I don't really mind the fire. Truth is, I find staring into a woodburner for hours on end just as entertaining as televised rugby, and vastly superior viewing to golf.
So I'm not really scared of the flames, even if the meths-fuelled blaze I'm ogling happens to be taking place on my stomach, just north of some bits I'd really not rather suffer third degree burns to. I'm really only here because my pitch to the chief reporter that I'm genuinely terrified of bikini-clad waitresses serving me cocktails on a South Pacific island didn't gain much traction at the Fear Factor series editorial meeting.
So, the flames don't bother me. But I can't say the same thing for the tiny hammer with a head of needle spikes that my Chinerchi therapist, Angela Ning Zhang, uses to create minute drainage holes on my chest and belly.
That's not much fun at all, quite frankly. It is, however, necessary. Without the holes, the suction cups Angela is about to latch on to a torso that has been oiled and repeatedly set on fire (under a protective sheet) will cause blisters. Can't be having that. Instead the cups, of which there seem to be about 20, quickly begin to draw a mixture of water and blood out of the tiny holes.
Detox Cupping. Photo / Greg Bowker
Traditionally - according to the great journalistic research tool known as YouTube - the cupping therapy would be done using fire to suck the oxygen out of glass cups, which are then attached to the body. Angela uses a plastic pump, removing an element of danger and allowing her to control the level of suction, which is enough to create discomfort without venturing into pain. The intersection of western pragmatism and eastern mysticism sucks my flesh into remarkably hideous welts and the fluid Angela says is at the root of my chronic health problems begins to flow.
Based on ancient Chinese principles, Chinerchi is fairly complicated and more than a little baffling. In a nutshell, five major organs provide the body's energy flows and when that gets mucked up so do we.
"I don't understand all that shit on the wall," says fellow patient Max, 66, gesturing at a chart that explains the links between areas of the face and various internal organs. "But [Angela] is passionate about what she does and it is working."
Four treatments in, he swears he feels and looks much better.
Diagnosis occurs via a five-page health questionnaire combined with palm and face reading. Angela has me pretty well pegged: "You've got a gym guy look but not a vibrant guy look," she says. My clammy hands give away that I'm not a box of fluffies, and Angela actually yelps in horror when examining my tongue.
In fairness, I'm not feeling the best, but I've put that down to my fondness for strong craft beer and outright addiction to chilli.
Chinerchi's guidelines on nutrition (no alcohol or spicy food) tally with my self-diagnosis, but we differ slightly on the need to be set on fire and method of fluid drainage.
Cupping has its believers. Sonny Bill Williams, Madonna and a bloke in my over-35s soccer team with a dicky back all swear by it.
I'm not so sure. The cups come off and Angela instructs me not to have sex for at least 24 hours. Given my resemblance to a purple spotted salamander, that doesn't appear likely to be a problem.
I don't think I'm going to take up Angela's offer of more treatments. Truth is, I'm not ready to buy into most of Chinerchi's healthy lifestyle principles.
But if I'm ever afflicted by impotence I'd consider giving the Tibetan Fire Dragon Therapy another bash. What could possibly go wrong? And what, really, would you have to lose?
• Electronic acupuncture - charges up the body's five major organs (heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys).
• Tibetan Fire Dragon Therapy - improves blood circulation.
• Detox cupping - draws toxins from the body.