My last contact with acupuncture occurred about 10 years ago and it involved a stem of burning joss stick. It also concerned an endless series of doctor visit and a ‘value’ package of 20-30 or so sessions of unbearable stillness, all by myself, in a whitewashed, narrow, and quiet room.
I was looking for a quick cure for my regular agitation. Sleeplessness was my good friend then with my mind always rumbling on and on with new projects. But after a few sessions of the boringly burning incenses, I finally came to a conclusion: “if these needling are not working, I guess I should just go back home and try to sleep.” And I did. Perfectly and soundly. Until perhaps about a month ago when that habit reoccurred and I was looking for a good consultation that can give me a long-term solution.
Then I got invited to see Mr. Ken Rosen, a renowned traditional medicine expert, herbologist and licensed acupunturist, once a resident at Chivasom, who is now (until the end of November 2013) visiting The Spa of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. Being an expert of Chinese-style balanced life, Mr. Rosen’s treatment included a brief personal analysis, a pulse diagnosis, and a physical observation. I don’t seem to be outrageously out of balance, he said, but my pulse indicated that I am having a deficiency in the center energy that leads to weak blood and restless sleep. My balance also leans towards being ‘damp’ – by either taking too much of the damp food or/and living too much of a damp life.
“As a New Yorker, I am always skeptical,” says Rosen. “After a series of studying and searching, I found Chinese medicine the most solid philosophy that cares about the body balance – the very root of all health – that could actually restore my well-being. After all, we get sick because we are out of the optimum balance so the purpose here is to identify the imbalances and correct them. And this is a long-term thing.”
Mr. Rosen then gave me an acupuncture to tone and circulate qi and blood. Needles were pierced into my temples, forehead, shins and sole. I was told to concentrate on my breaths, breathing in and expand the whole body and breathing out through the legs (yes!). After some failed few attempts, I finally got into tune with the quietness of the fragrant spa room. The first round of needling took about 20 minutes.
Then I was told to turn over (with the first set of needles gently removed except for those in the temples) and the acupuncture continued for another 10 minutes with new needles now at the back of my head, hands, feet and legs. The point at the back of my head, Mr. Rosen explains, is to release the pent-up wind that causes my agitation, my overthinking habit and racing mind. He said I won’t be feeling the difference suddenly, and I should just go on with my routines without thinking too much about this acupuncture. He also wrote me a letter of advice that includes an herbal formula to help nourishing the blood. I was advised about ‘damp’ food, a book about Tao philosophy which I have already bought online and now savouring it. And best of all, he reiterated my existing knowledge that I should cut down on doing so many things just before the bedtime for the sake of better sleep.
“Get energy out of your head and into your body,” he advised, “Also, learn to let go of your eyes; they may shake as you vent static from your mind.”
From my experience, maintaining a healthy life is mostly our own making. You might see as many doctors or health gurus as you want, but it always depends on you to practice what you have learnt. After all, things in our minds just can’t be declustered by the needles and herbs alone. They help, but the best help is your own determination to slowly change whatever you are doing that you know are helpless for your health into the new acquired advice you learnt from the guru himself.
NOTE: As a writer, I got to ask some questions back to Mr. Rosen. He was diagnosed with cancer twice when he was young and even at the tender age he knew that taking medicines throughout his life was not the right answer for a better health. After a lengthy searching, he found Chinese philosophy and medicine best suit him with its core being keeping the right balance of the body. You can learn more about Mr. Rosen at his website www.spatcm.com where he advised me to read about ‘REST’ to, of course, get myself to rest better, which I will.
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok has a luxurious Thai-style spa in a gleaming teak house nestled in a lush tropical garden on the opposite side of the hotel. You can take their boat shuttle to receive therapies during Ken’s visit. Available therapies include: “Computer Stress Therapy”; “Sleep Therapy”; “Back Therapy”; and “Facial Acupressure”. All sessions will begin with a 30-minute diagnostic consultation followed by a 60-minute Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment. The treatment, along with personalised treatment plan and advice, are available daily from 10am – 7pm (except Mondays).
After the treatment, you might want to indulge a bit in an exquisite Thai meal at Sala Rim Naam like we did. They serve buffet for lunch with arrays of delicious Thai appetizers, curries, stir-fries and desserts (see more pictures on my Instagram @ohhappybear). For dinner, Sala Rim Naam is also renowned for their lavish Thai meal with traditional songs and dances.
For more information or bookings, please call tel. 02 659 9000, ext. “The Oriental Spa, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.