Forget Nike Town and Top Shop. The frenzy of Oxford Circus seems a world away from this inner-city sanctum. At one of London’s most frenetic intersections, I discover an oasis of calm.
Polished wooden floors guide my newly naked feet to a welcoming reception of landscape paintings and aquamarine life. Guests lounge on puffy cushions, whispering quietly, and encouraging quotes suspend from the wall: “Take good care of your body and keep it clean and tidy”.
As I scan the airy room, honing-in on a giant bowl of fresh fruit salad, a friendly looking woman behind the service desk catches my eye.
“You’re booked in with Master Oh,” she proclaims with delight once I introduce myself. I feel like I should be impressed. Whoever this Master Oh is, he must be an important guy. So after completing the obligatory health check-list I flick through a deck of brochures and press cuttings in a bid to unearth the mystery of Master Oh.
I am impressed. A survivor of stomach cancer, Master Oh turned to Ki (pronounced ‘kee’) energy treatment 20 years ago after growing increasingly frustrated with conventional medicine. He’s been practicing and teaching the 6000 year old South Korean healing technique ever since, and is now the most experienced practitioner in the West.
A unique and revolutionary therapy aimed at helping patients with various ailments, Ki is drawn from ancient Taoist healing traditions, and uses specific sounds and breathing techniques to remove blockages from a person’s energy system. This enables the patient to overcome both mental and physical problems, ultimately leading to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
The Ki Health Centre is a non-profit charity which strives to improve the health and wellbeing of communities world wide, assisting organisations like Crisis, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, fire brigades, ambulance services and even athletes in the London Marathon.
Praising testimonials from around the world pay tribute to their ability to cure everything from eczema to depression, Multiple Sclerosis, infertility, stress and even cancer. And though I don’t suffer from serious illness, I’m keen to regenerate a body and mind fatigued by the stresses of urban life.
Soft-spoken Master Oh is decked-out in martial arts gear and a gleaming smile. He asks me to draw a deep breath as I lie on my back, fully clothed, in his treatment room.
What follows is a series of hissing and belching noises as he zaps my invisible energy knots with acupressure, jabbing my abdomen, back, neck, legs, head and arms. Drawing from my own experience full stomachs are not recommended, though the noises from the man himself make it highly entertaining as he draws out my toxins and neutralises them.
Ki treatment is fast and the effect is immediate. Within 15 minutes I am back on my bare feet while Master Oh explains what he sensed from my energy flow.
Strangely, he reveals that I have weaker than average kidneys (that explains the kidney pains I suffered as a child): “The kidneys are like a car battery…everything in your body relies on them to keep it going,” Master Oh explains.
His knowledge is immense and his devotion to helping people is inspirational. “We had one woman with arthritis who couldn’t even write her own name when she came in, and within a couple of treatments she could.”
I leave the Ki Health Centre with a strange sense that my head is floating, and a realisation that Master Oh’s dedication to helping others is driven by none other than a profound love and respect for life.
As I collect my shoes and descend into the madness of the city circus, I hold tightly onto that peace of mind.