HEALTH AND BEAUTY ARCHIVE:
538: Pool party
Keep your cool this summer with a visit to one of Tokyos many pools.
Metropolis shows you where to take the plunge.
536: Don't sweat it
With the hot and humid months upon us, Cristy Burne share some tips on staying
534: Swept away
Put away your broomsticksall you really need to soar through the clouds
is an armful of nylon and a good gust. Cristy Burne checks out the air up there.
532: Tee time
Cant keep it on the fairway? The yips invaded your game?
Rob Smaal finds a few experienced golf pros who can work out your kinks on the
530: Balancing act
An ancient science is helping modern men and women find peace, health and
the always elusive balance. Tama M. Lung takes a closer look at
528: Kicking on
Former K-1 Japan champion Nicholas Pettas shares his love of martial arts
at the new Spirit Gym in Nogizaka. Chris Betros goes along to watch.
526: On call
A revolutionary daily disease self-management system is making life easier
for diabetics. Chris Betros finds out about Lifewatcher.
524: Team spirit
From rugby to roller hockey, Tokyo is teeming with sports clubs for the
expat athlete. Rob Smaal shows you how to get in the game.
522: Type casting
Second-generation blood-type expert Toshitaka Nomi looks at the links between
blood classifications and health. Mick Corliss reports.
520: Like a rock
Climbing instructor Luke Kearns gets a grip on Tokyo's best indoor climbing
516: The personal touch
Madonna and Matsui aren't the only ones who need help staying fit. Hanna
Kite pumps it up with the top personal trainers in Tokyo.
514: From here to maternity
Kavitha Rao turns to a handful of Tokyo experts to track down baby basics
for nervous expat mothers-to-be.
502: Tour de Morton, part deux
Don Morton gets back on two wheels for a leisurely ride out toward Haneda
Straight to the point
Lucia T. McCarthy
investigates the ancient remedy of acupuncture.
|Edward Obaidey, acupuncture
Stress, overwork and city living are just some of the conditions
that can throw bodies out of balance and upset their energy
force, or what Chinese medical practitioners have long referred
to as qi. They're also some of the reasons
people continue to seek out acupuncture, a branch of Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses needles to stimulate specific
parts of the body and thereby restore balance and treat all
manner of physical and psychological illnesses.
Said to date as far back as 4,700 yearswhen the first
known mention was included in the Chinese medical text Huang
Di Nei Jing (the Yellow Emperor's classic tome
on internal medicine)acupuncture has been used to treat
headaches, arthritis, back pain, chronic fatigue, depression,
infertility, eczema and poor concentration, among many other
diseases. Its Japanese roots are believed to stretch back
to the 6th century and after surviving a brief ban during
the post-WWII occupation by the Allied Forceswho mistook
its medical uses as a form of torturethis alternative
therapy is becoming more and more entrenched in the
Joy Waitkus, an American living in Japan for the past five
years, recently began a series of acupuncture treatments.
I was recommended by a highly-respected doctor I'm
seeing in Tokyo because I was having bad side effects from
a Western medicine, she says. My doctor suggested
acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine might
be a worthy alternative.
In fact, acupuncture is increasingly seen as complementary
to more modern medical practices. And although most health-benefit
systems in Japan don't include the treatment in their
cache of subsidized medical services, it's still a viable
option with most sessions costing between ¥6,000-8,000.
According to the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion
(JSAM), there are some 50,000 licensed acupuncturists here,
3,400 of whom are registered with JSAM. One of the most popular
practitioners among expats is Edward Obaidey, graduate of
a three-year acupuncture course in Japan and owner of Edward's
Acupuncture Clinic in Sangenjaya for the past 10 years.
with heat application
With his sprightly manner, clear eyes and glowing skin, Obaidey
is his own best advertisement. Inspired by acupuncture's
ability to cure a bout of malaria in his 20s, the UK native
felt compelled to pursue the practice for himself. He now
helps a wide range of Japanese and foreigners restore their
qi, which is comprised of two opposing forces known as yin
It's out of the space between yin and yang that
something can be created and that's what acupuncture
is essentially about, he explains. Acupuncture
reminds the body of its own harmonic state where yin and yang
are in perfect balance.
Going with the flow
Acupuncture is said to work by pinpointing 14 meridians running
the length of the body and controlling the flow of qi. Just
how the placement of needles and choice of methods stimulates
the body to ease pain or cure illness is still a matter of
speculation, but there's a lot more to it than simply
arranging a few needles.
|Obidey assesses a patient's
Acupuncture asks more from the client than many other
forms of treatment because through it we potentially get in
deeper touch with our bodies and this can be both confronting
and liberating, says Obaidey. This depth arises from
the thoroughness sought in diagnosis, with the first visit
to an acupuncturist usually involving an in-depth question/answer
session, covering diet, allergies, past illnesses and sleeping
The acupuncturist will then check not one, but seven pulses,
as identified by TCM to gauge the health of major organs and
functions. Whether they use Chinese or Japanese techniquesthe
difference being that the Japanese style includes finer needlesthe
acupuncturist will consider the eyes, skin, tongue and demeanor
of the client to help determine which of the Five Elements
Next, the client will lie on a massage-therapy table and have
the acupuncturist stimulate relevant points with gentle insertion
of sterile needles, acupressure, and/or moxibustion (which
includes heat application). The client is then usually left
to relax, perhaps with needles lightly inserted, for about
10-20 minutes to allow the sensation of healing as the energy
shifts around the meridians, reminding the body of its natural
state of harmony.
|Moxibustion using tinders
While newcomers often fear that the treatment will hurt,
those concerns are usually quickly allayed. Basically
I started feeling better right away and my conditions are
improving a lot, says Waitkus, who visits Obaidey once
a week. After the first few sessions I was quite wiped
out but that has gone away and now I feel just relaxed afterwards.
In fact I'm so relaxed during the sessions themselves
that I usually fall asleep...so I guess that can tell you
it's completely painless. One of the nice side effects
has been it seems to make me less stressed out, and I have
been sleeping a lot better.
Indeed, the effects can be almost immediate, but Obaidey advises
his clients that acupuncture is not a cure-all but simply
one aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
Overall, acupuncture can show us our strengths, weaknesses
and opportunities with the concept that each part of the body
can be used to represent the health of the body as a whole,
he says. The principles of acupuncture remind us good
health is often close by, just waiting for us to claim it
with a little effort.
Edward's Acupuncture Clinic
3F Co-op Sangenjaya Bldg, 2-17-12 Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-3418-8989.
Japanese and English spoken. Consultation: ¥3,000. Treatment:
¥6,000 per session.
Acura Acupuncture Clinic
Villa Moderna C-203, 1-3-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-5469-0810.
Japanese and English spoken. Consultation: ¥2,000. Treatment:
Acupuncture Clinic Roppongi
4-4-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3401-8514. Japanese, English
and Spanish spoken. Consultation: ¥2,000. Treatment:
The Chinese Acupuncture Studio
Dogenzaka Building #613, 2-15-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. Tel:
03-3464-5819. Japanese and English spoken. Treatment: ¥2,000-5,400.
Photo credit: Matthew Cheetham