by Diane Wiltshire

Medical textbooks define good health as “a state of opti­mum physical, chemical and emo­tional well-being, where all parts of the body are functioning in a normal manner.”

In today’s world, the ideal of a completely healthy mind and body is an elusive state for many of us. It’s not surprising to discover that physical ailments are often the result of too much mental stress in our lives. Most of us, even our chil­dren, are often too rushed to truly listen to our bodies when they sig­nal us to slow down or to take bet­ter care of ourselves.

Alternative therapies have been found effective in both preventative treatment as well as an antidote for illnesses that may not respond to modern medications. Whether you’re suffering from this year’s vile flu bug or spring’s recurring aller­gies, you may want to check out some of the dedicated and well-trained alternative health care practitioners in the Tokyo area.

Dr. Shigetaka Wakita, a gradu­ate of the renowned Palmer Chiro­practic College in the U.S. and a friend for more than 20 years, was my introduction to this healing science. When I first moved to Tokyo and injured my back hang­ing curtains in our apartment, a friend insisted I visit him. I was a bit skeptical, but a few visits later, and my back pain was completely gone.

Today Dr. Wakita is a highly respected practitioner of the Bio-Kinetic Health System, which is based on recent discoveries in neurology (for more details go to

In my most recent visit to Dr. Wakita’s Setagaya office last month, I watched him treat a 5-year-old boy with asthma and the child’s mother who suffered from migraines. Other ailments he has had success in treating are bed-wet­ting, eczema, lactation problems in new mothers, and even more seri­ous illnesses. In fact, the bio-kinetic method has been so effective, he no longer practices chiropractic.

One of Dr. Wakita’s more dra­matic cases is a 20-month-old boy who was severely injured after a fall from a bicycle (be careful not to leave your child strapped in his bike seat unattended!). The little boy was partially paralyzed after undergoing brain surgery but, with regular bio-kinetic treatments, he is slowly regaining movement.

Dr. Wakita’s office is located at 2-35-4 Shinmachi, Setagaya-ku, a five-minute walk from Sakura Shin­machi Station on the Keio Line. Tel: 3425-0044; fax: 3425-6464. You can call to request a map in English.

Acupuncture came to Japan from China in the sixth century and is a proven method for treatment of illness and health maintenance. Dr. Taiken Jo is a fourth generation acupuncturist, also licensed in acu­pressure (shiatsu) and aromathera­py. After graduation from the Uni­versity of California, Dr. Jo returned to Japan and continued his study of acupuncture, incorporating chiro­practic as well as rolfing techniques. In June last year, Dr. Jo opened the Acura Acupuncture Clinic in Omotesando; he also sees patients in the Kanagawa office which his family has run for more than 30 years.

The Acura Clinic serves many foreigners who appreciate Dr. Jo’s ability to communicate in English as well as his dedicated approach to holistic medicine. His clinic uses only sterilized, disposable needles (as fine as a strand of hair), which are gently inserted into specific tsubo (energy channels) on the body. The stimula­tion of these points, or meridians, releases blocked energy and rejuve­nates the body’s natural healing capability.

One of the benefits of acupunc­ture is that it can be used as a pre­ventative measure; an acupuncturist can spot a weakness or imbalance in the body before it surfaces. Sometimes ailments which can’t be specifically diagnosed by Western medicine can be treated effectively by acupuncture or acupressure.

Lately Dr. Jo has had much suc­cess in treating infertility and men­strual problems in women. He also sees many infants and children in his practice for colic, hay fever, asthma, colds, bed-wetting, constipa­tion and even excessive crying at night. Acupuncture is quite effec­tive during pregnancy for nausea and lower back pain.

Visit the Acura Acupuncture Clinic Website at for more information and maps to each location. Dr. Taiken Jo can be reached at tel: 5469-0810 in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, or (046) 261-5451 in Yamato City, Kana­gawa.

One of the best remedies for de-stressing your life before anxiety takes its toll, is to indulge in an aro­matherapy massage. A couple of years ago British banker Karen Crow left her high-pressure job to pursue a career in the field of alter­native therapy.

During her stressful days in the banking industry, Karen had bene­fited from aromatherapy massage, so she decided to enroll in the high­ly acclaimed Tisserand Institute in London and qualify as a therapist. Upon graduation, Karen found out she and her husband would be transferred to Tokyo, and she took this opportunity to open her own aromatherapy massage business in Yoyogi.

Karen obviously loves her work and brings a dedication and professionalism to all her sessions. When she works with a client, Karen first spends 20-30 minutes completing a lifestyle question­naire; after the assessment, she and the client together choose the essential oils that will best help any problem that the client is experienc­ing.

In a warm room, with soft light­ing and relaxing music, Karen then massages the whole body for 70 minutes, using a firm Swedish massage technique and incorporating shiatsu pressure as well. Massage has been found to boost the immune system and offers relief from depression, insomnia, PMS and other related ills.

Karen treats only women and charges a very reasonable ¥10,000 per session. Most of her appoint­ments are set up by e-mail at karen.crow@talk21 .com or you can call 3299-7732.