I’m busy undressing in a doctor’s room, staring at a medical poster detailing the various acupuncture points. The cross-section of a man’s bathing-suit area, specifically, where the X marks a spot in that no-man’s land between the balls and bum-hole.
“Yah, so we’ll probably start you off with that one,” says Dr. Jay, a chiropractic, sports massage therapy and acupuncture specialist.
I start putting my clothes back on, and he laughs, saying that he’s never actually administered that particular needle, and would only do so in the case of a prolapsed rectum.
I breathe out. I’m no newbie, and have had plenty of treatments in the past, everything from hot stone to suction cup to deep tissue to vino-therapy, that’s the one where the masseuse first scrubbed my body using a grape extract and then wrapped me up in wine soaked rags. Thing is, I’ve always been too freaked out by needles to try acupuncture.
A treatment using different types of light? Done it. Facials? You bet! Mani’s, pedi’s, teeth whitening, hair bleaching, body sculpting, oxygen therapy, sensory deprivation tanks… Not to toot my own horn or anything, but if you can name it, I’ve tried it. After all, guy not only served as a judge for the South African Spa Awards, but worked as a grooming editor for 8 years.
Still, I’d never tried acupuncture, and as my CV will attest, that’s because I’m softer than a big-girls blouse. Yes, dear reader, my years in the industry had turned me kitten soft. All that primping and preening resulted in the type of man that makes lambs look dangerous.
I didn’t actually need any treatment, I’m in pretty good shape at the moment, but when my friend Brad suggested that I try a session with the doctor who changed his life (before he met Dr. Jay, Brad was about to undergo back surgery for sciatic nerve damage), I said, sure, I’ll try anything once.
Dr. Jay practices from Renaissance Body Science Institute, that wonder of wellness and magical makeovers where 5s walk in and 10s walk out. After discussing my body and all the things that I put it through, Dr. Jay asked me to disrobe and lay down on his plinth. After some really deep tissue massage and pressure point therapy he stuck the first needle in.
And you know what? It was absolutely fine.
It works like this: Dr. Jay goes at my pressure points and asks me if it hurts, and it usually does, because he goes HAM. If I experience a headache from the pressure that he applies then that means that particular spot is troubled, and then he really gets to work.
Dr. Jay doesn’t actually stick too many needles into me – one in the side of my hand, one in my Achilles tendon, one up in the shoulder, two in my troubled hamstring and one in the top of my head (Yes, right there in the crown!) – which, truth be told, isn’t actually that painful.
It’s the massage that hurts. That’s because unlike the massages that I’d received in the past, which were almost always about relaxation, Dr. Jay is looking to repair and restore me, and because I’m fairly young and healthy and have some tough-stickers tattooed across my torso, he doesn’t pull any of his punches.
Instead of the soothing sounds of whale song or panpipes, all I hear for the duration of the treatment are my body’s clicks, groans, grunts and squeals.
When we’re done I feel high. Weightless. Wavy… It’s as if I’ve just popped a Valium or a Xanax and it takes me forever to perform the 36-point turn that’s required for those wishing to leave the underground parking area.
A woman in a Range Rover hoots in frustration, attempting to scowl at me through her botox mask, and I laugh, I can’t even get angry, Dr. Jay just squeezed out the last fuck I had to give.