Sooooo, a lot of interest this week for those of you who saw the picture of my back on Facebook. For those who didn’t, it looked a little like this:
It came from a massage and I’ll tell you how!
For a friend’s birthday we decided to treat ourselves to a massage. I say ‘treat’, massages in China are far more common and everyday so to say that it was a luxury is a little overstated. The massage which I got was a bit of a Rolls Royce and cost just under 300RMB, or £30 to those who speak that. For that, they are really quite happy to chuck you around, beat the knots out of your back and stretch you into positions that an Olympic gymnast would cringe at. Forget the therapeutic heaven that you associate with high-end spas and a day out with the girls (I imagine…), this was bone-crunching stuff.
They first started to see how well connected my arms were to my shoulders through various unsympathetic thrusts and, after seeming passing that test, they began slapping, beating and punching every other part of my upper and lower body to give me a real soothing experience.
All of this was nothing compared to the next punishing technique- the cups. The cups, we were told, were to drain out all of the bad fire from our bodies and give a healthier inner feeling. And peace. Bull-swear….. I’m sure I had more fire in my belly after that before. The first step was to start gently rubbing the wooden cups along the back, gauging how much ‘fire’ needed to be removed. Enough, it seems, so they placed a few tested cups on the back- if it bruises too badly, they don’t continue.
Next, they begin to place a few more on, all over the back to keep coaxing out the fire, if you like. As you can see above, they use flame to create the suction so that it can stick to the back like a barnacle.
Finally, they place as many as possible all over the back, seemingly for maximum discomfort and making me look like a budget sea-monster from Pirates of the Caribbean. At least my face wasn’t ridiculous throughout… oh wait.
Fully tortoised up- and to my horror- they simply left us in agonising pain for what seemed like an eternity. When they came back, I looked up expecting to see Autumn leaves falling, but apparently it was only 5 minutes. And it hurt. This is what it looked like when first taken off. Lumpy…..
Straight after this ordeal, they hoisted themselves up using a bar strategically placed above the table, and began kicking the crap out of me for a whole ten minutes. I’ve never felt so abused in all my life, and they seemed to think the whole thing was hilarious.
This is an odd thing to see for you guys, but it is pretty normal here in China. I certainly won’t be a regular however, and I am completely skeptical about any benefit to the body- I didn’t feel even a bit better!
Nevertheless, it is a story to tell, and I will post regularly with when the bruising decides to go down…. it hasn’t yet.
I’m off to the seaside this week, so everyone have a great time out there and take it easy!!