Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Heat Therapy at Biche!

Does anyone remember Biche, the super eco-center south of Manchon that houses an organic market, an organic restaurant, the eco-feminist network, as well as a space they kindly allowed us to use to show the documentary Forks Over Knives?  Well, there's more: the fourth floor is home to the Body and Culture / Fasting and Filling healing center.  After a zip-lining incident at Herb Hills a few weeks ago that damaged my hip, ribs, kidney, and pretty much the rest of the left side of my body as well, I found myself in need of some medical attention and decided to pay a visit to Doctor Jeong, who practices a particular type of oriental medicine - first developed in Okinawa, actually - called "주열" (Ju-yeol) heat therapy.  

When I first got there, they had me change into patient clothes and lie down on a massage table. 

Over in the corner, Dr. Jeong switched on a few mysterious-looking devices:

They turned out to be something like irons.  Or at least that's the analogy that came to mind as he ran them over my aching muscles, alternately warming and massaging them, helping to restore proper blood circulation and allow them to recover from the shock my mid-air collision had given them. 

After about thirty minutes of work, he moved me over to the next device:

I lay down on the stone table, then the doctor rolled the bamboo sheath up over me, and dropped the towel down over my neck, so that only my head was outside of the chamber.

He moved over to the control panel and, once again, switched on the heat.

I was then left alone for another half-hour to meditate, sleep, and sweat it out in my own personal capsule sauna.  Despite the heat inside, my head outside stayed nice and cool and I was able to allow my body to heat up without growing nauseous. The heat eases the tension in stressed and pulled muscles, and helps your body to break down clots and other impurities in the bloodstream, restoring circulation and allowing the body to go about the business of healing itself. 

According to Dr. Jeong, because Ju-yeol therapy accelerates the body's natural healing mechanisms, it can be helpful in curing various diseases, from muscle strain to eczema to digestive issues to the common cold and even some types of cancer. I for one walked out of the office feeling much better - the pain that had caused me to wince every time I lay down our mounted my bicycle had mostly subsided, as had the fear that I had somehow done permanent damage to my kidney and other vital organs.

To make an appointment, you can call the office at 053 -752-0991 or Dr. Jeong directly at 010-6591-7706. A bit of Korean will be useful, but the doctor speaks basic English. Ju-yeol therapy costs 50,000 won per visit, or 40,000 if you register as a member of the center.  Membership costs 10,000 won per month. 

Also, the restaurant has put out a new and updated menu!  You can check it out here.  (Sorry, Korean only.  The new manager, Mr. Hwang, speaks quite good English though!)

Biche is located behind the Hwangeum-dong Taewan Honors Apartments about 1.5km south of the Suseong-gu Office subway station and 2km southwest of Mancheon subway station.  The closest bus stop is Dongdo Middle School (동도중학교), which is served by the 349, 414, 427, 449, 순환3, and 수성1 buses. Check out the Green Guide map for more details.