked he said – IF I had 错位, don’t think I could walk. By that time, I had enough of him. I just wanted out of that room. He said I should come back two more times that he’ll fixed me good. I tipped him $15 and left.

My back, with fire cupping at Dr. Shi’s office
As I am driving home with my girl friend, my right side feels worse. She asks me if I’d like to visit Dr. Shi near home with her – she’s going there to treat her sprained feet that she didn’t let Mr. T to treat.
On the table again, on the same day. Dr. Shi exams me first – the problem is 腰二 waist #2 穴位 acupuncture points – on the right side – it feels raw and painfully tender to the touch. He first treats me with little massage, then follows by acupuncture. One needle to the left side of my left hand. And more needles to my lower back. His assistant, a girl comes in to apply current to the needles; leaves me with a bell in case I need help. She comes back about 30 minutes later to remove the needles. Dr. Shi then applies a real fire cupping. Because it’s big, he explains, has to use fire.

This is my girl friend
Her cupping is not fire, using built-in suction device instead. She doesn’t like needles, so acupuncture is out. According to Dr. Shi, acupuncture is far more effective than massage. Not sure this is true tho. I get up from the bed, with the needle still in my left hand, I am asked to raise my right arm high and stretch toward left. Repeat that for a few times.
Now my right back is in slight pain but much better than after Mr. T. My plan to have extra maintenance/security so I can play tennis tomorrow is totally ruined!

My back (swollen!) area needs a larger cup, so the fire one is used. The built-in suction cup is for smaller area.
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more pix in the gallery

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