Meat cleaver method: unusual health practice in Taiwan

Updated: 29 Feb 2012
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meat cleaver
A man has five meat cleavers applied to his face and head. The treatment is said to be relaxing.
 
In Chinese culture, almost anything can be held to have a health benefit if used in a certain way — even being struck with a meat cleaver. Tapping the sharp edge of a cleaver on the flesh is said to benefit the skin and muscles and to be relaxing.

The Huayuan Street night market in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, this month promoted the meat cleaver healing method, attracting large crowds of curious onlookers to this often spectacular performance.

The "doctor" holds a cleaver — sometimes two — like a pork butcher and strikes the patient with the sharp edge.

Hsinchu mayor Hsu Ming-tsai, who went under the cleaver for himself, said he felt good after a session. Others who have tried it said they found the experience new and strange, and that it does not hurt as much as gua sha, which involves scraping the skin with a spoon, or cupping, a traditional practice in which local suction is applied to the skin in a way believed to help the flow of blood.

At the night market in Hsinchu, each cleaver treatment lasts 10 minutes and costs NT$99 (US$3.30).

A city official said that the cleaver method is recognized as a form of legal alternative medicine, along with qigong, cupping therapy and gua sha.

SOURCE: Want China Times
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