I have been watching Korean dramas and there is something I noticed. When someone is not feeling well, they will use a needle to prick the fingers. How does that help? Is it a Korean thing?
Yes. To be more specific, it is a type of acupuncture.
The remedy is usually deployed for severe indigestion -- the type that feels like the food is stuck somewhere just above your stomach, happening mostly when you eat a little too fast. (Koreans have a word for this condition - che or geup-che - that is separate from normal indigestion. But the Korean cannot think of a single English word that is equivalent.)
The remedy itself is really easy. Sanitize a needle either by burning the tip or washing it with alcohol. Tie your thumb with a string or a rubber band to constrict the bloodflow. Then prick the little sliver of flesh on the corner of the thumb where it meets the fingernail. Press and let the blood out. The end result should look like the picture below.
Example of a medicinally pricked finger.
Based on personal experience and numerous, numerous first-person accounts, this remedy works like a charm; usually after about 15 minutes or so, you can feel the "stuck" feeling slowly going away. But how does this work? Chinese medicine practitioners have an explanation based on the body's qi flow and about how the bodily functions are replicated on a person's hand. But as far as the exact science is concerned, the mechanism by which pricking a finger helps indigestion is a mystery, like the way the exact mechanism by which acupuncture helps is still a mystery. Also, Korean doctors warn that this remedy only mitigates the symptoms without curing the underlying cause. Feel free to try out this remedy, but the safe thing to do is to visit the doctor.
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