All the exhaustion and stress from my first few weeks finally caught up to me (I hope this means things will for real start getting easier?) and I could feel it. Especially my shoulders. By Friday afternoon I was in PAIN. Like I was carrying 50 extra pounds directly on my shoulders. That evening, while binging on poutine and caesars with a friend/coworker, we got on the topic of stress (trying to relieve some) and she mentioned her acupuncturist. I had never been to one, but have always been interested so I asked if she wouldn’t mind if I tagged along. She said it wouldn’t be a problem, wouldn’t be very expensive, (I’m still waiting on my Korean insurance to come through), and she’d meet me at the metro station. So that’s how I had plans for Saturday morning.
Nervous but excited, I met my friend the next morning and we got started. First, I met with one doctor who just wanted to know what I do for exercise/stress relief. Then he took my pulse and blood pressure and said I was a little bit anemic. Um… okay. Next, we went to a room with two beds and the doctor asked me where on my back I felt pain. I said just my shoulders, but he seemed to think I was in pain all over. I was given a shirt/gown and told to lie facedown. Next thing I knew, I felt a little pinch in my shoulder and the needles were in. Apparently I had like fifteen, but I only felt the first one.
After being still for about five minutes, they brought in little chargers and connectors, and pulsed electricity through the needles. The ones on my shoulders and mid-back felt wonderful, but the ones in my lower back hurt! I thought they had stuck them right in my spine, but they were in the muscles next to my spine. They said it hurt me there because that’s where I was holding my stress. I swear it was all in my shoulders though, so I don’t know.
After the needle zaps (idk what it’s called), they took everything out, wiped my back with something, and then stuck little domes on my back. These also pulsed electricity to my muscles. Except instead of regular zaps like with the needles, these pulses changed every ten seconds or so. They would be long and spaced apart, then short and quick, then they would go in circles, and then waves. They also differed in intensity. Again, my shoulders felt wonderful, but I cringed every time it hit my lower back.
After (afterafterafter) another ten minutes or so of the dome zaps, they took them off, wiped me down again, and stuck about six suction cups on me to suck the bad blood out. Not sure if it worked, but it felt cool…although now I’ve got six bruise-like circles on my back. If they weren’t perfect circles, they’d look like hickeys. After the bad blood was gone, they turned the bed on. Apparently it was a massage table with built-in massagers. It felt like someone was pounding my back with lacrosse balls and it was AMAZING. It was missing the ambiance and candles of a massage studio, but this did the trick.
Fifteen minutes later, I got dressed and the doctor wanted to talk with me again. He took my blood pressure again, and said I was normal. MIRACLE. He also told me I needed to run more (I countered with jump rope, and he agreed), and do more stretching so my stomach digests Korean food easier.
When it was time to pay, he said just to pay him next week. I figured it take a few sessions anyway to see changes, and even if they really aren’t getting rid of my bad blood, it was cheaper than a massage and felt amazing. I’ll definitely be going back.
I then met up with Alex to check out a little neighborhood called Hongdae. It’s famous for its Indie/college/artsy scene, as well as a lot of themed cafes. I originally was on a mission to find a cat café (I still am!), but instead we found a dog café!!! (SIDENOTE: a dog or cat café is where you go to drink coffee and play with dogs or cats. You do not eat them. Facebook friends are SO hilarious). It was puppy heaven!! There were two sides, big and little dogs, and free to enter. You just have to buy a drink (which are overpriced, but hey, dogs!!). They also had treats you could buy and feed the dogs, but only do that if you want to be trampled. I don’t think I’d even want to buy treats in the little dog section. The dogs could do pretty much whatever they wanted, including running up on the tables (hence, no food is served) and going pee as they please. The workers cleaned up the dogs immediately, but I’m still glad I wasn’t wearing nice shoes or clothes.
We could have stayed all day probably, but I did want to check out the rest of the Hongdae hoopla. It’s a pretty hopping neighborhood, with a whole street of just performers and singers, but there was also a lot of art and murals in the alleys/side streets. Pretty much my jam.
Today we got up early and did a crossfit workout (finally!), ran errands, cleaned, and relaxed. Here’s to another week!