May 27th, 2007

May from Bali

My new massage therapist, May, who is from the Indonesian island of Bali, brought my muscles and bones into alignment this morning, as Columba, my landlord’s wife, watched with great interest. Now, several hours later, the scent of eucalaptus still wafts from the oil on my skin, and it brings me continued relief from my lower back and leg pain. Ah.

May said she had given me “Chinese massage,” based on the ancient Jing Luo theory, which sees the body as containing a system of pathways that transport qi and blood. These pathways regulate yin and yang, protect against external pathogens, and link the internal organs with the exterior. When the pathways are blocked, you feel pain. The massage focuses on “xue,” or acupoints, and may involve between 30 and 70 “shou fa,” or hand techniques. These manipulations involve spinal adjustments, similar to Osteopathy, with important differences.

Tomorrow at 1800 May will return and give me a more thorough treatment. Meanwhile, she put a pile of cotton towels and tee shirts on my table, which she said I must use instead of those that contain synthetic fibers. She also left medicine, oil, eucalaptus essence, small candles, and a ceramic lamp.