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E-Books (english-e-reader), A Gentle Touch (1)

A Gentle Touch (1)

The touch of Mr Los needle felt gentle as a feather as it was stuck into Jamie's right ear. Jamie was surprised that he felt no pain, only a little itch. That wasn't too bad. He did not complain as two more needles were put into position. Then the same was done to his left ear. Jamie was left to relax for a while as the needles did their work. Mr Lo read a magazine and Jamie, though conscious of the needles hanging from his ears, sat in his chair and stared through the windows.

He saw bright sunlight, bright colours and streets lined with trees and many kinds of brilliant flowers. He could see tourists buying delicious snacks from street sellers. Shops displayed everything from pots and pans to paper toys, often outside where curious shoppers could see more easily. Everywhere he looked it seemed there were large paper signs in letters of red and gold advertising the latest festival. People were not dressed for the cold and wet, they were wearing light summer clothes and only wore hats to shade themselves from the sun.

Jamie thought about his life as it had been only two weeks before. He thought of the views he had then from his office windows: the grey winter skies, the wet crowded streets and the few miserable leafless trees which lined the streets of the London suburb he worked in. At five in the evening he would have been looking forward to the end of his working day at the small college where he had taught Business Studies for the last ten years. He would be lighting up his twentieth cigarette since breakfast and looking forward to another cup of strong coffee before he finally went back to his lonely apartment. He had been bored, bored, bored. His whole life had felt grey.

How completely different that was from the view which now met his eyes!

Jamie Russell was glad he had moved to Singapore.

He felt so good about it he had finally decided to give up smoking, with a little help from Mr Lo's acupuncture center. He had always wanted to give up the harmful habit but had, somehow, always found a reason to continue, such as the stress of work or the end of yet another failed relationship with a girlfriend. This time it was serious. It would be in keeping with the fresh start he had made in his life as a lecturer in a respected Singapore college. New job, new life. And what better way to give up than through the use of the ancient art of acupuncture? After all, it has been used in the East for over a thousand years.

Acupuncture involves the use of fine needles placed into particular points on the body that are said to be the focus of important channels of life energy called chi. The needles then direct this chi into its proper place. It is said that many illnesses and bad habits are the result of chi being disturbed or blocked. Acupuncture tries to correct such disturbances and clear the blocked chi. That's what they say.

Ten minutes later, Mr Lo removed the needles from Jamie's ears. Jamie stood up and stretched his arms. He was not sure what his ears had to do with his smoking, but he was prepared to trust the expert advice of Mr Lo. Why shouldn't he?

'How do you feel now, Mr Russell?' asked Mr Lo. He was a short man who appeared to be about sixty, and he had to look up to speak to the tall figure of Jamie. 'Do you still want a cigarette?'

Jamie was disappointed to discover that he did want a cigarette, but he was too polite to say so. Instead he arranged for further treatment in three days' time. In the meantime, he had to take some horrible-looking powder and drink it in hot water at home.

'It will help to direct your chi,' Mr Lo promised him.

When Jamie got home and tasted it he nearly spat it out. It tasted like mud. But he was determined to finish it and finish it he did. Normally, his first reaction to unpleasant experiences was to have a smoke. To his surprise, he found he did not experience his usual automatic desire to reach out for a cigarette. He still wanted one, but he did not feel as if he would go crazy without one. He could manage.

Over the next three days at work in the college he smoked only four cigarettes instead of his usual packet a day. Even then he felt guilty about it. Normally he would feel like climbing up the walls if he did not have a smoke at least once every hour. Was the acupuncture treatment working? It seemed to be.

The next visit to Mr Lo repeated the treatment. The results were, as far as Jamie was concerned, marvelous. He felt no desire at all for a cigarette after the second visit. He took the awful-tasting powder, just to be safe, but the need for a smoke did not return. If anything, the thought of smoking a cigarette now made him feel quite sick.

The acupuncture had worked. In fact, it had worked so wonderfully well that Jamie wanted to find out more about it. What else could it do? If it could stop bad habits, could it also encourage good ones?

He decided to talk to Mr Lo.

Jamie's new job was going well. He liked his hard-working students and they seemed to like him. He found he was feeling more awake and full of life. He no longer minded all the marking of books and preparation of lessons and long meetings that had previously been so tiring for him.

He also started to notice how few local people actually smoked. Before then he had not really cared so long as he could have a cigarette. Now he began to understand just how unpleasant the smelly things were. That's how he thought of cigarettes now: as smelly things that were both anti-social and disgusting.

He was even avoiding the strong coffee he had previously thought to be essential. Alcohol, once a regular part of his life, had also been put away forever.

And it was all thanks to Mr Lo and his little needles.

Jamie visited the acupuncture clinic every week. He was beginning to look forward to the feel of the fine needles in his skin. He enjoyed waiting quietly in his chair while the marvelous needles did their work. He even enjoyed staring through the windows while he thought about his changing fortunes.

Jamie was getting to know Mr Lo quite well. He asked him about acupuncture and other Eastern treatments. He was surprised at the depth of Mr Lo's knowledge. Mr Lo had studied acupuncture for most of his long life. He was actually much older than Jamie had thought him to be - much older. Could this be because of his skills? Jamie wanted to know more. Perhaps he could be taught some of these skills. Then he would be able to use them on himself! Why not? He asked Mr Lo where he could learn acupuncture. To Jamie's delight, Mr Lo offered to teach him himself. The cost was very reasonable and Jamie was glad to accept. Lessons were arranged and Jamie made sure he attended them regularly.

He was an enthusiastic student.

Acupuncture had rid Jamie of many of his bad habits. He was beginning to think he would no longer have any bad habits to treat! After a while, Jamie felt sure he could start treating himself. Improving himself. He did not want Mr Lo to know about this in case he upset the old man. After all, he might see it as a sign of disrespect if Jamie stopped seeing him for his personal treatment. Besides, Mr Lo might not like it. He had ideas about acupuncture and other Eastern studies which, to Jamie's way of thinking, were old-fashioned.

One evening, during a lesson, Jamie asked Mr Lo what he could do to increase his ability to think, to become more intelligent.

'What do you want to do that for?' asked Mr Lo, much to Jamie's surprise.

'Well, I... er... I could do my work better,' said Jamie.

'You do your work well already, as far as I can tell,' Mr

Lo told him. 'And you already have a good brain; I can see that. The mind and the body should be in balance - why spoil it by overdeveloping a brain that is good already, eh? No, my friend, the chi is meant to be in balance in body and mind. Do not upset that balance. What happens when we lose our balance? We fall over!' And he laughed.

Jamie smiled. He liked Mr Lo. But Mr Lo was old with old ideas. And they were not ideas that Jamie shared.

Jamie Russell was thirty-four years old. He was still single, though he had not yet given up hope of meeting the 'right girl'. But there was no romance in his life. His job seemed, somehow, to take up all his time and energy. He had been unhealthy and unhappy. At least, that was how it used to be. Not anymore.

Now, just one year after beginning his study of acupuncture, it seemed to Jamie that he felt fit and happy at last. He no longer smoked or drank alcohol. He had given up coffee. The only thing he did drink, apart from water, was tea. His body looked firm and fit, and his dark brown hair shone with health.

It was a pity about Mr Lo. Why did the old man get so angry about the progress he had been making? Jamie could not see anything wrong in wanting to improve himself, in making himself better - even superior. What was the problem? Things finally reached a crisis when Jamie said he wanted to use his chi to influence his students so that they would never forget what he told them. Mr Lo had refused to help him anymore.

'You cannot do this foolish thing,' Mr Lo had said to him. 'You must not disturb the natural way of the chi - it goes against all I have taught you. If you insist on this foolish action you will be my student no longer!'

It was clear to Jamie that Mr Lo, the master, was becoming jealous of his student. It was sad but perhaps it was for the best. Jamie stopped going to Mr Lo's lessons. He had learnt enough - enough, at least, to know that he had to find other ways of perfecting his skills.

The use of needles was not always practical. He couldn't use them at work or when he was travelling around. There were times when Jamie wanted to increase his chi so that he could give himself that extra rush of energy he often wanted. He could hardly produce a set of needles and start sticking them into himself while he was at work or on the bus. No, acupuncture did not have all the answers he wanted. But, perhaps, acupressure might.

Acupressure doesn't need needles. Instead it uses either special sticks or - even easier - the fingers to apply pressure to points of chi in the body. The principles are exactly the same as acupuncture so Jamie did not feel that he had to start from the beginning again. He was confident that he could learn this new skill quickly. He did not feel the need for a teacher this time. He would teach himself. Why not?

So he did. He got out all the books he could find on acupressure and studied them. He looked things up on the internet. Soon he knew how to apply acupressure quickly and successfully without attracting attention to himself. This was impossible if needles were used.


A Gentle Touch (1)

The touch of Mr Los needle felt gentle as a feather as it was stuck into Jamie's right ear. Jamie was surprised that he felt no pain, only a little itch. That wasn't too bad. He did not complain as two more needles were put into position. Then the same was done to his left ear. Jamie was left to relax for a while as the needles did their work. Mr Lo read a magazine and Jamie, though conscious of the needles hanging from his ears, sat in his chair and stared through the windows.

He saw bright sunlight, bright colours and streets lined with trees and many kinds of brilliant flowers. He could see tourists buying delicious snacks from street sellers. Shops displayed everything from pots and pans to paper toys, often outside where curious shoppers could see more easily. Everywhere he looked it seemed there were large paper signs in letters of red and gold advertising the latest festival. People were not dressed for the cold and wet, they were wearing light summer clothes and only wore hats to shade themselves from the sun.

Jamie thought about his life as it had been only two weeks before. He thought of the views he had then from his office windows: the grey winter skies, the wet crowded streets and the few miserable leafless trees which lined the streets of the London suburb he worked in. At five in the evening he would have been looking forward to the end of his working day at the small college where he had taught Business Studies for the last ten years. He would be lighting up his twentieth cigarette since breakfast and looking forward to another cup of strong coffee before he finally went back to his lonely apartment. He had been bored, bored, bored. His whole life had felt grey.

How completely different that was from the view which now met his eyes!

Jamie Russell was glad he had moved to Singapore.

He felt so good about it he had finally decided to give up smoking, with a little help from Mr Lo's acupuncture center. He had always wanted to give up the harmful habit but had, somehow, always found a reason to continue, such as the stress of work or the end of yet another failed relationship with a girlfriend. This time it was serious. It would be in keeping with the fresh start he had made in his life as a lecturer in a respected Singapore college. New job, new life. And what better way to give up than through the use of the ancient art of acupuncture? After all, it has been used in the East for over a thousand years.

Acupuncture involves the use of fine needles placed into particular points on the body that are said to be the focus of important channels of life energy called chi. The needles then direct this chi into its proper place. It is said that many illnesses and bad habits are the result of chi being disturbed or blocked. Acupuncture tries to correct such disturbances and clear the blocked chi. That's what they say.

Ten minutes later, Mr Lo removed the needles from Jamie's ears. Jamie stood up and stretched his arms. He was not sure what his ears had to do with his smoking, but he was prepared to trust the expert advice of Mr Lo. Why shouldn't he?

'How do you feel now, Mr Russell?' asked Mr Lo. He was a short man who appeared to be about sixty, and he had to look up to speak to the tall figure of Jamie. 'Do you still want a cigarette?'

Jamie was disappointed to discover that he did want a cigarette, but he was too polite to say so. Instead he arranged for further treatment in three days' time. In the meantime, he had to take some horrible-looking powder and drink it in hot water at home.

'It will help to direct your chi,' Mr Lo promised him.

When Jamie got home and tasted it he nearly spat it out. It tasted like mud. But he was determined to finish it and finish it he did. Normally, his first reaction to unpleasant experiences was to have a smoke. To his surprise, he found he did not experience his usual automatic desire to reach out for a cigarette. He still wanted one, but he did not feel as if he would go crazy without one. He could manage.

Over the next three days at work in the college he smoked only four cigarettes instead of his usual packet a day. Even then he felt guilty about it. Normally he would feel like climbing up the walls if he did not have a smoke at least once every hour. Was the acupuncture treatment working? It seemed to be.

The next visit to Mr Lo repeated the treatment. The results were, as far as Jamie was concerned, marvelous. He felt no desire at all for a cigarette after the second visit. He took the awful-tasting powder, just to be safe, but the need for a smoke did not return. If anything, the thought of smoking a cigarette now made him feel quite sick.

The acupuncture had worked. In fact, it had worked so wonderfully well that Jamie wanted to find out more about it. What else could it do? If it could stop bad habits, could it also encourage good ones?

He decided to talk to Mr Lo.

Jamie's new job was going well. He liked his hard-working students and they seemed to like him. He found he was feeling more awake and full of life. He no longer minded all the marking of books and preparation of lessons and long meetings that had previously been so tiring for him.

He also started to notice how few local people actually smoked. Before then he had not really cared so long as he could have a cigarette. Now he began to understand just how unpleasant the smelly things were. That's how he thought of cigarettes now: as smelly things that were both anti-social and disgusting.

He was even avoiding the strong coffee he had previously thought to be essential. Alcohol, once a regular part of his life, had also been put away forever.

And it was all thanks to Mr Lo and his little needles.

Jamie visited the acupuncture clinic every week. He was beginning to look forward to the feel of the fine needles in his skin. He enjoyed waiting quietly in his chair while the marvelous needles did their work. He even enjoyed staring through the windows while he thought about his changing fortunes.

Jamie was getting to know Mr Lo quite well. He asked him about acupuncture and other Eastern treatments. He was surprised at the depth of Mr Lo's knowledge. Mr Lo had studied acupuncture for most of his long life. He was actually much older than Jamie had thought him to be - much older. Could this be because of his skills? Jamie wanted to know more. Perhaps he could be taught some of these skills. Then he would be able to use them on himself! Why not? He asked Mr Lo where he could learn acupuncture. To Jamie's delight, Mr Lo offered to teach him himself. The cost was very reasonable and Jamie was glad to accept. Lessons were arranged and Jamie made sure he attended them regularly.

He was an enthusiastic student.

Acupuncture had rid Jamie of many of his bad habits. He was beginning to think he would no longer have any bad habits to treat! After a while, Jamie felt sure he could start treating himself. Improving himself. He did not want Mr Lo to know about this in case he upset the old man. After all, he might see it as a sign of disrespect if Jamie stopped seeing him for his personal treatment. Besides, Mr Lo might not like it. He had ideas about acupuncture and other Eastern studies which, to Jamie's way of thinking, were old-fashioned.

One evening, during a lesson, Jamie asked Mr Lo what he could do to increase his ability to think, to become more intelligent.

'What do you want to do that for?' asked Mr Lo, much to Jamie's surprise.

'Well, I... er... I could do my work better,' said Jamie.

'You do your work well already, as far as I can tell,' Mr

Lo told him. 'And you already have a good brain; I can see that. The mind and the body should be in balance - why spoil it by overdeveloping a brain that is good already, eh? No, my friend, the chi is meant to be in balance in body and mind. Do not upset that balance. What happens when we lose our balance? We fall over!' And he laughed.

Jamie smiled. He liked Mr Lo. But Mr Lo was old with old ideas. And they were not ideas that Jamie shared.

Jamie Russell was thirty-four years old. He was still single, though he had not yet given up hope of meeting the 'right girl'. But there was no romance in his life. His job seemed, somehow, to take up all his time and energy. He had been unhealthy and unhappy. At least, that was how it used to be. Not anymore.

Now, just one year after beginning his study of acupuncture, it seemed to Jamie that he felt fit and happy at last. He no longer smoked or drank alcohol. He had given up coffee. The only thing he did drink, apart from water, was tea. His body looked firm and fit, and his dark brown hair shone with health.

It was a pity about Mr Lo. Why did the old man get so angry about the progress he had been making? Jamie could not see anything wrong in wanting to improve himself, in making himself better - even superior. What was the problem? Things finally reached a crisis when Jamie said he wanted to use his chi to influence his students so that they would never forget what he told them. Mr Lo had refused to help him anymore.

'You cannot do this foolish thing,' Mr Lo had said to him. 'You must not disturb the natural way of the chi - it goes against all I have taught you. If you insist on this foolish action you will be my student no longer!'

It was clear to Jamie that Mr Lo, the master, was becoming jealous of his student. It was sad but perhaps it was for the best. Jamie stopped going to Mr Lo's lessons. He had learnt enough - enough, at least, to know that he had to find other ways of perfecting his skills.

The use of needles was not always practical. He couldn't use them at work or when he was travelling around. There were times when Jamie wanted to increase his chi so that he could give himself that extra rush of energy he often wanted. He could hardly produce a set of needles and start sticking them into himself while he was at work or on the bus. No, acupuncture did not have all the answers he wanted. But, perhaps, acupressure might.

Acupressure doesn't need needles. Instead it uses either special sticks or - even easier - the fingers to apply pressure to points of chi in the body. The principles are exactly the same as acupuncture so Jamie did not feel that he had to start from the beginning again. He was confident that he could learn this new skill quickly. He did not feel the need for a teacher this time. He would teach himself. Why not?

So he did. He got out all the books he could find on acupressure and studied them. He looked things up on the internet. Soon he knew how to apply acupressure quickly and successfully without attracting attention to himself. This was impossible if needles were used.