Tag Archives: Massage

A Cautionary Tale

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“You haven’t been updating your blog quite a while. Is anything wrong?”

I have heard this in last couple of weeks from people in person and via Wechat. The answer is usually the same. So, here has been what is up with me, lately.

The body and mind craves routine and pattern, and sometimes, when habitual things become disrupted, it’s hard to try and find that sense of balance again. About a month or more ago, I hurt my foot while writing something extremely meaningless for money. It may sound silly, but a person really can hurt themselves while writing. Being a writer requires long hours in a chair staring into a laptop monitor. It’s the incremental drip-drip of bad posture over a prolonged period of time — especially if you are sitting with your foot in a bad position. Like this…

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Because of this, I woke up one morning back in October with an extremely sore foot. It’s an affliction I like to call “Writer’s toe.” Essentially, after a long time in a bad position, the ligaments in your foot become sprained. It makes it hard to walk. You end up limping for a few days and it goes away. This was not the first time I had this, and it likely will not be the last. Instead of staying off my feet and letting those inflamed ligaments heal, I did something very stupid. I was up against a deadline for a magazine article I had to write. It was about Wuxi, and I needed pictures to submit with my text. So, I had to get on a train, go to Sanyang Plaza and take photos. For five hours, I limped around Wuxi with my camera. To make matters worse, I had to go to Qishuyan the next day on something related to my day job. More hours of walking on a bad foot. The day after that, I couldn’t walk. At all. But, like the hardheaded moron I can be sometimes, I tried to go on with my day to day life without properly resting and staying off my feet.

Then, I made matters even worse. This is the “cautionary” part that the title of this post refers to. After weeks of hobbling around Changzhou, I decided to let a traditional Chinese medical doctor “fix” my foot for me. He explained what he wanted to do via Wechat, and the translation function garbled it. I really didn’t understand what I was consenting to. He first gave me a general massage, and that was relaxing. Then, he started scraping my food with a piece of plastic. That was a bit painful. Then, he started stabbing my afflicted toe and ligaments with a push pin. It was excruciatingly painful. When I looked down at what he was doing, I saw he was squeezing out blood — almost as if he were milking my big toe. As a result, I limped out of the massage place in more pain than what I went in. More time went by, and I finally listened reason. I spent a lot of time on my sofa watching horror and sci-fi movies and eating delivery pizza. In short, never let a TCM doctor do something to you when your really don’t know what he is actually telling you. Had I knew he wanted to do actual bloodletting, I would have said no.

So, this issue with my foot was one matter. The other issue is balance in life. Once a routine becomes disrupted, it’s hard to put it back together. Plus, I have been trying to add new routines to my life recently. I also have monthly column in Open Magazine, and there are other things like Steemit.com where I have been blogging for money. I am going to the gym everyday, and today I saw that I was down to my lowest weight ever in China. Yay for me! Also, I am trying to learn a lot more about the technical side of computers and technology — which means my mind has been swirling with talk of motherboards, PCI slots, and driver software as of late. So, really, it’s a case of trying balance all the new behaviors and endeavors with the old ones of like my love of wandering.

Massage Differences in Jersey

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If you want to hear or speak Mandarin in New Jersey, the best thing to do is get a massage. Such differences are fundamentally different in Monmouth County than it is in a city like Changzhou.

First, there are all the prostitution stereotypes to contend with. Massage places and spas in China can sometimes be a front for such ellicit business ventures. The more legit places tend to be cloaked Chinese traditional medicine. Typically, these places are either storefronts or whole building billed as “spa hotels.”

In New Jersey, it is not the same. Chinese styled accupressure places are typically located in shopping malls. Many of the customers go to the mall to buy one thing, and then getting work done on their back or neck results as an impusle buy. As in, “Ooh! I want a massage, too!”  The places usually tend to be very spare, and the only bit of decor might be reflexology charts. The other notable difference tends to the equipment. In Jersey, massage places tend to use specialized chairs that allow the massuese to focus on a person’s back, neck, and shoulders. There are also tables. Typically, most massage places in Changzhou tend to only use the table. Neither me nor my friends have more than a very few massage chairs — just the tables.

Interestingly enough,  I have only seen Chinese immigrants and green card holders working at these places. You never see a non-Chinese person. Only on one occasion did I get a massage from a second generation Chinese-American who could speak English fluently. In most cases, many of these workers can barely speak broken English beyond, “How many minutes” and knowing body parts. Conversation between parlor workers always tends to be in Mandarin.

It would be a mistake to think these types of Chinese-centric businesses are common across the USA. I have seen mall massage joints in West Virginia that employed no Chinese people at all. In many regards, this is just one, of many, examples of how multicultural New Jersey can be.