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6 surprising things I learned in my first traditional Chinese medicine session

Pan Pacific London is an oasis of calm, thanks to its new traditional Chinese Medicine offering

Chinese Medicine room at the Pan Pacific in London
Melanie Macleod
Melanie MacleodWellness Editor
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Working in wellness, I've dipped my toe in many a woo-woo pool, from biohacking, to cryotherapy to floatation tanks. But one thing I'd never tried was traditional Chinese medicine.

So when I was invited to trial the new traditional Chinese medicine offering at Pan Pacific London, I jumped at the chance – not least because it takes place on the hotel's incredible wellness floor, complete with infinity pool overlooking London's iconic skyline.

Pan Pacific's rooftop infinity pool
Pan Pacific's rooftop infinity pool

Pan Pacific London's wellness programme is led by renowned practitioner Slavomir Latko and comprises cupping, sonic acupuncture and sound therapy. I love how blissed out sound therapy makes you feel, so I said that's what I'd like to book in for, but was immediately informed that when it comes to Chinese medicine, you don't pick the treatment you'd like, but the modality best suited to you will be assessed upon arrival.

Here's everything I learnt at my first traditional Chinese medicine session…

1. It's totally bespoke

I was naïve to think traditional Chinese medicine is like a traditional spa, where you choose your treatment. Instead, you go through a bespoke assessment and are prescribed what will best serve you.

Woman lying down having a massage
Massage is an element of Chinese medicine

Slavomir and I spoke for 20 minutes about my life, my stress levels, my sleep patterns, my health and my menstrual cycle, before he decided he'd perform a mixture of massage, acupuncture, Daoist abdominal massage and sound therapy.

MORE WELLNESS: The 20-minute ritual that switched off my busy brain instantly 

2. It's very personal

I was surprised to be asked where in my monthly cycle I was. It's a personal question, and something I'd normally feel uncomfortable talking about, but Slavomir put me totally at ease and I found myself telling him things about my health I wouldn't even want to share with my GP.

The chinese medicine treatment room at Pan Pacific
The Chinese medicine treatment room at Pan Pacific

He needed to know where in my cycle I was because this altered the treatment. Armed with intimate knowledge about me, Slavomir said he wouldn't perform any cupping treatments as this could be too intense for where I was in my cycle, and instead opted for a nourishing, nurturing treatment.

3. You can learn a lot from your pulse

After my assessment, Slavomir placed three fingers on each of my wrists and took my pulse for several minutes, before informing me that my lungs didn't seem to be working at full capacity. True enough, I'd had a cold the week previous and wasn't back to full health. This also impacted the treatment he prescribed.

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4. Acupuncture isn't all about needles

I was apprehensive to learn my treatment would include acupuncture. I'm not scared of needles, but nor do I relish the idea of them. For people who do fear needles, Slavomir offers sonic acupuncture. 

This sees precisely calibrated tuning forks, which are tuned to a musical scale, pressed lightly to the skin. The frequency is set to what will be most beneficial to you and it transmits soothing vibrations to your organs and skin, designed to restore internal balance, leading to harmonious functioning of organs and better mental health.

I did have four traditional acupuncture needles applied to my back too in places designed to help me with my ailments, but I neither felt them go into the skin, nor felt them while they were in my back for ten minutes. The points are so fine you can't feel a thing.  

5. You can't keep any secrets

Many of us are guilty of lying to the doctor about how many units of alcohol we drink in a week, but there's no point lying during your traditional Chinese medicine session.

WE TRIED IT: Can a 90-minute stomach massage improve sleep? 

I had a Daoist abdominal massage, which saw Slavomir lightly press my stomach (more soothing than it sounds), and he was able to ascertain I hadn't been drinking much alcohol due to the feel of my liver.

Daoist abdominal massage is designed to release toxins and help your digestive system along, and it certainly eased any cramps I was having.

 6. Time flies

My sessions finished with a sound bath, with Slavomir playing the imposing gong in the corner of the treatment room, creating the most intense sound bath I've ever had.

Sound therapy taking place on top of a massage bed
Sound therapy is part of Pan Pacific's Chinese medicine offering

The vibrations from the gong filled the whole room, with the waves designed to penetrate the body and create a deep sense of relaxation. I'm assured the soundbath lasted 10 minutes, but such was my relaxed state, it felt like one-minute maximum.

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How did I feel after my traditional Chinese medicine treatment?

Completely blissed out. I'd been warned I might feel 'spaced out,' but that's not how I'd describe the feeling. Though I was relaxed, my mind felt sharp and in focus, but also completely zen.

It's intriguing that no session will be the same, and I'd definitely want to have a second session, especially if I had any specific aches and pains, as I have no doubt Slavomir would have a modality to ease any ailment brought to him. 

Each Chinese medicine treatment is 90 minutes and priced at £250, find out more

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