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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Japan - All That It's Cracked Up To Be

Having had back pain in my 20s and 30s, and since not so bad, I can tell you that I've seen my share of chiropractors, acupuncturists and acupressureists, both in Toronto, Canada and in Ohtawara-shi, Japan.

For myself, acupuncture did not work.

I should tell you that after I had my back X-Rayed in Toronto a few years earlier, I knew I had a disintegrating disc in my spine, and two herniated discs in my spine, not to mention two lower lumbar vertebrae fused together since birth (a not too uncommon phenomenon, by the way), which meant that touching my toes was something I had to physically work to do.

After arriving in Japan and discovering that my bed was a couple of thin futons that were placed on the floor, and that I was suddenly good-looking enough to have sex and with a girlfriend, even, that back of mine was not a happy camper.   

I actually arrived in Japan wearing a fabric base wrapped around my torso to put pressure on my lower back where all the damage was... and soon asked my bosses at the OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education) if there was a back doctor I could see.

They promptly set up an appointment for me with a guy who did acupuncture, and of course didn't speak a lick of English. Why should he? This is Japan. I should speak Japanese.

Situated in my town of Ohtawara, and within a few kilometers ride of my apartment, I arrived at the one-level facility, removed my shoes, tried to squeeze my 30-centimeter long feet into the 20-centimeter-long green plastic frog-decorated slippers, and shuffle to the waiting room.

I was exactly on time, and so was the acupuncturist, because this is Japan, and everything has a schedule that must be adhered to. After enjoying my seat for the two seconds, I was called into the office and told to strip (keeping my tighty-whities on (way before I discovered the Boxer-Brief hybrids) and then lay on my stomach on a cold table that had thin mattress atop it and a sheet of wax paper... for hygienic purposes.

I should add that my bosses were there for this first crack assignment.   

So... I laid there and winced each and every time that the guy placed one of the 30+ long needles placed down my back and down my right leg in an effort to alleviate the pain I felt.

Wiggling the top-most needle in my back, it was removed, and I could physically feel pain moving down to where he next wiggled and removed a needle... and so on... I could feel the pain move down to my leg, stopping at each needle point along my body... it was interesting, bizarre and most pain I have ever felt in my life, and I had a kidney stone.

And that pain would erupt as it traveled down to the next point, at which point it would subside completely, and then with nary a second to relax, the guy would manipulate another needle...

Needless to say, I don't like needles, and while my pain did indeed go away for about four hours afterwards, it came back as though it had never left.

The amount of pain I went through was not worth it.

I should add that I had the exact same reaction in Toronto one year earlier when I tried it there.

So... with my boss in tow, the next time we decided to try bone and muscle manipulation - chiropracting... This I like.

He applied a device to various parts of my upper body that caused various muscles to lightly spasm... to loosen then up, so after 20+ minutes of that he could crack and move me easier.

It was wonderful.

I had cracked my own joints for years (don't!), so I loved the way it felt.

If you've ever gone to a chiropractor and they've fed you that old line that you need to see them three times a week for a month, and then twice a week for a month and then once a week for a month and then twice a month and then once a month for adjustment realignement maintenance... well it ain'y bull crap.

I followed the routine... and seven months later... I had no more back pain, and I could screw women to my heart and back's content... although perhaps my back and sex score was aided by the fact that my office decided that a futon was not for me and purchased a queen-size bed por moi and my minxes.

Actually the purchase of the bed MAY have been because I had a bad back, and they didn't want it to get worse, but probably - more than likely - because I wasn't competent enough to roll up my futons and air them out, causing mushrooms and other black fungus to grow underneath, not only wrecking the futons, but wrecking the whole tatami mat floor in my bedroom.

I would imagine some spilled fluids might also have led to the tatami mat decay, but I had no idea how to explain that sex had wrecked my grass mat flooring.

Anyhow... my back is all better now... I don't crack my back - mostly because it's so stiff I can't  crack anything... but I have no debilitating pain.

Now... here's a Japanese chiropractor that looks quite dangerous to me... though admittedly, I would still let him try his team moves on me...     


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