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The Olympics

Rachel Blount and Chip Scoggins provide updates on the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County, South Korea.

Scoggins: Boxers or briefs? At this point in Pyeongchang, either would be great

PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA -- We're inching closer to the halfway point of Team Strib being here for the Olympics, which makes the Super Bowl feel like it happened two months ago.

Now in our second week, I figured it was time to do a boxers and socks check. You know the drill. Count how many pairs left vs. how many days left.

I lost.

By my math, I'll come up short on boxers by four days. And I'm not double dipping.

I'll repeat wear pants, shirts, hoodies, maybe even socks, although that's kind of gross, too.

But I'm drawing a line on boxers.

They told us we have a laundry facility at the media village that's free, but I don't exactly have 2 free hours to waste unless I do it in the middle of the night. The Main Press Center up in the mountain cluster has a service but I checked and they have a three-day lag and I'm guessing not cheap.

I've got to choose one option because the supply is dwindling by the day. Hopefully I don't have a repeat of Sochi. Let me refresh.

We stayed in what was basically a dorm there with no laundry service. A hotel down the street, where the men's hockey team stayed, had laundry service so I took mine there.

They told me to come back the next day to pick it up. I show up and they can't find my clothes. I talked to the manager and he told me to come back at the end of the day and they would have it. I got there around midnight after working all day. Can't find my clothes.

I went back the next morning and they thought that had found them, only to realize it was a bag of women's clothes.

I looked like Eeyore walking back to my dorm. I remember I only had a couple pairs of boxers left with a week to go. There was no Target or any shopping nearby to solve the problem. Talk about panic.

I got a message later that day that they had found my clothes. I ran faster than Usain Bolt to get to there and see if they were right. Jackpot.

Let's hope to avoid going through that again.

Paging Dr. Song! Reporter seeks relief via acupuncture

Under normal circumstances, I might hesitate to visit a medical clinic located in an apartment building in a foreign country. But my aching left shoulder wasn’t getting any better, and the sign in the breakfast hall advertising the Korean Medicine Center looked legitimate.

I saw it on my way back to the Strib’s penthouse apartment at the Gangneung Media Village. I strained my shoulder a few days before we left the Twin Cities, and no amount of Aleve was calming the sharp pain that accompanied every move. The staff at the medicine center, located in one of the village apartment towers, knew exactly what I needed: acupuncture.

I’ve never experienced that Eastern healing art. As a healthy and hardy Midwesterner, I’ve never had the opportunity, nor was I sure I needed it. Dr. Song Ho Joon of Dongshin Korean Medicine Hospital was on call Sunday, and he was certain it would help.

After changing into a hospital gown that was much more substantial than our flimsy American versions, I lay face down on a massage table. Dr. Song tapped 11 needles into my back, focusing on the shoulder muscle, and one more into my left hand near the base of my thumb. Though he asked me to tell him if it hurt, I felt only a gentle tap as each needle pierced my skin.

Dr. Song put a heat lamp over the area and told me to rest for 20 minutes. According to the clinic brochure, Korean medicine integrates traditional and modern ideas and is part of the national health system. Treatments are non-invasive, and it relies on herbal and natural remedies rather than pharmaceuticals. Its practitioners have comprehensive training; at Dongshin, where Dr. Song is based, patients can receive regular medical treatment as well as Korean medicine.

The brochure explained that acupuncture works by stimulating qi—the life force and energy flow—and blood circulation. The clinic staff said I would probably not feel instant relief and suggested a second treatment in a few days. But the heat lamp felt good, and a few hours later, I already noticed less tightness and tenderness.

Before I left the clinic, I also sampled an herbal tea called ssanghwatang. The clinic staff told me no one drinks it for its flavor—“it tastes like medicine,’’ they said—but its benefits were intriguing. Ssanghwatang is said to “restore one’s energy for those under a lot of stress and fatigue from contemporary lifestyle.’’ In other words: it’s good medicine for covering the Olympics.

They were right; it didn’t taste great. But it wasn’t terrible, and when I stepped out of the clinic into a stiff wind, I swear I already felt more energetic—just the prescription I needed.

Here's a photo of the Korean Medicine Center at the Gangneung Media Village.




Koreans love to give gifts. I'm taking home my very own Korean doctor mascot.



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