I went for wet acu cupping, also known in Malay as berkam or bekam treatment (in Arabic it is known as Hijama) to treat my persistent neck, back and lower back pain. It has been quite an experience and I wanted to share with you the benefits of this alternative treatment.

When I first looked up- initially I was searching about acucupping in YouTube and came across berkam. If you watch the videos in YouTube on berkam/ bekam, it can look quite scarry. But in reality, when the needle is being poked, it felt nothing more than an ant bite.

I’ve explored various treatment when it comes to chronic pain management- Thai healing massage, rattan beating, acupuncture (effective for acute pain), Chinese medicine, cane exercise, tuina….each has its advantage….there was still something that had to be done in order for other treatments to be effective.

Lifestyle, stress, negative emotions, injuries, diet, drinking cold water, taking baths right after exercise, etc can create blockages within meridian channels in our body. These blockages remains within and for many cases, has been around for years and it is very hard to remove. Having too much of toxin, cholesterol and blockages within our systems causes various health symptoms such as headaches, pain (acute or chronic), arthritis, gout, postural imbalances and even cholesterol and stroke.

Bekam or wet cupping is a very good Malay traditional therapy that has one to directly expel the toxins or ‘dirty blood’ by first using acu cups to create sunction, followed by pricking the points with a specialised bekam needle and putting in the cups back on again. The vacuum created in the acucups would then suck up toxic blood, gel-like substance and clots.

My experience in wet acu cupping (berkam)

I found out about this company through a Google ad and decided to give it a try. Somehow, I had been feeling unwell and I instrinctively felt that I should resort to more stronger treatments that physically remove the toxins in my body.  When I walked very far or carry my backpack (it was not heavy) and started developing neck and shoulder pain, I knew I had to try acucupping and the wet acucupping would be more effective.

Note: The contraindication for ladies is that you cannot go for this treatment when you are having menstruation or period.

In Malaysia, if you wish to search – and you use acucupping, you would find a lot of very commercialised business and massage spas offering these treatments. If you wish to go for traditional Malay treatment, you need to use the word “rawatan bekam” or “berkam cupping“. Even if you wish to buy acu cups, you also use these terms as you would able to find many who are selling the acucups for very reasonable price so that you can buy back and use on yourself and your family at home.

I found this company Terapi Alternative Islam and made an appointment to visit the premise. It is located at 12, Jalan 7, Taman Dato Harun, Petaling Jaya and situated opposite a mosque (with Waze, you can find it quite easily- along Old Klang Road, turn in at the PJS2 exit before the toll).

The shop is operated by a husband and wife and what I like is that they clearly explained pointers to me such as:

  • before going to any berkam treatment, must always ask for the price. Some who simple go to shops were charged RM600, RM1000 for treatment  (my friend was actually charged RM600 for berkam treatment). As updated in the website, they charge RM5 per cup placed on the body
  • ensure the person uses new and sterilized needles for each person. Means no sharing of needles due to dangers from infection, HIV
  • the acucups must be properly cleaned and sterilized- he showed me that their acucups are cleaned and then sterilized using UV light to prevent spread of tibi and other illness from one patient to another
  • they show (diagrams are displayed on the wall) and explained the type of treatments and what they would be doing
  • the treatment is not simply done but it is at specific location and only blood that are toxic are being drawn out- and it is not causing our body to be losing blood.

Before me there was a Chinese senior man who went for treatment for what looked like swelling from gout on his legs. And another boy who was undergoing resdung (where he had a lot of phlegm coming out from his nose)- resdung is also a very effective treatment for sinus, headaches and throat problems (I was told singers go for this treatment to improve the quality of their voice).

They have a room for ladies which is located at the end. I was told to change to a sarong and lie on the treatment bed. For first time, it is recommended that the whole body treatment to be performed – from neck, back and down to the calves. In total it would require 24 cups which would come up to RM120.  The pricing is fair because I heard other place charge RM15 for a cup.

First, cups are placed on various points for sunction- and I was told to relax. Then the lady informed me she would be needling – each area 8 pricks. When she prick it was not painful- it just felt like ant bite. After she complete all, the cups remained for about 20 minutes before they were taken off one by one.

During the treatment, she informed me that my upper and middle back had lots of toxins and clot blood as well as my legs. She also mentioned I had a lot of wind in my body (badan banyak angin).  My lower back, which had given me discomfort, was surprisingly minor in issue. She told me that sometimes, even though we feel discomfort and pain at one area, but the source can origin from another.

As she removed each cups, she showed me the blood and clots and explained to me what they meant. Fortunately my blood was not black but red (she said the black ones- like in some videos signify high level of toxicity in the body).

But, from my upper and middle back, I saw that a lot of gel like substance in my blood stream- she told me it consist of cholesterol and other toxic items. She showed me that these items are different from frozen blood- if it only consist of blood, and you press it, it will smear the tissue and the physical substance cannot be seen. Whereas, the ones which was extracted from my body via acucupping- it was gel like and she press and still they were there. A lot of it was cholesterol. The part that had these substance were the problematic areas.

Years ago, I’ve heard that people get heart attacks and stroke due to blockages on their shoulders and neck areas – with these clots it affects blood flow. If one were to complement this with one’s existing conventional treatment….it would be so much more effective because wet acucupping really physically help to remove these items.

And when she took out the cups from my lower back/kidney area- she said there were very little blood and clots so she said the area is not the source of the problem. According to her, it could be because my upper back was blocked resulting oxygen and blood flow could not flow down. She also said my legs (both above and below the knees) both had lots of clots as well. This perhaps had caused my legs had not much of energy to move.

 After the treatment, I was told not to sleep within 1 hour. Wait for 1 hour first before resting. Then after 1 hour  resting, then take a shower (total have to wait for 2 hours before taking a shower). No heavy physical activity for first time bekam users as it may cause the body to go into shock and develop fever….means take it easy after treatment.  

I also bought 2 sets of acu cups (with vacuum sunction) for RM15 each. They explained and got me to try to use the acu cups to ensure I know how to use before buying. They also give me these precautions:

  • apply some oil at cupping area- use like baby oil or olive oil (minyak zaitun). Strictly no using massage oil (minyak urut or minyak angin tak boleh).
  • do not use at the folds of the elbows and knees and directly on the joints as it may cause ‘lendir bergerak’ ….if I am not mistaken should be movement of cartileges. If placed directly on top of the lower back bone it may cause slip disk due to the sunction alters the movement of cartilage
  • Keep it at most for 15 minutes. Strictly not more than that as it could cause the skin to break- causing pain- he said use a timer to ensure do not exceed the time. He said one person had thought the longer it is used the better but ended up had to go to hospital
  • wait for 2 hours before bathing since the pores are opened up

 After the treatment, I felt my neck and shoulder pain gone and my legs more nimble (instead of always having that heavy feeling).  The heavy feeling around my chest also feels lifted- that is why I believe this treatment is a very good preventive for heart attacks and cholesterol for those prone to it.

Give it a try….it should not replace your current treatment but complimentary to the existing treatment that you are receiving.  May you get well soon!

Here’s a simple exercise that can help release the tension on your back. If you have a bent or hunched back, repeated doing the exercise may help to release pressure and the stress on your back. This exercise is inexpensive and you only use your own body weight.

What’s the exercise, well, it’s just hanging on the monkey bar- where you support your weights using your arms and hands that are hanging on the railing:

Precautions:

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When what we want is never enough

by Yin on March 22, 2014

in Inner Peace

Incidental Comics published a thought provoking comic called “The Nature of Ambition” which I first saw from a post that my friend shared in Facebook.

Over these two months you may notice that the frequency and intensity of posts published in this blog and at my other blogs are lesser. It is because mainly I am taking  some time off for my personal life.

Do you notice how much we get distracted by our external environment with the constant desire to have:

  • more money
  • more recognition
  • more fame
  • more love
  • more time
  • that new gadget
  • that house
  • that person

and so on….the list goes endlessly. It never ends because when we have something, we always want more.

Over these few years since I came back to corporate world, I’ve noticed a consistent trap that I always set myself up for, in which I have no one to blame but myself. I have a full time job, more or less doing what I am good at and enjoy doing. Of course the job has its pressure, ups as well as downs. Like all day jobs, you don’t get to set your own hours or the ‘freedom’ to go to work as and when you love. You are bound by the hours of the job itself.

Many people would tend to move outwards, to find ways to earn enough in order to leave our day job. Perhaps start a blog and do websites- earn enough to be able to resign, or start a small side business, or become a direct selling/insurance/ mutual funds agent

This works if we ended up doing something we believed in. Working in a day job has its benefits- especially if we are already good at our job and things are predictable. But if we are in for easy $$, then things may not turn out the way we have envisioned it to be.

Anway, in the past my best to try to grow my blog and improve my earnings- so I pour endless energy into taking pictures, preparing blog posts, evaluating traffic and earnings….make tweaks and experiments, and then re-evaluate the results. Yes, in the past I was really tempted to give up my day job.

But you would know if you have anything that you are pursuing obsessively outside your working hours, you would find yourself feeling tired, drained, easily irritable, less sociable (especially if you are always in front of the PC). Your mind tends not to be at work, more scatterred as you become obsessed in how to earn more and more and more…..

Your fitness levels goes down because you cannot *find* the time to exercise. You put on weight, and with snacking on unhealthy food and eating when stressed…. health problems come. Chronic lower back problems and clothes don’t fit as well as they used to.

Our desires and wants would creep up sneakily- they would always whisper to us that what we have is never enough. That we should always go for more. The more we search for external, do research and find more information, reading ‘success stories’ and wanting the kind of success- we do tire our hearts out.

I fall back into the self inflicted trap time and time again. When I go for a holiday, and away to a place without internet connection, it takes me three days to ‘recover’. Often my physical body felt tired and I would rest. During the initial resting period I would feel conflicted and after 3 days usually without much external distractions, my mind would calm down considerably. And I knew the peace that I was missing from all that endless ambitions.

Was the earnings from my blogging revenue worth the constant energy and focus that I put in? Was those little truimphs in trying out ‘experiments’ to improve traffic and earnings worth having my mind scattered, and tired.

The price if inner peace is ….well priceless.

Those who feel contented and happy don’t need to spend a lot. So even though their earnings are less, they can save more money that folks earning 2, or 5 times their salary.

It’s the same for you. If you feel that you are constantly running around like a headless chicken- not having time for yourself, having too much to do, feeling overwhelmed, wanting more $$ when you are already doing alright…..slow down my friend.

Since the past months or so, I’ve tried to spend more time ‘being present’, having more inner awareness cultivate more mindfulness. Sometimes I still get dragged into other stuff but when I recognize it I would try untangle myself. And this in turn had helped to improve my relationship with my loved ones, and enabled me to be more focused in my job. In crisis situation at work, instead of panicking or feeling negative and overwhelmed, I try to do my best but let go when things cannot get better. And in that environment, out-of-the-box ideas would surface by itself.

Because if we do not know self-contentment and inner peace, no matter how much we have, it will never be enough. Some consider this as progress.

If progress is making us into more happy inside, then well and fine. But don’t touch with ourselves, or sacrifice our health. My 86 year old wai tan kung teacher commented that so many people would just spend their life chasing for wealth, in exclusion of all else. They neglect their health… and in the end, all the money they have earned are used to cure their illness. Some are wheelchair bound which requires nursing care, kidney dialysis, medicines, operations.

And so in the end, we end up with nothing but lots of suffering.

 

Unlike the fatty and MSG laden food whuch one usually find in Chinatown, the typical home cooked meals from a modet Chinese household is simple, easy to learn, tasty, nutritious and can can fit well into a diet plan. Usually served with a bowl of plain rice with 3 dishes and soup.

A passage written in the book “Watching The Tree” by Adeline Yen Mah put this well into words… I loved her book because she explained about the rich Chinese culture, practices and beliefs presented in story form, often from her real life. It was the story I browse below while flipping through the book that made me pick it up:

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I have purchased a mini portable exercise pedal which comes with the bare essentials of an exercise bike- with only the bicycle pedals and adjustable nobs to change the resistance.

The equipment is very portable- you can just take it up and carry from place to place…put it under your desk or while reading a book or surfing net on your phone….sit on your chair and pedal away.
image

In terms of losing weight or burning calories, I would think that the mini exercise bike or exercise pedaller is not that effective in weight loss compared to running or other aerobics activities. Unless if you pedal away like a lunatic and use resistant bands for upper body workouts at the same time.

However….having said that- I have been using my exercise pedaller for a few months now and the benefits I’ve enjoyed personally are:

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High uric acid, which in the past used to affect older people is now beginning to affect the younger generation. A few of my friends in their thirties came back with blood test results with high uric acid.

High uric acid sometimes do not have clear symptoms- when we feel our legs have not much energy or we move around with pain, a blood test result may indicate high uric acid.

Usually those with high uric acid would be advised to avoid beans, seafood and highly processed food.

Left unchecked, the condition may eventually evolve to cause gout, causing painful swelling in the joints.

But is there a mind-body or emotional connection to high uric acid?

For starters, when diagnosed with high uric acid, it would be a good time to cut down on:

  • highly processed food
  • fried food
  • meat, especially duck
  • beans
  • seafood

Take more fruits and vegetables (but less beans), drink lots of water and exercise more.

Water is good to flush out the toxins in our body and exercise helps to improve our circulation and our organ functions so that our body is able to excrete the uric acid instead of having it stored in our joints, causing discomfort.

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Kangkong is also known as water glorybind, water spinach, water convolvulus and swamp cabbage

It is a popular dish in Asia and normally eaten stir fried with shrimps, garlic and/or chili paste (belacan). As kangkung is a water based plant with hollow stems, it is not surprising that leeches can breed in it. The following is a story (I am not sure true or not) of a boy who have died after eating a dish of stir fried kangkung:

Image source: http://www.shootfirsteatlater.com/

Image source: http://www.shootfirsteatlater.com/

A boy was brought to a well known clinic after complaints of stomach main and diarrhea for 2 days.

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Do you sometimes feel that your extremities like hands and feet felt cold and numb?

Sinus or the common cold may accompany the condition.

If you see a Chinese physican, he will shake his head and probably say that your immune system is not so good- therefore the heat element in your body is not sufficient.

 

The following conditions provide temporary relief but the cause of the problem would still need to be addressed:

Normally the cause is related to the kind of food that you are taking. If you do not have sufficient nutrition, naturally your immune system will be working in a less optimized capacity.

Do you find yourself caught in the embarrassing situation of having dandruff on your dark coloured coat even though you wash your hair often? Even by trying the smelly tar shampoo that is supposed to get rid of dandruff only relieved the condition a little.

If you work out often in the gym, and tend to bathe and wash your hair immediately after workout, consider waiting till your body really cool down first before bathing.

I have been a gym goer for more than 2 years, and I noted previously that I suffer from the dandruff problems when I bathe immediately after workout (well, generally don’t like to hang around the gym after workout so I would quickly bathe after doing my cool down stretching). But after accepting the fact that bathing right after gym is detrimental for health, I’ve decided to:

 

  1. Shift my workouts time from night to morning/or late afternoons
  2. Give myself sufficient time to really cool down before bathing/washing hair- at least 20 to 30 minutes- so I sometimes bathe only after I get home.

Outcome:

My health felt better- but at the same time, I noticed that I have much lesser dandruff- I mean, they’re not really noticeable anymore.

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