Monday, December 28, 2009

Swimming and Chiropractics for a Low-key Holiday

This year, festive Christmas holidays have somehow eluded me, not to say that I didn't enjoy the grilled-cheese sandwiches and pina coladas that my friends and I gorged on Christmas day was bad, or that spending my holidays on the floor due to ribs being out was terrible. I very much prefer spending quality time with friends instead of slaving over food prep [the philosophy behind hours and hours prepping for ONE meal that gets devoured in 20 minutes is unfathomable to me!], and grilled-cheese sandwiches did hit the spot. As for being flopped out on the floor, hey, it's warm and a great place to flop with a pile of books and a steady supply of herbal teas .... so, while Christmas holidays haven't been traditional or packed full of activities, the days have been low-key but relaxing.

Two things though have made the holidays meaningful (considering my 4 dislocated ribs): the swimming pool and a rather unusual chiropractic office in Seoul.

The Swimming Pool
Last week the pool 400 meters from my house called my name ... and I have responded every weekday since. Swimming classes and water therapy classes don't spin my blender so during the 'free swim' hours [8-8:50; 1-1:50, 6-6:50], when guests can splash, dive, swim or just frog around, I sink into the waters to relentlessly plow furrows for 50 minutes. If I plow the waters for the full 50 minutes AND the others in my lane aren't out for just a lazy crawl, then I can swim 36 laps, the full mile, but when the music stops 50 minutes after the hour, guests are likewise to stop and clear the pool for the next onslaught of frivolous water babies. (Bummer - I've only swum the full mile 2 out of 5 times so far.) To best aim for swimming the mile, choosing a lane is important. Each lane is labeled beginners, intermediate or advanced swimmers but labels don't mean nada, so I choose a lane not based on the label but on the number of individuals in the lane (some lanes are ridiculously crowded) and the speed of the swimmers.

Of course the swimming culture is different here than that in the States - all guests must wear caps, (most wear goggles too) and take a shower in the nude with everyone else [hey, it's Korean jimjilbang (sauna) culture]. One BIG difference evidently is the 'guarding of the lives of the guests' by a very attentive life guard; I just shake my head at his diligence - he spends the majority of his time text messaging without a glance up!

Korean jimjilbang culture really takes over after the swim! Two large 'bathing' pools, one hot and the other quite cool, are in the shower room but are NOT to be entered until the body has been heated under a scalding shower and scrubbed free of bodily impurities. I love the sharing and conviviality of the women during this time, squatting or sitting on the floor scouring themselves and sometimes their neighbors while yakking away. Today one woman even came over and asked if I wanted my back scrubbed, which she did with such vehemence and force [hey, remember I have misplaced ribs!] that a couple other ladies told her to back off cuz she was hurting me. She did lessen the force, much to my relief, but the gesture of acceptance was really appreciated!

A New Chiropractic Office in Seoul
Ribs, ribs, never gave them much thought before. My little November-December surprise this year has been a real "treat" [heavy sarcasm here] - some ribs have popped off the sternum. Although I was going to one chiropractic clinic, when two more ribs abandoned ship last week while sleeping on my side, I abandoned that chiropractic clinic for another that held promises of specializing in rebellious thoraccics and wayward ribs.

SKY Wellness Center is the latest in chiropractic additions in Seoul. It opened in early December this year and treats clients more holistically than any other chiropractic office I've been to or even heard about .... and I've been to and searched out quite a few! Upon entering the office, the ambiance is simple, airy and inviting. OK, I'm partial here because the office is decorated around green, my favorite color, but also a color connected with healing, health and nature - in short, a great representative color for a more naturalistic type of healing.

Also, unlike ANY chiropractic office I've been to, a 10-minute massage is part of the treatment as the massage loosens and relaxes the muscles and makes the adjustment/therapy more effective. What's more, the chiropractic doctors don't build their exclusive and personal clientele but rather holistic care is centered around the clients needs, so clients could have two doctors treating them. For example, Dr. Sean the owner and the person who carefully did my health history to determine the best treatment for me will be focusing more on my back (and ribs) while Dr. Choi will correct my straightened neck and treat my scoliosis. [I've never heard of anyone getting positive results with chiropractics for scoliosis so am looking forward to this ...... and hey, I'm intensely fascinated with medical anthropology, so not only will I benefit physically but also mentally from this experience!]

Anyway, today celebrates treatment #3 and I have to say, I am VERY satisfied with the treatment, the atmosphere and extremely attentive staff, and most importantly the holistic care given to my very [strong emphasis on 'very'] contrary back. While many chiropractic centers are organized around a brisk pace and "efficiency", the primary philosophy at SKY Wellness Center is focused on the client and the efficacy of chiropractics!

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