Needles and pins to ease the pain

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 January, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 January, 1997, 12:00am

There is only one explanation as to why I was on my hands and knees, quietly begging for help, during the showing of The Ten Commandments last Thursday night - and it had nothing to do with Charlton Heston's acting.

Nor was I playing 'rescue-your-master' with my dog.

The reason why I was in such a state is quite simple: I had strained my back and, for almost two hours, could not stand up straight, walk, or move in any way.

And it all happened rather quickly. There I was hunching over my computer typing out an e-mail to a friend, when I heard my back go 'creak' as I stood up.

But it wasn't until a good two hours later before I felt the muscles on my back start to lock.

That was when I turned into a giant shrimp on the floor.

Incredible but true. I thought this only happened to people in my parents' age group.

But no, there I was, on the floor, in excruciating pain, screaming under my breath: 'Someone turn off that television and get the dog off my face.' Of course, no one heard me pleading because my entire family was out celebrating around mahjong tables.

So, I did what conventional wisdom dictates me to do in times of emergencies: stay calm and call relatives.

Problem was that my relatives were also out celebrating around the mahjong tables - with my parents - in Macau.

This just goes to show that conventional wisdom, like other electrical appliances at home, does not always work.

Having realised this important Confucian-ish philosophy, I crawled into my bed and started to contemplate on life and, yes, growing old.

And for the first time, I realised what it was like to be decrepit.

What appears to be an easy task, like walking from one side of the room to another to switch off the light, can take ages to accomplish when your back and legs are in great pain.

I also realised people are right when they say everything starts to go downhill after we reach 30 . . . before I fell asleep.

I woke up the next day feeling slightly better, though it was clear I had to visit the acupuncturist (at this point, I would like to insert some special sound effects, like thunder and lightning).

Don't get me wrong though, my acupuncturist Mr Chan is a very nice man.

And I must add, his treatment does work marvels.

It is only the sight of needles stuck all over your body that is a bit scary, a bit like Hellraiser.

Mr Chan anyway, was happy to see me (thunder and lightning).

After he heard about my predicament he asked me to lie down on the bed and, before I knew what to expect, he took out a few glass cups.

'What are those for?' I asked innocently.

'They are to relax your muscles,' he replied.

And before I could ask the question 'how', he applied some substance on the inside of the cups, lit a match, set the cup on fire, and then stuck it on my back.

'Ahhhhhh!' I screamed, as I felt the glass cup sucking the life out of me.

For some strange reasons, I started remembering the experiments we used to do in our chemistry class.

'Relax and it will hurt less,' he tried to reassure me. 'This curing method only causes a little pain.' 'Ahhhhhh!' I replied, meaning: 'Oh no, it doesn't.' 'OK, just four more of these and you will be fine. This is a very good way to cure backaches,' he said.

'Ahhhhhh!' I replied.

After another 15 minutes it was time for the acupuncture.

Surprisingly I felt no pain from all those needles stuck on my back - until Mr Chan whisked out what looked like a 'variable resistor' with metal clips attached to it.

He then held up the clips (more thunder and lightning) before connecting them to the needle.

That was when I felt mild electric currents passing through my back.

Frankly, by this stage I did not really care what Mr Chan was doing to me.

But to my complete surprise, his method really worked and my backache disappeared in two days.

All that for only $200 - a treatment I will recommend to any one of you -even if it's only for educational purposes.