Karada: realigning your body, Japanese style
A few years ago, Yuki Koyasu got involved in a car accident in Japan, wherein he suffered from whiplash that caused him a lot of pain. He began searching for ways to recover and underwent chiropractic therapy, Chinese foot reflexology, Thai massage – the works. From all of these treatments, he decided to integrate all the things that worked for him and create his own system. This is how AP Balance – “AP” stands for atlas (the topmost vertebra of the backbone) and pelvis – began, to balance the spine. When he did this new treatment, Yuki’s body condition felt a lot better and from there, “Karada” (a Japanese word for body) was born.
Karada is a Japanese body therapy that carries the original technique AP Balance plus a body treatment in the form of a shiatsu-like massage. The AP Balance treatment claims to revitalize both the body and the mind. The first thing that this treatment will do is realign your first cervical bone, then the atlas and the pelvis. AP Balance focuses on bone alignment and muscle treatment. One of the benefits of Karada is giving the body the natural healing ability by realigning the bones and improving blood circulation through the body.
When I went to their 8 Forbestown Road branch, I met Tomo, one of their Japanese master trainers. They have both Japanese and Filipino therapists, all of whom trained for at least two months to acquire full knowledge about the body’s pressure points and stress-prone areas to make sure that every one is competent to treat with utmost precision and care.
I walked in semi-limping, no thanks to a knee injury I currently am nursing, and I asked Tomo if that could be treated along with my back pain. He assessed my mobility and alignment and concluded that one of the reasons I injured my knee was due to the fact that my pelvis wasn’t aligned. My right hip is apparently higher than the left which would give strain to my left knee when standing.
It made a lot of sense especially after having the final diagnosis for my knee (that’s another story). He realigned my bones using chiropractic techniques and a drop bed – the mechanical bed that helps the therapist align your bones better with the help of the tension put in your body – but you won’t even feel it. Hearing your bones crack as you are being realigned isn’t as scary as one would believe, but rather very relieving.
Before realignment, Tomo tested my balance by pushing down my hands, which were interlocked behind my body. I kept falling over as he did that but after my realignment, he did the test again and I kept my balance. After the realignment came the body therapy which was relaxing in a weird way – it was pleasurable but oh-so-painful. The body treatment is a dry massage – no oil – which loosens up stiff muscles in the body. The massage is unlike a regular one wherein it’s usually the thumbs that give pressure; rather, it’s the full body weight of the therapist that is applied for more pressure.
As stated earlier, it is somewhat painful but pleasurable when you’re undergoing it. In Filipino we call it “masakit na masarap” and in Japanese they have a word for it – “itakimochii.” It is not a relaxing massage but it’s a more functional one. I fell asleep when I had this treatment, though, so I guess it somewhat relaxed me.
This treatment is perfect for everybody – older people must have their bones in check because we tend to lose our posture when we grow older, athletes or anyone active for proper circulation and posture, and pre-teens, too, as their bones are still developing and growing (just a light load for kids, though). Those who go for realignment must do so regularly, because the body has yet to get used to going back to its natural and correct alignment. So if you don’t do this regularly, your body will just go back to bad posture or uneven alignment.
In my case, I have to go back every week. For those who think bone realignment is too much, it’s okay. You can still go just for the body treatment and have your blood circulation flowing. A bit of a warning though – if this is entirely new to you, don’t be surprised if you feel a bit off after; that’s normal, as your body is just getting used to it. But hey, wouldn’t you want your body to get used to having great circulation and proper alignment? I know I do.
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