For a long time I have had back pain that comes and goes, as well as some tightness that goes over the side of one hip since I left Korea a year ago.
When I was in America, I went for three different massages and when I explained what hurt and where, while the massages were relaxing they did nothing for the problem. So I reached out to the GGI (Girl Gone International) wechat group here and asked for a recommendation.
I was directed to a clinic on the south side of the city and decided I would get the general health massage for 180 RMB (~$27). When I went to the clinic they brought me into a room and showed me a spine model. They showed where the pressure based on my posture was and where my posture should be to alleviate that. I told her the areas that hurt and she also pointed to my turtleneck and said we will work on that too. I figured my massage would begin right away, but first they needed to check my heartbeat and blood pressure to make sure I was healthy. I thought that was an interesting starting point.
I was brought into the room for my 1 hour massage. I told her what it felt like, that I needed to be stretched. I have been telling people for ages I feel like I needed to be pulled apart because of all the pressure in my spine, but nobody has understood that. My masseuse spoke enough English to ask if the pressure was okay or too hard. This was a clothed massage. I knew it would not be a relaxing one and it wasn’t, but it felt really good after. I was massaged between each vertebrae of my spine and along the base of my head. Interestingly, I had said my hip hurt but he barely touched it mostly concentrating on the tightness of the muscles along the spine and my turtleneck.
After the massage was over, they asked if I wanted to try cupping. This is where they put glass cups on your back and pull the air out of it so it creates a suction to the skin. It lasts about ten minutes and creates a slight pinching sensation. When it was over they pulled them off and showed me a picture of my back. She said that because my back is pink it is healthy. Sometimes people’s backs can turn purple or black after cupping and it is an indication that their back health is poor. Cupping helps bring the toxins from inside the body to the top of the skin. Within a few days to a week the marks will disappear.
On my way out I realized I paid $25 for the cupping and massage (she gave me a discount). My back felt so much better and my hip was in less pain. He barely touched it, but somehow it was better maybe due to the tension in my back my hip had begun to hurt?
I went back for a second appointment last week and it felt nice and more problems were worked out. I need to keep going back, but I am taking a small break until after payday. It has made a huge difference in my back pain and having not been in a week, I can now start to feel some tension returning. So until my back is better, I assume it will be a few more sessions I will go.
I really encourage anyone back home to give a skeletal-muscular massage a try. It is like a deep tissue, but not relaxing, and it does help break up tension. As for cupping there are two types and I enjoy both of them. One is the traditional glass cupping and the other is a rubber suction that is put on the problem area where small electric pulses help to break up the tension in the muscle.
Trying alternative therapies for pain management or correcting your posture could give you some relief.