Saturday, December 15, 2012

Still Alive: Adventures with Eastern Medicine

WARNING: if you are squeamish and don't like needles...avoid the first picture in this post. I debated leaving out the picture but...hey why not?

I apologize if any of the following is TMI but I suppose a blog that is meant to chronicle my adventures in Korea can't always avoid the unpleasant things. During November I came down with a nasty cold that lasted a couple of weeks, and just when I thought I was in the clear I sprained my ankle!

I came into school limping and all my students asked what happened, the most popular guess was..."soccer"? I sheepishly replied, "no...just walking." I stepped off a curb the wrong way and that was pretty much the end of it.  Fortunately I should have all the pep in my step back for New Year's, though I've yet to solidify any plans.

Spraining my ankle did lead to one interesting adventure...acupuncture. My Korean friends and co-workers insisted that I try it. I did it twice and the swelling did go down, but I don't know if it was the acupuncture as much as the natural healing process. From what I've heard from its advocates, acupuncture is more effective for chronic pain, so maybe I'll try it again once my ankle has healed a bit more. I did some research and according to some recent studies, it apparently does have positive effects for people with chronic pain, more statistically significant than the placebo effect.

If you're traveling in Korea and have the time I would try it! It doesn't hurt when they put the needles in (maybe you will feel a tiny tiiinnnnyy pinch) and once they are in you don't feel them at all. As they say, you can't knock it til' you've tried it...and if you are working in's partially covered by your insurance (?!?!)  So...sorry if you're's me with my acupuncture (it's mostly blurred out by the light from the heat lamp anyway).

Since my students had exams this past week, I've been spending most of time at work with my feet propped on in the office. Keeping warm with my awesome ramen socks. 

And to end on a pleasant note, we received lots of snow the past two weeks. Here are some pretty pictures of the wintry Korean countryside.

The drive to school.
My school's little hang out area.
The view from my apartment.

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