Upon my arrival, I was a bit surprised by the office's appearance. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't expecting some ancient, bearded Asian man with a pipe in hand turning needles over a fire in a dark, incense-filled room, but I hadn't anticipated it to be so clinical like, either. Dr. Park's office was small but comfortable and very clean. He had a kind demeanor and spoke enough English to discuss my medical problems.
After I told him that I had been having strange pains in my abdomen for some time, he assessed the pulses in my arms and legs, the most important diagnostic technique
in Chinese medicine. After determining the pathogens and imbalances present in my body through my pulses, the doctor prepared instruments for my acupuncture session.
I don't mind needles so much, but I was somewhat apprehensive about having a number of them in my body at one time. To my surprise, however, this never happened during my session, as Dr. Park's acupuncture method involves the use of a single pen-like device in which he lightly pokes the hair-thin, stainless steel needles into a variety of points along the body's lines to relieve the obstructions of energy flow. I barely felt the needles and I found it interesting that he used points in my elbow, thumb, big toe, and calf to fix a stomach problem, but he seemed to know what he was doing. Plus, these techniques have been used for thousands of years, so who was I to argue? The entire treatment took a total of about five minutes.
Earlier this month, I was struck with a stomach ailment that I originally thought was appendicitis. After dropping about $500 in the emergency room at Seoul National University Hospital, I was told that all of my tests had returned normal. After spending even more in their clinic on a return visit and some further tests to ensure I didn't have cysts, my boss recommended that I try traditional Chinese medicine. Somewhat skeptical but intrigued, I agreed to join her on a trip to Seomoon Oriental Medical Clinic to have a consultation with Dr. Jin-il Park.