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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

Spa, Chinese style


I’ve suddenly sprouted a bruise the size of an angel’s wings fanning out from my spinal cord to my shoulders. Though unlike an angel’s, my wings are not just boring white; they span the spectrum of green, purple, and red.

I remember last time I got Chinese therapy, I went back to the States only to have a lady comment on the markings on my back with a pitiful whisper.

“Honey, do you get abused?”

She said it with such a shining-eyed shocked look that I almost burst out laughing.

Yes. The bruises look like I’ve been slashed some big ones right on the back, but they are the products of meticulous healing rather than ruthless abuse.

I entered the spa sticky and smelling of an afternoon’s worth of Beijing traffic. The cool and dry air-conditioned rush greeted me as a smiling lady took off my shoes and slipped soft slippers onto my feet.

She led me to a single suite complete with soft music, spa bed, and shower room. Under the spray of shower water, I used up all the expensive milk body wash and almond flavored shampoo.

Finally refreshed, I lay nude on the spa bed waiting for my treatment.

I was of course, expecting the usual massage. A little push there, a little kneading there, nothing out of the ordinary. Imagine my surprise when the lady took out an object that looked like the back of a comb and started scraping my back furiously.

At first, I gave a little jump, ready to sprint out of the bed. Then she explained that it was a Chinese medicine treatment that helped heal stress and pain.

Apparently, when the body hurts and turns red, it means that there is the element ‘fire’ in the body. Scraping with the special comb and oil helped release the ‘fire’ making the body heal from pain.

I thought, ha, what a joke! Of course scraping the back will bruise, so everyone everywhere has ‘fire.’ But interestingly enough, only specific parts of my body bruised up. The majority stayed normal despite the masseuse’s meticulous work.

So after the fire-scraping, there was some normal massaging, then, she pulled out a gun- looking thing and planted a suction cup that raised the flesh on my shoulders.

Without air, the cup grabbed at my flesh, and she moved it along my back. It felt as if my skin was about to be pulled off, but thank goodness it didn’t. This treatment, again, is out to catch the ‘fire’ and release its ruthless grasp on my body. Cup-sized red circles appeared on my back like some new polka dot craze.

Despite the novel alternative treatments, I hate to admit that I think it worked! The days before the spa, I came down with a terrible cold and fever, and after it, the next day after a night of restful sleep, I felt much better.

‘Fire’ or not, alternative spa proved to be a very interesting experience. It’s one of those things that if you believe it, it will miraculously work.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  July 04, 2007