Sunday, April 8, 2012

Knife and Fire Massage!! Anyone?

"Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting
your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human
can, paradoxically, make you a far happier
and a more productive person."
- David M. Burns       

Run... Run to the Nearest Wellness Clinic!

If a man came at you with a meat cleaver, your first instinct would obviously be to run for your life, right? How about if they are determined to use flammables and matches on you? Yikes right?

Seems like something from a horror movie! Aren't they? What do these have to do with Massage Therapy, you may ask? I swear, I am not making this up! Read on...

Twitches and squirms...

But not for the people of Hsinchu, in northern Taiwan. Because for them, being tapped with the sharp end of a cleaver is actually a form of therapy that is known to cure many ailments. They line up in large numbers to meet the therapist, who prepares by sharpening the instrument on a wet stone and rubbing iodine all over the blade. 

The Chinese knife massage is probably a treatment you’d only expect in hell, but in reality it’s said to increase blood flow, release the body’s stored energy and wash away harmful toxins. 

The treatment itself is pretty simple: all the therapist does is hold a couple of cleavers and strike the patient repeatedly with the sharp edge. No, don’t be horrified, there’s no blood involved. The trick is to bring down the cleaver with just the right amount of force, and then to not push or pull it once it touches skin. The up-and-down movement of the cleaver is said to release static energy, which leads to self- cure. “Chop, chop, chop, and the pain will go away,” is the motto that the knife therapists use to convince clients.

Each cleaver massage session lasts about 30 minutes and can cost up to $15. Patients are generally advised to be fearless, but each one seems to have a different reaction to being hit with the blade. Some of them twitch and squirm, while others giggle as they are tickled in the armpits with the blade. A few actually groan with relief as their tensions are released. Practitioners claim that the therapy has the potential to cure serious diseases like cancer and kidney disorders. The weight and thickness of the knife used would depend on the seriousness of the illness. Sounds like the Chinese have worked out a pretty neat ‘hack’ for the human body.

They are probably on to something here. If you are in a state of fear, your nervous system places your body in a flight or fight state - the Sympathetic Nervous System kicks in! In a cascade of biochemical processes that are too long to discuss here, adrenaline and endorphins will end up in your blood stream! OR: If you have guts of steel, and you are far from being afraid, then the use of a hard object for long term tapotement on your muscle will definitely overload the pain receptors being "chopped"! Hey, either way, they both have analgesic properties! Chop, chop, chop! Pain be gone!

If you find Chinese health practices fascinating, check out their fire treatment, it’s really hot! Oddly enough, setting a man on fire isn’t necessarily a bad thing to them, on the contrary, it’s actually considered curative. 

Although I wasn’t able to learn much about this strange medical procedure, fire treatment is apparently very popular during the winter months in Chinese traditional hospitals. (It is cold, of course). People believe this will keep them safe from illnesses like the flu and common cold. Well, if you are warm and cozy - your body is in optimum condition to support a healthier immune system! Logical! Watch the short clip below, it will amaze you!  

A piece of cloth or towelette in this instance is sprinkled and soaked with some flammable fluid, probably ethyl alcohol in high concentration, (the same alcohol in your cocktail), then set on fire and put-out with another cloth after a few seconds. Voila! Freshly prepared hot towels! Done in the most impressive way! And as we know, heat has an analgesic effect too! It also dilates blood and lymph vessels, thereby increasing circulation on the area! Pretty smart, I may say - you cut the costs and effort of maintaining towel warmers, hydrocollator and such! 

So would anyone like a Knife and Fire Massage! Anyone, anyone at all? I thought so...

The preceeding article is a reductive summary of excerpts as written
by Sumitra for Oddity Central on March 20, 2012. The videos are
from YouTube and are assumed to be in public domain.

- Leo Feraer-Oporto     

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