Monday, January 7, 2013

My First Chinese Medicine Experience

Warning: This is not for the faint of heart. 

Since I was having such trouble with Western Medicine in Taipei, I decided to give Chinese medicine a chance.   After going to the hospital, having x-rays taken, and being prescribed to hundreds of pills, of which I had no idea what they were, I decided it was time to check out the medicine that had been practiced on this side of the world for god knows how long.  

You can find Chinese doctors everywhere here and one is conveniently located right next to my school.  So after school one day I walked in and played charades with the doctor with my broken Chinese and his broken English to communicate the problem: my foot hurts. 

And so it began... first, I was taken into a room with other patients.  The doctor placed a hot lamp on the affected area for about ten minutes.  Then the acupuncturist came in and tapped and twisted needles into my foot and leg.  A tiny prick that was made worse by watching him screw it deeper into my skin. 

I tensely sat with the needles tap dancing through the nerves of my leg for about thirty minutes.  After that time they were swiftly taken out and another doctor started to massage my foot.  Heavenly, I thought.  This was before he took me to the examination table and swiftly cracked my foot like a chiropractor would a back.  The pain was so surprising and intense, that I burst out laughing.  I was in shock.  

Next my foot was wrapped in clay laced with alcohol and various herbs.  It felt on my foot the way mint feels in your mouth.  Very soothing and cool.  

On my way out I was handed 14 packets of Chinese herbal medicine to be taken twice a day and told to come back.  I went back for about two more weeks: same thing everyday, and hallelujah I am healed!

Below is my reaction to the medicine and some not-so-attractive photos taken of the process. 

Needles in my foot, yo. 

Sorry, I know this is digusting, but just imagine how I felt when I took off my shoe and saw this oozing out.  I screamed and was utterly terrified and freaked out.  


  1. You have to work with what you got, and that's Chinese medicine for you. It may not work as fast as western medicine, but it still works. The sight of your feet having that black thingy oozing out is really gross, but what the heck, it healed your feet, right? It’s a good thing that the doctor understood the pain you've been feeling or else he might prescribed you a different kind of herbal medicine. Haha!

  2. Alternative treatments like acupuncture are proven to cure and soothe pain without the need of any medicines. The idea of pricking needles, might sound creepy or painful, but what is a little pain for a guaranteed relief? Glad to hear that you benefited from this one!