It’s not your typical chair massage. The name given to one of the techniques of tui na work — double dragon walking — is symbolic of the roots of this ancient Chinese folk medicine that aims to balance the energy system of qi (chi) and treat the musculoskeletal system all at the same time. And in China, says Xiping Zhou, a doctor of oriental medicine and licensed acupuncturist, it’s usually performed with the client on a simple office chair.
I am lying face down on a massage table. My ears are tightly covered, so that I’m deep inside a loud silence of rushing blood and muffled room tones. Explosions of pressure twang against the back of my skull and reverberate through my brain and being, over and over. I feel at first shaken apart, and then, oddly enough, powerfully relaxed — safe.