I realize this is a strange title for a post, given the fact that we Beijingers are experiencing the hottest run of HOT HOT days in nearly a decade. Even the mere use of the word seems to bring some, if only momentary, relief.
Three days ago as I was doing one of life's more mundane tasks (ironing a shirt), I bent over a bit and felt a pull in my lower back. Uh-oh. I've dealt with a slipped disc a few times in the past, and my first thought was "oh no, not again!" While it hurt plenty, as I moved around a bit, I was quite sure that this was just a pulled muscle (or something less than a slipped disc). I popped some ibuprofen, and went on my merry way, albeit a bit more slowly than normal.
Today, after only sensing minor improvement (I'm not overly patient), I decided to go to the blind massage place across the street from my place. Massage is one of the main skills that blind people are taught here and most neighborhoods have places (not called 'parlors') where they work. After explaining to the doctor (that's what they are called) I hopped on the table and he went to work. The technique is sort of a mix of physical therapy and chiropracty.
I asked him if he could tell by feeling what the problem was.
"Cold!" he said. "Too much cold!"
I should have known better than to ask the question because in traditional Chinese medical thinking, cold is the underlying cause of every single physical ailment.
Of course there was no way that I was going to tell him that I set the air-conditioner in my bedroom to 68 degrees every night before going to sleep. He would have slapped me upside the head and muttered "Stupid foreigner–not a brain in her head!"
It does feel better, and I think I may go again tomorrow.