One thing that we have wanted to try for a long time is some traditional oriental medicine. While Koreans have a unique diet that also aids in good overall health, the practice of oriental medicine in highly regarded here and is even paid for by our government health insurance.
One practice we’ve been really curious about is that of Acupuncture. Nearly every Korean we know has tried acupuncture at some point in their life, but many were afraid that foreigners would not like it, so we were cautioned about trying it. However, when the opportunity arose for us to give it a try during our church’s annual health screening day, we were ready to see what it’s all about. Being that the health screenings were free, made it even better. (Although, unlike these kinds of treatments in America, going to an oriental medicine clinic in Korea will cost you about $8.)
The doctor asked both of us what pain we were currently experiencing, and let’s just say that Taekwondo class left us with no shortage of answers. Griffin explained to the doctor that he may have a pulled muscle in his leg and I have a couple of sore knees. Griffin braved the needle first (of that I am really glad!). Since Griffin had explained to the doctor that his pain was in his left leg, we were a little surprised that he inserted a needle into his right foot. The doctor assured us that he knew what he was dong. 😉 I was a little startled when the doctor began really twisting the needle into Griffin’s foot. When it was pretty deep, I had to ask if it hurt, but Griffin said he couldn’t even feel it, which made me feel a lot better. Another needle was soon placed in his other foot and he was asked to be still for about 20 minutes.
Next was my turn. Again, to my surprise, my knee pain was treated with needles inserted into my upper left arm and my left hand. I didn’t feel the arm needles at all, but the one he put into my left pinky finger did smart a little.
There are many theories about how acupuncture works, but one of the most commonly held beliefs is that of “Gate Control”The “Gate Control” theory of pain management asserts that a stimulus, such as acupuncture, closes certain nerve gates by strategically overloading them with impulses and thus reducing pain signal transmission. which states that the needle can basically inhibit a pain stimulus and block the pain pathway of the spinal cord.
Although many people think that acupuncture is just a placebo, I have to say that I was a believer before I ever tried it. My grandmother, who suffered from terrible arthritis, could not make a fist before she tried acupuncture. Several sessions later, she said her hands hadn’t felt that good in years. Her doctor explained to her that if she had begun acupuncture treatments when the arthritis first began, it would never have gotten that bad.
As for me and Griffin, we have mixed reviews. My knee pain is all but totally gone, but that could be due to a night off from Taekwondo and the ice I applied to it for several hours. Griffin says his muscle pain is mostly unchanged. But, could we benefit from a few more treatments? We’re definitely considering it.
If something is bothering you, we highly recommend trying something new for a change. You just might be surprised at what oriental healing arts can do for you.
Here is a quick video with some pictures from our experience. Hope you enjoy!