You either love it or hate it, sure it's crowded, smelly, seems way too colorful and out of place. You might venture down there for the authentic tasty food and to get a glimpse of the vibrant visuals of the Chinese New Year. Most of the times you don't even interact with the people except when you place an order at your favorite dim sum joint.
I simply worship the Chinese... I'm a big believer of Oriental medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, reflexology and Chinese herbs. Simply put, How Can A 3,000 year Old Medicine Be Wrong?!
Sure, I love to visit my primary care doctor in Soho, run into familiar faces, feeling like a million bucks, sitting under the Basquiat paintings in the waiting room, but a after a week of no real improvement, weakness and side effects from the medications, I always end up in Chinatown, at my 80 year old Chinese doctor Ng Lei Ying's small hole in a wall back room covered in needles. Acupuncture and Dr. Lei always saves my a**.
The Chinese look at the physical, emotional and spiritual make-up of the body as a "Mini-Universe". All things work together and in unison. No one part/element is treated solo. Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical treatments dating back to China, 3,500 years ago. The practice, then and now, involves the gentle placement of hair-thin sterile needles in varying lengths into specific areas of the body. It is believed that these needles tap into the body’s force of energy called chi. Each is placed along one of the body’s 12 pathways, called meridians, through which energy flows. Each of these meridians is connected to a specific organ in the body. In a state of illness, it is believed that one or more pathways is blocked, disrupting the flow of energy. Acupuncture is used to stimulate or open the flow of energy.
Sometimes I combine Acupuncture with cupping. Which makes me look like a domestic abuse victim, but worth the bruises.
Cupping has been practiced for thousands of years for the treatment of disease and pain. Cupping is believed to stimulate flow of blood, lymph and Qi to the affected area. Its uses include relieving pain in the muscles, especially back pain from stiffness or injury, and clearing congestion in the chest, which can occur with colds and flu.
Chinese Medicine can cure anything from depression to infertility. It helped me to recover from insomnia, weakness, stress, allergies, constipation, menstrual irregularities, broken limbs, sinus infections, rashes, hives and the flu.
Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. Among the earliest literature are lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by the manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the Mawangdui tombs which were sealed in 168 BC. There are roughly 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature. Plant elements and extracts are by far the most common elements used. The herbs taste awful
but, they really work.
If I just need a quick pick me up or a real massage I go for Acupressure and Reflexology which is a Traditional Chinese Medicine technique based on the same ideas as acupuncture. Acupressure involves placing physical pressure by fingers, hand, elbow, or with the aid of various devices on different acupuncture points on the surface of the body.
Don't get me wrong I still love the luxurious relaxing environment of a real spa; Bliss is still on my speed dial..., but every time I leave the massage room I feel unsatisfied. You don't go to Chinatown for the design, atmosphere or the scene, you go for real healing and lasting health results.
My Chinatown visits are the best pick me ups lasting for weeks and costing less than $50 bucks. On my way home finding the freshest lychee on the street corner and buying the best quality medicinal mushrooms make this experience priceless.
Acupunture, Cupping, Herbs: Ng Lei Ying, 115 Mott Street, NYC, NY 10013
Acupressure, Reflexology: 23 Pell/2nd Floor, NYC, NY 10013