The wonders of Japanese alternative medicine

  • When we catch a cold of feel bad for longer than usual, we tend to go see a doctor. We hope that the doctor can “magically” heal us by judging from our symptoms and that he is the only one who can help us by prescribing pills and medicine.

    Many forget that doctors can only treat but not magically heal (except for some surgeons).
    Western medicine, of course, has reached Japan as well and holds most parts of the medical market, but traditional Japanese and oriental medicine is still a part of the Japanese everyday life. Key points here are not only the idea to help the patient with a healthier approach, but also the main aim which is eliminating the origin of the problem. Here are some we would like to introduce.

    Acupuncture 針

    Acupuncture originated in China, but today Chinese acupuncture and Japanese acupuncture are very different. The thickness of the needles varies, with Chinese needles being thicker and Japanese thinner.
    This alternative medicine is used to treat basically any kind of ailment from minor ones as headaches up to severe ones like digestion trouble or severe pains. It usually analyses the origin of the problem and targets it directly with the aim of eliminating it.

    Shiatsu 指圧

    It is a similar approach to acupuncture, stimulating certain acupoints on the human body by applying direct pressure on them. Shiatsu means “finger pressure”.

    Anma massage 按摩

    During the Edo period often practised by blind people, anma massage is usually used for medical purpose, rather than relaxation.

    Kanpo 漢方

    Shortened into kanpo and literally translated as “Chinese way” kanpoyaku (漢方薬) is the use of herbal medicine. People often misunderstand and believe that it is 100% natural, but it actually contains small amounts of chemicals and should therefore be taken with care and respected as western medication.