Judo Therapy – Japan’s Wellness Technique that the World Should Learn
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Everyone knows judo as a sport that builds physical and mental health due to the swift movements, balance and calmness of mind involved in it. But anyone may hardly know that judo has healing properties. You might be surprised, but this is true. Can a sport primarily based on punches and kicks have healing properties? Yes, although it’s hardly known to the rest of the world, “judo therapy”, an ancient healing art, is very popular in Japan.
Over its history, judo has split into two areas. First one is “sappo” or “kill method” that’s known to the world as a martial art and has been even involved into the Olympics. The other one is “kappo” or “resuscitation method” which developed into the “judo therapy”. So, apart from the benefits known so far to the world, there are the healing benefits of judo too.
Generally, in judo, limbs, muscles and joints are used to defeat opponents. However in “kappo” therapists try to accelerate the natural healing mechanism of the body to treat injuries that don’t need surgery or hospitalization.
An executive at the Japan Judo Therapist Association, Hiroyuki Mitsuhashi, says that they specialize in things like dislocations, broken bones, sprains and bruises. Instead of performing surgeries like in orthopedics, they use their hands to heal.
There are more than 73,000 licensed judo therapists working with more than 50,000 clinics in Japan. Before becoming certified clinicians, they all have to have some judo experience. They are particularly popular among student athletes and people suffering from troublesome pains of old injuries that are wrongly considered as healed already by mainstream doctors.
However, they have something nice for Japan’s aging population too as they are trying to find a niche for keeping this populace fit and healthy. In Japan, more than 28% of individuals are 65 and older. Judo therapists conduct regular classes of low-impact workouts inspired by the martial art that are making seniors energetic and more resistant to falls.
The underlying principle of judo therapy is to use the body efficiently and it will promote your metabolism and stabilize mind. The above-mentioned workouts, unlike other exercises, work on body as well as mind. These judo-based exercises have eased chronic pains of many people who have found that their joints have become flexible.
Judo-based exercises can enhance one’s sense of balance and prevent falls. Judo therapists say that by rolling on mats and practicing moves, the seniors use their semicircular canals (part of inner ear that controls balance) and induce their cerebellum. They further say that if you practice how to fall, ultimately you stop falling because your balance improves.
Judo is helping Japan’s young as well as old population and everyone in between improve their health. We too should learn judo for our fitness.