Saturday, July 7, 2012

Barefoot Doctor

A Canadian girl we met fell out of her bunk bed and smashed her leg on the way down, resulting in a massive bruise and subsequent swelling. Fast forward a week later when we met her in Phuket, the swelling was just beginning to go down. She told us about a strange doctor she went to in Ko Phi Phi island that poked and prodded her leg in strange ways which had helped a lot.

On the way to our guesthouse a few days later in Ko Phi Phi, we passed by this doctors shop. I didn’t really realize it was the same place at the time, and didn’t plan on going in, so we continued on. However, after talking with Dennis later that day, it seemed like it might be a good shot to try and fix my nagging plantar. At the very least a cheap and alternative method that had a chance.

I walked in and sat down on a wooden stool and told them I have had pain on the bottom of my foot for over a year. The guy, middle aged and in shorts, a t-shirt, sandals, and wearing round glasses, began his inspection by first quickly checked my tongue and thus immediately told me to stop eating mangos, watermelons, and other sugary food, in addition stop drinking coffee (after I told him that I usually drink 1-2 cups these days). He used his iphone to snap a photo of my tongue and show me how white it is.
Then, he picked up my foot, and began smashing a wooden dowel into various points around my foot. Bottom, side, and top. He seemed to direct it toward the veins to cut off the circulation. He also used his fingers, squeezing my toes, and occasionally used his elbow along my leg, and toward the end of the session even stepped on my foot. This lasted for an hour. The whole time he was asking me 'tingles?', so I would say 'Tingles!' when I got a sensation. He aimed specifically at my big toe for awhile, trying to cut off the circulation via points on the toe itself and the prodder, then squeezing the toe, then moving upward to points on the upper part of the foot. Later, he worked my pinky toe for at least 30 minutes. It seemed as if he was trying to work his way back to get the tingling sensation each time, starting from squeezing the toe itself, and moving back in discrete locations all the way up to the knee. This took some time, because for at least 20 minutes the only way he could get the tingling in the pinky toe was to squeeze with his thumb and index finger (sometimes for 30 seconds until it was really red), then when he moved back towards the knee, he couldn't maintain the correct locations to keep up the tingling. I made lots of grunts and ows, as most of the time there was no tingling, but the pain of the dowel itself being jammed into my foot was pretty ridiculous.

My foot felt pretty good immediately after....Though one hour later it was the same again. We'll see if it changes over time. At the end, he also pointed out some small brown moles on my arm, and said that my intestines were clogged and that I need to watch my kidneys. I should drink more water in small servings (no chugging). Eat less fried things, and less noodles (no pad thai every day, he advised). And they recommend no meat at night, fish is ok. Meat for lunch is better. To clean out my intestines, they gave me 5 pills....herbal laxatives! They told me I should be pooping a lot tomorrow, woo hoo!

Now, all this was conducted with the guys English being limited to words like 'tingling' 'pain' 'feel it?' 'mango' and 'kidney'. His wife was a bit better able to communicate, though I still had to make the motion of pooping to get across that the pills were supposed to make me shit a lot. They showed me a book with pictures of the intestines and said 'full' and 'not clean'. The funny part is that the other half of the shop is a hair salon, which his wife runs. So while I was sitting there on the wooden stool going “OW!” and saying “Tingling!!”, at one point there was a guy in a barber chair directly in front of me getting his hair trimmed.

1 comment:

  1. Brillian post Nick. Thanks!
    How is your foot now?


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