â†µShould you stumble into a Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic, here's what they'll probably do to you that won't work, will leave odd marks on you, and will cost you money in the process. (I'm just saying.) â†µâ†µ
â†µCupping: The placement of vacuum sealed cups on your skin. Usually, what will happen is this: doctor sets some kind of fire inside the cup, a sight as reassuring to the patient as a surgeon pulling down their mask for one last swig of Dewar's before picking up the scalpel. Then, with the flame creating negative pressure inside the cup, it is placed on the skin, often on the torso. â†µâ†µ
â†µWhat does this do? It allegedly draws toxins out of the body, improves digestion, and "improves circulation." 19th century doctors agreed on these points, but on drinking whiskey, not about cupping. Apologies for the confusion. â†µâ†µ
â†µIt also leaves ghastly hickeys all over your body, turning your skin into a human hyena-spotted lesion coat. (See photo for the lovely results.) â†µâ†µ
â†µAcupuncture. Needles in the skin. You've seen it. Your new age aunt swears by it. You attempted it once with a toothpick and a few napkins after a few 2-for-1 margaritas at TGIFriday's once, and you don't go back there anymore because, like most businesses, they hate it when you bleed on their staff. Does it work? It may, though whether the effects are psychosomatic or not is up for grabs. If you're extra daring, you can try the variety where a highly trained technician with at least three weeks of prior experience will hook up the needles to electrical current. It's either supposed to feel like a gentle buzzing, or your hair is supposed to burst into flame as you leap three feet off the bed screaming. It's China! It could go either way, really! â†µâ†µ
â†µ"Nutrition." The Chinese pharmacy is a forbidding, terrifying, and alien place of powders, roots, and pills you're better off not asking about. Ground parts of any animal are popular, which is why male tigers see Chinese hunters and run for the hills, since the market for tiger penis exists solely for the purpose of feeding the Chinese pharmaceutical market's insatiable hunger for herbal impotence drugs. Also, if you're sick, you'll be given something called "health soup," which I've had. If you want a cheap version of "health soup," take a bowl of potpourri, pour two tablespoons of citronella bug repellent into it, and then warm for five minutes over medium heat. It smells just like that, tastes worse, and does have the beneficial effect of taking your mind off the horrible pollution-flu you have in your first month in China. A burning throat and explosive intestinal stuttering will do that to anyone. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.