I´m 30 years old (still working my mind around that I should be an adult (not going very well)) and my body is starting to act out. An old back injury came back and caused inscrutable pain for 2 days. It might have something to do with me getting hit by a car, doing nothing for 2 weeks and then going to China and train 4-6 hours a day, stupid body can’t even handle that…. It happened on a Thursday and the only thing that kept me afloat was painkillers and the thought of the massage I was getting on the Saturday.

massage-pain-china-mandarin-kungfu-relief-shaolinSadly my idea of a massage mixed with my really bad Chinese resulted in a package that I thought would include a 90 minute full body massage and hopefully instant pain relief. Instead it turned out to be a 10 minute face massage, 2 minute shoulder rub, 3 minutes trying to talk Chinese/understand that the massage guy wanted to know if the water my feet was in was the right temperature. This was followed by a 45 minute foot wash/pedicure/massage, very nice, but also slightly awkward since I don’t really like people touching my feet…. 15 minutes where spend on massaging my arms and legs including 2 minutes where he tried to stretch my leg upwards and started ramping in Chinese on something I can only assume was about my flexibility (it was actually good) and me in broken Chinese explain its because I do Kungfu at the Maling shaolin kungfu academy.massage-china-pain-kungfu-shaolin-training The last 15 minutes where finally spend on massaging my back, or at least 13 minutes of them, 2 of them where used on, at least I think, talking to the other masseuse saying that my shoulders where hard as concrete since he even had her reach over from the other bed to touch them…
But at least the beds were soft, i also think i would have enjoyed it at least a bit more if i hadn’t expected something completely different (something nerdy about Monthy Python and the Spanish inquisition)

I took a picture of the “menu card” at the reception of the place, pretty determent to have Mona, the Chinese translator at the school tell me what I actually ordered and which one I should point at next time. I really should get better at Chinese…

Sunday my back was still hurting, but at least I was off the pain meds, my new hope is that hard training will ease the pain, or at least move it to other parts of the body.
Hard training did NOT help…. Back on the pain meds…. Talked with the shifu about what to do, he gave me some stretching exercises and even offered to give me a little massage. That helped so I could then at least breathe without pain. Some of the other students mentioned a guy doing acupuncture in a nearby town that was cheap and good. Despite my distrust in alternative treatments I said yes, almost before they finished their suggestion for me to try it, anything to get the pain away and to be able to train again.

tucktuck-china-kungfu-training-shaolin-painA tuck-tuck was called after lunch and it turned out two other students wanted to join me and the translator as well. From the outside it doesn’t really look like much, and the inside (and the damp smell) didn’t change that perception either. The one thing that was positive though was the “doctor”, he listened very carefully when the translator told him about my problems and seemed genuinely interested in helping me.Chinese-medicine-acupuncture-pain-shaolin-kungfu-wushu He pushed around on my back in order to find the spots that were hurting before putting a ton of needles in me and even setting one of them on electrical impulses before letting me lie completely still for 30 minutes while feeling the electric beat in my muscles(interesting/awkward feeling). Then I got a massage followed by no less than 9 cups on my lower back, they are set on fire and then creates low pressure, forcing the blood to the area, the exact medical purpose is still eluding me though.needles-acupuncture-china-shaolin-kungfu-wushu-pain Something about that if the area is dark then I have bad Qi in the area. My Qi is apparently quite bad. The price for 1 hour treatment was the insane price of 25 Yuan (4$/3,5€) and that is the price no matter if you get 1 needle or 20, that is definitely not how it works in Denmark.needles-china-acupuncture-kungfu-shaolin-wushu-pain

The day after my back was surprisingly a lot better, despite the purple circles. The pain was still bad, but at least I didn’t have to do painkillers. I went back to the acupuncture place in the afternoon, this time alone, but with a written note about how I was feeling. Rather nerve breaking to go to a place where they are going to put needles in you and you have no way of saying anything they can understand and this time I also got needles in my shoulders and neck.China-acupuncture-cupping-pain-kungfu-shaolin-training-wushu In total I got 15 needles and 20 cups on my back (felt a little like a hedgehog). It went okay, even though I was a little uncomfortable with the situation, the doctor even called the school after to explain what should be done next, incredibly good service. On the third Day I could participate a little in the training (finally) even though my back was still sore, but now it was more because of the treatments than the pain. China-acupuncture-pain-cupping-shaolin-kungfu-wushuI even got a bruise on my lower back from the massage. I went back to the place again for the last time in this round. The doctor told me that my back needed a little rest and I should be careful of not getting draught/cold air on it. My back was still hurting but it was tremendously better.

cupping-china-medicine-pain-purple-kungfu-wushu-shaolinThrough the rest of my stay I had to go back to the acupuncture place for one more round after a few weeks. I will have to get it looked at proper when I get back home (for a slightly different price) since I still have a little pain, but I can participate in all training’s, except for jump and rolls/acrobatics (maybe not the biggest loss for me).

While I have been at the school some of the other students have had smaller or bigger injuries as well. The school has been so good to consider this in the training’s and to help the students get to the doctors or the hospital so they could get optimal care. If you stay here for a longer period of time with so many hours of training every day most people will experience some kind of injury at some point. It might just be a sprained joint but no matter what it is I feel really confident that the school will be able to help with it.

If it is something bigger or really bad (I have not heard about that here) make sure you have an insurance that will cover medical bills and home transport. If you have that covered I am pretty sure that nothing can go completely wrong (Murphy´s law does not apply because I say so)

I got the menu card for the massage place translated, and an explanation for what the place was actually for. Its more of a wellness place than actual massage. Girls wearing miniskirts didnt really give me a professional feeling either. When i asked if other things went on there i was told “probably not”, the guys don’t seem to mind the attire though.
The most peculiar thing you can get on the menu card, is an ovary massage, (translating that was not an easy task) after a rather long explanation i think i got it. It has something to do with women having given birth and the ovaries need to relax and let the body go back to normal (really not sure if i got it correctly). Anyhow, it will not be something i will be needing any time soon. But it makes sense than when the guys asked for it, not knowing what it was, they said “dont have” which then makes perfect sense.
Memo to self: find a proper massage place

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