When I was asked if I’d like to review the Brook Green Clinic, I jumped at the chance. Well, not literally jumped; more a case of limped as just a few days earlier I’d been diagnosed with sciatica and spent the entire weekend on my back staring at the ceiling.
I called the clinic and booked my appointment for a Chinese massage with Charles; a painless procedure although I did have a bit of a wait on the phone which I took as a sign of the popularity of the practice.
Never having experienced Chinese massage before, I approached my first treatment with an open mind and a head full of questions. Charles holds a Licentiate in Acupuncture (LicAc) and a BSc (Hons) Acupuncture through the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine so I figured he knew his Yin from his Yang. His answers and explanations of the whys and the wherefores were both informative and helpful without confusing me with theory.
Before the massage began, Charles asked me a number of questions about my back pain, medical history and current lifestyle, which included questions on my diet, sleep pattern, skin condition and digestion. I already felt that he probably knew me better than my own GP which in itself was reassuring.
After checking my posture, taking my pulse, examining my tongue, and completing three pages of notes, Charles started the massage. Oriental massage is typically done with clothes on and through the clothes without the application of oils which was all new to me. I’m more used to the strip-down-to your-boxers approach so this was refreshingly different; particularly if taking your clothes off in front of a complete stranger is something you may not feel too comfortable with.
The massage, I have to say, was wonderful. Alternating between very gentle stretches, rubbing, and thumb presses and covering a large area of my back and legs; I felt this just had to be better than three anti-inflammatory drugs a day. Charles was skilfully able to pinpoint specific problem areas that he worked on during the course of the 40-minute treatment. (It may have been a little longer to be honest but I think I may have drifted off at one point.)
So, the big question is, did I leap off the massage table with the ease of a gazelle? No. Did I expect to? No. Did my back feel more comfortable? Yes, without a doubt. So much so, that I’ve already booked a follow-up appointment with Charles for next week.