Who Was I to Judge?

“Well that’s just silly.” – Me before two months ago seeing cupping marks.

“Did I like cupping? Yes! Do it again!” – Me two months ago

Cupping Marks

So yes, I’m not a saint and have my own prejudices despite my intentions to keep my mind open much of the time. I would see women with the telltale circle bruises on their back often at the Jimjilbang that I visit regularly, even my usual scrubwoman. My thoughts would usually run down the silly, pity, or confusion paths. I didn’t dislike those I saw with the marks or anything like that, but I do feel I lost a modicum of respect for the recipients.

This was until I went to receive my first acupuncture treatment. I bought a pass on Groupon a few weeks back and figured I’d give it a shot since I was nearby. I walked in only to be told that they’ve never done anything like a Groupon. I felt like a right idiot until I heard the magic words, “However, we do take insurance.” My appointment was set for a couple hours from then. After filling about 6 pages with my information, conditions, etc. I walked around, had some lunch, and then it was time.

Not knowing what to expect, I arrived still in my workout gear in case things had to stretch. It turned out that this was a good idea and I highly recommend it, they put needles in your butt.


Back to the story. I was called to one of the private rooms. The Dr. (yep Dr.) and I spoke for a while about the benefits of acupuncture, what I would like worked on, where I was currently feeling pain, and could be expected both during the process and afterward. I laid down on the heated (yay) massage table wearing a gown & leggings. She ensured my comfort right up until the first needle struck. It didn’t hurt really, more the shock of it. Then she twisted it, and it felt like a deep ache under the site. None of the needles hurt except for places that needed it. I know that sounds silly, but I’m learning it’s pretty truthful. It was about 15 minutes of laying there on the heated massage table with a heat lamp on top (double yay).  Adding in the endorphins, I quite content on the table.

My next appointment started differently. The other Dr. came in and did standard soft tissue work on my back and asked if I wanted to try cupping. I hesitated, I had just told my husband that I thought acupuncture had a sound basis, but cupping wasn’t on the table. I waited because I didn’t want to deal with his teasing for weeks, it’s not like he wouldn’t notice! That lasted a moment before my true self said, “Absolutely!” She heated and placed cups on my lower back to bring blood into the area, up my spine to release the fascia, and around my ribs to loosen my diaphragm with winter illnesses. OK. She had me for 2 out of 3.

The next time they did it the first Dr. moved the cups all over my back in swirls and patterns. Throughout the treatment, she told me about the science behind releasing the fascia instead of trying to pressure it into submission like trigger point massages or the typical knotwork. She was definitely right: I didn’t feel the usual pull in forward fold, I could twist from side to side with more ease, and Graston with my PT was less painful. I continued to ask for cupping, each appointment giving that massive relaxation and smoothness feeling. I’ve since learned that this is highly popular among athletes and weightlifters, it makes sense.

Now I wear my circles with little thought when naked in the women’s area and feel a connection of sorts with the others sporting the same. We knew what made you feel better. The most amusing part was when my scrubwoman, who speaks little English, patted me and said: “you more Korean now.” An added benefit. 🙂

Interesting: One appointment with acupuncture I said I was anxious, she placed a couple more needles and I slept for 15 min. I never nap.


That Sciencey Stuff

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