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Daily Archives: January 28, 2012

Needled by acupuncture

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NOT my back.

Of all the alternative medicines to try, acupuncture could surely ease what ails one. It dates back to 200BC and is endorsed by the likes of the National Health Service in the UK and the World Health Organisation. I head to a practitioner in Melbourne with no particular complaint in mind.

After quizzing me on my relationship with my father, the practitioner massages my back excruciatingly with her nubby thumbs over soothing whale music, and then sets to tenderising my flesh further with some kind of scrapey ‘Gua Sha’ spoon. “You will have some marks for a few days,” she observes cheerfully.

She taps a needle into my freshly pulverised shoulder blade groove and immediately one kidney sings out in horror… followed a second later by the other.

I start to experience that sense of dread and rising panic one feels in a screaming kidney hangover when one considers the prospect of getting up and going to work the next day, before one sensibly pushes the thought aside and flails pathetically for the pizza menu. There are also heady notes of childhood “don’t leave me” agitation and claustrophobic “what if I can’t get up off this table?” alarm.

After the needles are set on fire (or something — she’s a bit vague) I’m left alone to “get in the zone” and immediately the CD gets stuck on one warbly note, at which point I discover it really hurts when I laugh. I raise my head out of its towelly nook with difficulty, a thin strand of drool connecting us still, but decide that calling out feebly for assistance would just be too much to take.

“I don’t have my diary on me at the moment,” I bluff, once safely upright in reception. The practitioner looks at me sadly, as though she knows we are never going to see each other again, despite me executing my most sincere “sure, we’ll stay friends” smile.

The outcome is somewhat confusing. Dyed-in-the-wool skeptics will tell you there’s no stock in acupuncture whatsoever, yet it’s elicited a reaction in me, even if it’s an unwanted one. Maybe, like when I tried on my special $3 acu-sock, it was just the idea of having my organs messed with that made them cry foul.

Tai chi: calming for me; rage-inducing for commuters

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“Ridicule is nothing to be scared of,” said Adam Ant, who should know.

I’m in an extremely central Melbourne precinct with 10 softly-spoken pensioners in sweatshirts, pants and gloves, repulsing the monkey.

And a strange thing happens. Gentle, gentle, I’m feeling so gentle. I’m so used to bowling over pedestrians and skewering my hipbones on the edges of desks, I didn’t know I could feel like this. It’s as though I’m pushing and sculpting treacle instead of air. Warm, lovin’ treacle. I look over at my friend Lou and she’s similarly entranced.

Tai chi is an internal martial art that translates as ‘great extremes boxing’ (it involves ‘yielding and sticking’ to an incoming attack. Maybe this limpet-like tactic repels the attacker into shaking you off). Stay serious, reader – I’m working muscles I never even knew I had as I form magical tigers, snakes and storks with my body, and there’s not an ounce of fat, nor orthopedic shoe, on any of these elderly athletes.

We’re in the middle of a complex leg balancing sequence to a watery Mandarin rendition of Irene Cara’s ‘What A Feeling’ when some huffing bronco in a suit ploughs through the middle of us, scattering old people in his wake. Luckily, I have achieved great mental clarity, so I don’t mind.

Other commuters may smirk, but I know they’re jealous. I’m starting the day parting the wild horse’s mane and they’re … well … they’re not. Definitely going to do this lots. Feel all smooshy.

Getting my ears candled

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I fall asleep immediately, so I’m not sure what happens. According to this article, though, “the negative pressure needed to pull wax from the canal would have to be so powerful that it would rupture the eardrum in the process”.

 

Having a go at Tantric sex

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I’ve been determined to explore tantra as one of my missions, but the only morsels my Melbourne forays unearthed were a thinly veiled prostitution service, in which Tatiana offered to touch me all over while we were both naked for a mere $250, and a website for Tantric Dave, who lies stretched out with one thigh positioned over his ‘wand of light’.

Then I found a less salacious lady in Sydney.

The reason I’ve been determined to try this is because it sounds so excruciating. I mean, tantra’s all about spirituality, eye contact and effort, isn’t it? I doubt Sting saw his virginity as an indignity to be got rid of fast, or treats wanking like an aggressive formality.


My tantra teacher today is Brazilian, and therefore well placed to laugh at the sexual repression of the English. She greets me in leisurewear, but then produces a couple of skimpy kaftans. A room of her apartment is decked out New Age-style, with candles, incense, cushions, didgeridoos chorbling away and the heat up stiflingly high. Let me just open my kaftan a notch…

We start off with some pelvic floor exercises to get the blood flowing to the nethers and to learn how to, you know, sort of massage a man.

Breathing deeply through our mouths, we clench away, and Beatriz suggests I move my hand up my body to help me visualise pulsing the good feeling right up to my heart. It’s no use, though – try as I might, I can’t extend the warmth beyond the physiological vicinity of my reproductive organs. I feel like I’m swinging a hammer at a test-your-strength machine and not pushing past ‘puny’. Meanwhile, Beatriz is clearly dinging the bell.

Next, we sit opposite each other on cushions and take turns musing on “what touches my heart”, while staring into each other’s eyes. I know what you’re thinking – belt up the kaftan and run – but by now I’m so comfortable with Beatriz and her good vibes that the excrucio-factor is zero.

Beatriz talks about sexuality and how Gen Z girls are expected to recreate porn scenarios while so liquored up they can’t feel anything anyway. Tantra’s a method of being aware of your body and its every nuance. But anyway, on to the masturbation.

Sitting side by side, we slide our right hands down onto our sexual chakras, with our left hands over our hearts, where I find mine is opportunistically having a sly tweak of my nipple. Beatriz starts rocking in a figure of eight, arching her back in and out of the yoga cat pose. “It’s okay to moan,” she gasps. We’re supposed to be visualising a golden sphere of light, but thanks to years of an oppressive male regime, I’m only able to picture a massive cock.

When she’s done, Beatriz gets me to lie on my front and she skims my hair, then places her hands gently on the top and base of my back. They feel like they’re burning hot. I’m so relaxed I could just melt into this authentic Balinese mat.

Then it’s time for the strokes. Leaping up impishly, Beatriz pulls a phallus out of a drawer and lies down on the floor, holding it above her groin by the balls. She demonstrates a variety of imaginative ways to stroke it – ways other than furiously choking it, I mean – and gives me a go as well. I can now pop a cork and firestick someone with no worries at all.

That’s it for our session, and I’m feeling really good. There’s definitely something to be said for taking the time to acknowledge and nurture the sensations you’re feeling. Although, problematically, the idea of a bloke being into tantra makes my ovaries deflate.