COVER STORY:Life Innovation
Caption: At the Kanda, Tokyo branch of Dr. Foot, Shigeru Yonamine massages a customer’s feet.
Credit: TADASHI AIZAWA
Health in Our Hands
Japanese people are becoming increasingly proactive when it comes to looking after their health—and that of others.
The Kanda branch of Dr. Foot is located in the middle of a busy shopping street.
Credit: THE JAPAN JOURNAL
Relaxation and Therapy
“Owww!” An office worker grimaces with pain.
“If it hurts here then that means you have problems with your digestive system,” explains the man massaging the sole of her foot.
We are at Dr. Foot, a massage clinic near Kanda Station, right in the heart of Tokyo. According to masseur Shigeru Yonamine, “Almost everyone chooses the thirty-minute option. Foot massages are quite popular. We firmly massage the calves and the soles of the feet, which is sometimes called the ‘second heart.’ A lot of people come once or twice a month, and some people even come several times a week, depending on their level of fatigue.”
“The massage is extremely painful, but afterwards I feel better all over, not just my feet.” The office worker who was grimacing a moment ago now looks refreshed.
Yonamine says, “Most of our customers work in offices in the surrounding area. We get particularly busy in the evenings, when all six chairs are full.”
An AED device at the Urban Dock LaLaport Toyosu shopping mall in Tokyo.
Credit: TADASHO AIZAWA
On June 5, some 1,300 citizens of Fukuoka Prefecture learned how to use an AED and practice CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), making it the largest such event held in Japan.
Credit: THE JAPAN JOURNAL
Emergency First Aid
One day, you or somebody nearby might suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. When this happens, the most important thing to do is perform first aid immediately. The probability of extending life after a cardiac arrest is heavily dependent on how quickly action is taken. For this reason, in the last few years there has been a rapid increase in the number of AED devices (Automated External Defibrillators) installed in various locations around Japan, particularly places where many people gather, such as train stations, airports, hotels and schools. The highest installation rate in Japan is in Yamanashi Prefecture, where there were 176.1 devices per 100,000 people as of December 2008, followed by Tokyo with 169.1. There are many reports of people whose lives have been saved as a result of having an AED installed nearby.
However, being able to use the devices correctly is just as important. Many AED seminars have been held in Japan.
“I decided to participate because I’ve seen AEDs all around town more often recently,” says one of the participants in the seminar held in Fukuoka, a female office worker in her thirties. “It was quite easy to understand how to operate it, and I’m now confident that I could respond quickly and calmly if I ever had to actually use one.”