I was an acupuncture and herbology student for one year in 2010. I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I left it to go back to my day job in digital marketing. But the year I spent there gave me a completely different perspective on life and health. Long story short… I was in terrible pain last week when I could hardly turn my head. My neck and shoulders were extremely sore and my head was locked.
I walked into this Tui Na clinic right by where I am staying and was willing to take anyone who would massage my neck. In walked Wu Sifu who weights probably somewhere around 140 pounds and stands at around my height of 5’5″. I was head down on the table and before I even spoke, he said, “You have a problem with your vertebra,” pointing to my C7. “It is completely locked. Your qi is not flowing. You are in pain all over.”
He started maneuvering my neck, shoulders and head, performing qua sha and all kind of chiropractic moves. Cracked my neck in two different ways and pulled my arms into such fashion that it was tortuous but good. I did not have to speak. He was reading my body like I do.
After 10 mins of working on my upper body, he said, “You are also locked in your lumbar area. That’s why your buttock sticks up. It may seem pretty but it’s the worst for your health. Your qi was unable to circulate to your organs properly. You must have digestive problems. I am going to unlock it.” He then proceeded to get on the table and started to walk on my back, using his toes to massage my sacrum. I was speechless. It hurt so good to have that much pressure on me. All the problems I have had with my body were read by this middle-aged Taiwanese man in less than 15 mins. And better yet, he was attempting to correct them all!
He later asked me to sit up and moved onto unhinging my C7. That was scary. The thought of “Would he break my neck?” repeatedly crossed my mind when he did his things, which included using my own body weight to pull my vertebrae apart, kneeling my back so my vertebrae would open up, and pull my head up using a towel. All seemed very scary and risky to me. But I trusted because it felt right and it felt good.
The Chinese word for beautiful is 漂亮; the literal translation is pretty for 漂and bright for 亮。 This man said to me, “You may be 漂亮 but you are not 亮 because your qi is not flowing and not brightening your face.” Ok, what this really means in Taiwanese thinking is that you may have the physical set up to look pretty but honestly you look like shit.
Wu Sifu is a Qi Gong master who not only works on the muscles, tissues, but also the bones. He does not use brute strength. He uses his qi to put the body alignment back in place. He uses his knowledge of the meridians and acupuncture points to assist in healing. He knew what he was doing. It was not a massage. It was heavy duty physical therapy with a strong dose of reality.
Because he did not break me, because he really knew what he was doing, and because Chinese medicine is simply amazing, I am here to tell you that I was loosened and felt so much better afterwards. I was a puppet with tangled strings before I saw him. Afterwards, I could walk, turn and I felt I was nimble again. AMAZING.
This is why the story deserves a post without many pictures. I wish I could bring Wu Sifu back home with me to NY. I LOVE this amazing medicine. My hat is off to all my peeps at PCOM for your dedication to this medicine! Love and peace to all.
Wu Sifu, 吳杉郎， works at 長舂傳統民俗保健on 台北市大安區和平東路三段22號2F. I cannot thank him enough. Unfortunately, the place does not have a web site so proper digital accreditation is difficult.
Tui Na is always conducted with the client fully clothed and with a towel on top. There is minimal skin to skin contact between the therapist and the client.