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Australian Gay Men Article

Chinese Medicine practiced on only gay men in Atlantis Cruise

Solstice my Love - Chapter 3
Sunday, 6.30 in the morning, at the landing stages, Everglades Port, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Last Sunday, 2400 same-sex men attacked my love, the Solstice, and took over every available surface. This is a gay men's Cruise Charter, which means they lease the entire ship. Known as a uniquely gay cruise called "Atlantis", they determine the course of the voyage, which islands to touch down on and for how long we'll stay on each island. They have brought with them sophisticated sound and lighting equipment, their own entertainers and even their own Cruise Director. Our preparations for their arrival in the Solstice were like those before the Normandy invasion. However our concerns arising from the former disorderly conduct of those on a very young Atlantis Cruise proved false, the reality was quite different.
The average age was 40 and most were, as I predicted, more relaxed and past the days of youths' irresponsible debauchery. They arrived from all over the world and from all over the United States. Some have not "come out" (as gay) due to the high positions they hold at home. Only on the Cruise can they really open up and live as they want to.
My years of living in San Francisco, where I practiced with many 5013915 kfir" practitioner chinese medicine acupunctureAIDS carriers, along with all the conversations I had with my friend Mickey from the north helped me not to be deterred from them and to gain their trust immediately. Ironically, my life in San Francisco as a heterosexual minority, sometimes even being discriminated against, allowed me the rare privilege of experiencing being in their shoes. The price of this understanding and empathy was such that at the end of the cruise yesterday I was com completely exhausted and emotionally drained. The individual stories were hard ones and I gave of myself a lot.
Already in the embarkation spa tour I noticed Hugo (French, 43). He is tall, broad-shouldered, walking slowly with what seemed like a lot of self confidence. Later, on the treatment table, he told me in French & English about Pascal his lover from Paris (39 treated earlier in my other room) and of his wife and two children. He told me of his sufferings due to his great and hidden love for Pascal. Pascal and I are the only ones who know of the truth tormenting him. His wife and children do not know anything. However he had started divorce proceedings from his wife, who does not understand why he had neglected her lately.
Every gentle touch to his solid and muscular body created for him enormous pain even though I used the most delicate 5013915 kfir en_ch_acupuncture l" Acupuncture chinese herbs tel avivJapanese needles that we have. To my surprise after the first treatment he refused to continue and take another treatment despite the fact that Pascal his lover continued on to a quintet (a 5 treatment package). I kept thinking about Hugo during the week. Then during the last but one treatment with Pascal I suggested that Hugo might return for one more treatment - and he did. The second treatment with Hugo was with another person: happy, relaxed and lighter. I am not taking credit for all this, it is clear that being on board the Solstice and openly being together was a great influence. I treated him with the most powerful Chinese needles we have and he did not even flinch. I advised him to reveal the truth to his wife and to consult a child psychologist as to how best to break the news to the children, if at all. I assured him that his wife will be hurt much less if he would respect her and tell her the truth. And perhaps even relent a bit when she will know his love is for another man. Perhaps she will take it even better than to know she competes with another woman... He left me with a promise to tell the truth to his younger brother first and only after that to his wife.
Eduardo, a gay man of Argentine origin, arrived at the embarkation from the Miami offices as an executive officer in order to help Anna manage the generation of more income in the Spa during this uniquely gay Atlantis Cruise. Atlantis Cruise guests are mainly professionals and very successful, usually with no children and with disposable incomes. They are known to be self indulgent and great hedonists. The spa revenue target was $200, 000 - almost double the normal cruise goal.
I stopped writing for a moment to say goodbye to Craig who received five treatments. It was only during our last treatment I learned he was Jewish and had relatives in Haifa. I sit and write, for the first time not in my cabin but at the bar of the Ocean View Café at the rear of the ship. A bit strange with hundreds of men around me happily eating their last meal before leaving the great womb of the Solstice.
Eduardo, who is openly gay, had started his career onboard as a cosmetician. He is now one of the company's executives traveling around the world visiting spas on all the ships in the fleet. He came especially on this cruise to provide strength and support for Anna. This of course creates tension between them. Eduardo is rumored to have a bad attitude towards spa employees by using insulting and demeaning ways to urge them to produce more sales of retail products. Most of the spa employees are professionals in their field - massage therapist, manicurist, hair stylists, cellulite reducers, slimming seaweed users, gym, Botox and of course Acupuncture. Due to past experience with Atlantis Cruise guests, two male massage therapists from other ships were flown in, with the hotel and transportation at the company's expense and were given two practice rooms - one at the expense of a female massage therapist and one at our expense. The forecast was that gays do not want to use a lot of acupuncture. Fortunately this forecast has changed quite quickly and the confiscated Acupuncture room was returned to us.
So on Monday night, the second day of the week long cruise, there was a meeting of all 37 employees, headed by Eduardo at the spa. He went through the bills of each one of the spa staff regarding the income earned in the two days preceding. Each one of us was asked how long they had worked for the company and what contract number they are up to at present. For each and every one of us he pointed out what the percentage our Retail revenues were of the total sales. He also pointed out some deficiencies in relation to expectations from each one and suggested several personal tips as remedies. He was very professional and practical from business sense. Almost all the staff have not done enough Retail. He left me as the last of the long list. Then all he said was: "Effi - Fantastic!". This was the first time an "outsider" has publicly given such a strong recognition of my contribution. Mind you Anna even threatened me again the week before the Atlantis Cruise that she is going to send me home. I took her threat seriously and I've already looked the possibility of volunteering to get through to another ship and paying my way before she'd throw me out ...
So it happened that I received a compliment from the company's "high priest" at the right time, a compliment which became useful in the future. I only wish that he had not compared me to the massage therapists, saying I did more Retail than all of them made together. These are things that create resistance and jealousy and I try to avoid them whenever possible. As I'm an expert on Chinese Herbs and have published 2 books on the subject, these Chinese Herbs are for me more like "friends" than just "Retail". All patients that I see are offered Chinese herbal formulas. It is simply required in my experience to compliment the Acupuncture treatments with Chinese Herbs at home. It is clear to all that even 5 consecutive daily treatments are not enough to treat chronic problems. So the comparison to the spa staff who are struggling to sell beauty products in addition to the professional services they give does not have a place and it infuriates the staff towards me and Chinese Medicine rather than creating an incentive to sell more.
Lutz, a German-born Australian 57, is now head chef at the Ocean View. Balding with a very high voice, proudly bearing his black chef's tie, has invited me to sit beside him and the other chefs for lunch. It's a great honor. Since he was treated in my clinic we became very close friends. He points out best and highest quality food of the day to me every day whenever we meet as I arrive in the Ocean View. I had to increasingly use food as a therapy to strengthen the organs that need strengthening against the tension and pressure we are under.
The 5013915 kfir" specialist chinese medicine Israel Acupuncture practitioners enjoy better conditions than the rest of the team. We are supposed to work "only" 52 hours a week and can choose the time off work and which port to get off the ship. On sea days the spa works around the clock and there is usually no time to get off. The rest of the staff work 72 hours a week, sharing their rooms with another woman, unlike us who have a room to ourselves. I dedicate my whole self to the work. In the hours I don't work I think about how to improve and learn from my mistakes. This is how one can progress. Most of the spa staff are very young, in their early twenties, and think more of how to have a good time. Work is secondary. Therefore there is forever a clash between these girls and the spa managers.
I'm not counting the hours of work and do whatever I can accoarding to the needs of the business. Sometimes when there is pressure and, as I have only two treatment rooms, I even begin to treat before seven in the morning. Sometimes even giving up lunch through lack of choice and continuing until 9pm. But I make sure to get off the ship at San Juan every Tuesday and San Martin on Wednesday or Thursday and call my children on Skype.
The Atlantis Cruise chose to land on the islands of Coco Cay, San Martin (Dutch - French), San Bart (French) San Thomas (United States Virgin Islands) and Samana (Dominican Republic). Except for San Thomas the other three sites do not have a harbor deep enough. For that reason the Solstice dropped anchor offshore and small service boats (tender boats - what a great fun!) took us to shore and back. San Bart (Bartolommeo) the French is the most affluent, with brand name stores, women dressed with latest European fashion, shiny new cars and yachts that are just spectacular. The island itself has gorgeous architecture and everything in it is done so tastefully. A world of difference from all other islands of the Caribbeanthat are relatively poor. Much later when I arrived in Quebecwith the SummitI had the same feeling as I felt in San Bart.
One evening I received a phone call from Anna. She demanded I get to the spa at 2145 to participate in a promotional video clip. I have decided to wear a suit, red tie and lizard-skin shoes, not my Doctor's jacket. The spacious couples massage room had already in it the filming crew, John the Cruise Director of the Solstice (with his girlfriend from Netanya), Malcolm the Cruise Director of Atlantis, the representatives of the various spa services and Dana and Anna. I was the only one who spoke earnestly to the camera on Chinese Medicine, everyone else fell into prostitution in their efforts to bluntly flatter and seduce the best of our sons. Tyson from the gym outdid all with a pornographic style that showed his skills in the art of seduction...
The released clip came out pretty crazy and funny - the next day I was a celebrity for a day and guests and various staff members opened and said: "I saw you yesterday on TV" ... it reminded me of my days in the filming industry when I appeared in the credits of TV shows, time when there was only one channel in my country.
Terrence (Canada, 32) had five treatments (hereafter - a "fiver" or "quintet"). He works for NATO as a civilian employee in psychological warfare, in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He suggested that I visit him in the city of Herat before the end of his contract so he could help me a lot, that it's pretty safe to visit and noted that I could merge with the locals if I grow a beard and that hotels and tourist services are rather developed in this city where I was not born unlike the rest of my family…
I was very disappointed in the Dominican Republic at Samana. Everywhere I walked was dirt, filth, poverty and neglect. I traveled the city on foot, spoke Spanish and thanked again my teacher Selma of the Cervantes Institute. I could not buy anything to eat at the local market for the fear of contamination as opposed to always trying the local markets in my travels in Asia or South America. However, I had moments of sheer enjoyment walking by the beach and onboard the local fast sailing tender boats, where the waves splashed and sprayed over my face.
I treated Eugene from San Francisco, a man who works for a pharmaceutical company and claims he sold his soul to it. Gary from Atlanta was treated too. Gary has an antique jewelry collection and he showed me parts of it. It was nice to discuss gemology and evaluate designs and use of precious stones like Tanzanite, Rubies Sapphires and others. He agreed to have only one treatment "just to try" and then he bought herbs and continued for another two. On the last session he com completely opened and I found myself advising him to adopt his sister's little boy, who has a brain damage and he admitted how he become so attached to that boy…
Charlie (42 South Africa) was treated in a quintet. He is a successful restaurateur and arrived alone to the cruise. To his delight, he met onboard his new American boyfriend and he has already been considering emigration to the U.S. to be forever with the man he had first met a few days ago ...
I realized that almost all the guests in Atlantis are incredibly muscular and spend many hours at the Gym. Some use steroids and other substances in order to appear more muscular. It was clear to me after treating so many that those body muscles are but an armor to cover external and internal vulnerability and a great sensitivity.
On embarkation day I met Emanuel, late forties from New York State. A very impressive handsome man, with earrings in the shape of 10 cent rounds in the lobes of his ears (held out by a red plastic circle on the day we met, but he changed their color according to mood), silvery hair and a ponytail, piercing green eyes and a very muscular body much covered with many tattoos.
Gerald, his "spouse" is a transgender (a male in the body of a woman) and they have been a couple for 10 years. Gerald was treated by Dana. Emanuel chose me. Giving Emanuel six treatments was very difficult emotionally and mentally. Right from the start, in the first session, I had to shut him up and make it clear who the analyst is and who is the patient. He just could not stop talking about himself and how he helps others and guides them. He confided in me only after he had asked to hold both my hands and felt whatever he felt. Unlike the impressive external appearance, I diagnosed a systemic weakness that was very evident and he was treated for system strengthening. The treatments were largely intuitive and he busied my mind even after the end of the treatments. His condition improved dramatically from day to day. After the sixth the three of us took photos. Emanuel wrote to Guest Relations, to the spa and to me an emotional letter that said I saved his life and made me shiver a little when I read it.
Excerpts from a letter by Emanuel: "I found in the spa at the Solstice my healing angel in the form of an acupuncturist.. I never thought that acupuncture can have such great healing powers. Before joining the cruise I was dead inside, now I am cured inside thanks to Effi ....." "I'm leaving the Solstice covered, safe and full of peace "..." Celebrity Cruise Line thank you I promise to return…"
Michelle the Onboard Marketing Manager told me this morning that the letter was sent to her by Guest Relations, she received it with great excitement and it was sent to the offices inMiami.
By the way, Emanuel has six children aged 14-22 from his ex-wife and he is very proud of them. We kept in touch via Email. A year later they got married and Gerald became Elia after an operation. This world is coming to me with its ailments and I return to it the best that I have. It's wonderful to have such a powerful tool that proves the effectiveness of universal knowledge, non-bias by means of caring for people wherever they are, without discrimination against them on grounds of nationality race or… gender.
An hour and a half to the embarkation of the next cruise, must dash…
Ocean View Cafe, Solstice, Fort Lauderdale
Effi Kfir L. Ac.
(Still straight ...)
To be Continued on Chapter Four… Effi Kfir is a specialist in Chinese Medicine with over 20 years experience specializing in the areas of Pain, Headache, Backache, Digestive problems, Stress reduction, Weight gain, Respiratory problems, Gynecology, Obstetrics, and Fertility. He is an Acupuncturist and Herbalist licensed by the State Board of California and 30 other states in the U.S. He com completed a specialized practice in 3 hospitals in China and Japan and lectured at Bar Ilan University in several Doctoral courses. He also worked at MALRAM in the complementary medicine unit at Ichilov hospital. During 2010 and until his return to Tel Aviv in April 2011, Kfir worked as a Chinese Medicine specialist aboard 3 American Cruise Ships (Solstice, Liberty of the Seas and The Summit) in North America and the Caribbean. He treated members of the staff, crew and guests from over 70 different nationalities, he successfully treated many conditions and was consistently ranked among the top performers in the Acupuncture area. His website kfir provides information on some very important syndromes treated by Chinese Medicine, Kfir's two published text-books, and some useful health tips. Kfir's clinic is located in the heart of Tel Aviv. for appointments please call: 03-5225510 or 054-4804538

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