A Cup of Wellness in Korea

From sitting in baby chairs for a year at my school in Hong Kong, I had developed some serious neck and back pain. It had gotten to the point that it was giving me frequent migraines. I had visited a chiropractor in Cheonan, Dr. Steve at Well Spine Y-City. His treatments were effective and I was pleased with the results, but after going twice a week for a month the costs began to add up. I decided to turn to holistic medicine and give Eastern medical practices a try. An upside to Korean healthcare is that alternative medicine is added to your healthcare plan. Score!


Hellppppp, I’m stuck in a baby chair and can’t get up!

I went to my coworker’s husband’s office in Shinsagae where he specializes in chiropractic care and Chinese medicine. Once I arrived, I was promptly led into the doctor’s office for a wellness check and assessment. Fortunately, I had a translator to help relay my current aliments. My coworkers and I had previously suffered an awkward hospital moment where words got mixed up and pants were accidentally taken off. Lost in translation moment #102

To begin, he did a pulse test to check for any current problems within my body. Apparently, I have chronic fatigue and my liver is working too hard. Of course I’m fatigued; being a teacher is exhausting! As for my liver, I blame the soju. After the assessment, he informs me I am getting the works today: electro magnetic massage, cupping, and acupuncture. I was asked to lie on the chiro table to have my spine adjusted. A few snaps and cracks and I was then led into the next room. Not understanding Korean, this was a little stressful because I had no idea what to expect. This is one of the joys of being an expat; it’s always an adventure.

I was motioned to change into a robe and lie on a mini table. Besides my feet hanging off the table, it was a nice setup. The technician turned on the neck massager and a red light to keep me warm. 10 minutes later she came back in and motioned for me to flip over. She starts putting suction cups on my back for electro shock therapy and cranks it up. My back muscles tighten and release at rapid speed. What a strange sensation. 10 minutes later the Doctor comes in to do the cupping. Not going to lie, I was quite nervous. He starts poking my back with tiny needles to release blood, and then covers the area with a suction cup. I was expecting pain but all I felt was immense pressure. After 5 minutes, the doctor comes in to perform the last procedure, acupuncture. He inserted about 10 small needles in my neck and upper back, which is also painless. After the round of treatments, I felt a little weak and dehydrated. This is common because cupping releases the bad toxins from your body.

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All in all, cupping and acupuncture was a pleasant experience. Both of these treatments are great ways to manage pain, stress, and a variety of health issues. I wish I was able to have more treatments especially because of the benefits and it’s cheap! It was only $7 USD compared to the $60+ holistic practitioners charge in the U.S.


Benefits of cupping and acupuncture

*Less pain

*More energy

*Better circulation

*Releases toxins

The Downside?

Your back looks like you got attacked by an overzealous lover.

What are your thoughts on alternative and holistic medicine?

Be Well,