Constructive Torture - 33 in Tokyo

First, the best thing about celebrating a birthday 16 hours ahead of your normal time zone and being an Internet freak is that the well-wishes seem to go on forever. Second, Facebook is the place for birthdays. I think I just spent an hour thanking and liking the birthday wishes, and they just keep coming. I quit Facebook for a few months last year, and pretty sure I missed this phenomenon entirely. It is quite uplifting (thank you!).Ā 

So, what did I do in Tokyo for my 33rd birthday? Well, basically I paid to be tortured in order to feel great hours later. Near my in-laws home in suburban Tokyo is a sports massage clinic run by a former Olympic trainer. I went there three years ago after injuring my knee on an epic trail run in the mountains near the city, and they put me back in working order right quick. They do muscle-kneading massage, chiropractic and acupuncture - complete with electricity and burning herbs. Suffering from some rather severe repetitive stress pain in my arms and wrists, I figured this was the ticket. And since my last visit, they'd added a hyperbaric chamber.

So, they racked me out, they stuck pins in me and electrified them. They burnt my skin. And then they stuck me in a capsule and turned up the pressure until my ears popped. Due to that whole time zone thing, I actually fell asleep inside the chamber. I went home and took a nap, and when I woke up, I went out for sushi, karaoke and ice cream with my wife. I felt a full half centimeter taller and like I had brand new lungs.Ā 

This morning I woke up with a stiff back. I'm getting old.

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Acupuncture dummy photo by Megan Mallen.

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