A West End Sanctuary with Master Oh

massageIt took writer RUBY C a few minutes walking up and down the same street, Google Maps in hand, to find Master Oh’s Jung Shim studio, discreetly tucked away behind the sensory onslaught that is Oxford Street, the throbbing loins of the West End. But when she found this hidden gem, it was worth it.

“If you need a sanctuary away from all of that, you’re in the right place. And if you’re like me – a frazzled super-commuter who sees nothing super in spending almost five hours a day commuting – then it’s fair to say your sense of equilibrium might be out of whack.

I jumped at the chance to meet with Master Oh and experience a ‘Qi experience’ energy treatment to rebalance my ‘human energy’.

Feeling stuck

I’m struggling to rebalance myself after a fairly tough year on the personal front, culminating in spending two weeks in the Caribbean saying farewell to a lost loved one. The energy that built up– the Qi – felt backed up in in a place I couldn’t touch, and couldn’t be yoga-ed, rowed, green smoothie-ed or massaged away.

No wonder Master Oh told me that energy blockages were caused by family. Where’s the lie? You carry so much baggage not just from your parents but from siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends, and that can’t always find a healthy outlet.

I’m welcomed into the studio, which at the end of the regular working day is full of people like me needing to release. Except, unlike me, they’re less hurried and more serene. I pull off my clunky boots for some comfy slippers – socks remaining on, if you’re taking style notes.

A very gratefully received cup of steaming cinnamon tea soothes my nerves a little before I’m ushered into a consultation room with Master Oh himself. We had a brief chat about the nature of energy, what I was hoping to get from the treatment (to alleviate energetic and some physical discomfort), and his work around the world.

Master Oh’s friendly assistant gave me an idea of what to expect: there’d be a lot of sound. The treatment could be quite intense. Oh uses a breathing technique that ‘would create sound vibrations that penetrate into the body’s energy channels’, according to the information brochure.

In the treatment room

The treatment is focused more on my belly and left side – Master Oh has determined that the trapped energy in my body was causing the pain I was complaining of in my left arm.

His whooshing, sharp breaths sounded pretty alarming at first. I cracked open an eye to see intense arm movement, hands gripping the air to summon and manipulate my energy, as if to tame it into some kind of submission.

The touch was reassuringly intense, too – my stomach took a good kneading, and so did my upper left arm. The first part of the treatment, I was lying down, changing from lying on my back to on my front, then on my back again. Then I’m sat up for the final phase.

But, to be clear, this isn’t like Reiki or like a typical therapeutic massage. It borrows more from acupressure, with its focused attention to pressure points. And there was burping – which, Oh told me, was releasing my pent-up energy. You don’t get that in shiatsu.

How I felt afterwards, then after that

Immediately afterwards, I felt light-headed and mildly euphoric. Also REALLY HUNGRY, despite having had a decent enough lunch to see me through to dinner. That, I put down to the tummy stimulation, but it’s a more intense response than I’d anticipated. And even after eating all the food when I got home, I felt ‘bottomless’ somehow.

I wasn’t expecting to feel quite so floaty after a treatment where most of the action was taking place inches from my body, but I did.

Would I go back? Sure. Apparently, only 20% of my blocked energy was released anyway, and I’d be happy to see it released.

A couple of weeks on, I find that although none of the things that frustrated me haven’t all magically disappeared, the frustration I feel at those things doesn’t stick. I feel like I’m a little bit closer to the peak version of myself.

Want to try it for yourself?

If you think that an energy treatment could be part of your journey that you’re willing and able to invest in, then an initial consultation is £180. A full single treatment is £150, but you can book a cours

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