Straighten Up At Oasis Spine Salon
Published: September 2, 2021
Oasis Spine Therapy Salon uses the marvels of modern technology to bring relief to those suffering from spinal problems and other associated disorders. On a recent sunny afternoon, we dropped into the office of Mr. Takaharu Iwasaki, the trim and youthful director of the business.
Oasis is located a 5-minute walk from exit 1 of Kiba station, on a side street off Omon Dori, just over the bridge. The flying flags and colourful posters make it easy to spot.
“Although I manage this salon, I’m actually an estate agent with 30 years experience of running my own business in Chiba Prefecture, further down the Tozai Line from Kiba. We opened this place here six years ago, as our Tokyo office,” he said, adding that the massage and machine rental business began in May 2018.
“I’m frequently asked how an estate agent came to be in the spinal medical device business. Well, I’m a keen golfer and played regularly for many years. A few years ago I developed a pain in my lower back, in what turned out to be my first lumbar spinal vertebra. I tried all kinds of treatment, including frequent injections, without great success. Then a golfing friend recommended treatment with the Ceragem Master V3 machine and it was a revelation,” explained the gentlemanly Mr. Iwasaki.
“I’m not an osteopath or masseur,” he said laughing, “the machine does everything. In fact, after two or three sessions most customers can operate the machine by themselves.” The machine, officially titled an automated thermal massager, is approved by the American FDA and by the Japanese Health Ministry. Appointments at Oasis are made by telephone.
As Mr. Iwasaki explained, users first sit on the bed backwards and lift their legs straight out in front, before reclining onto the softer central area. Customers are requested to bring their own towels, preferably large ones, to place underneath their backs.
Essentially, the Ceragem Master V3 is the Rolls Royce of massage tables. Each one contains sets of sliding jade rollers and comes with external infrared heat devices like this, also made of the stone.
The external devices can be placed on any area that’s particularly painful: on the stomach, under the knees, on top of the head or even under the armpits to stimulate the lymph nodes there. Mr. Iwasaki estimated it took around three months of regular sessions to really see marked improvement. “It’s slow and steady,” he said, “more about protection than repair.”
In this case Mr. Iwasaki placed the external device on my stomach. “Most of our customers are in their seventies, although we do have some younger people with innate conditions or problems caused by sports and accidents. Many Japanese women suffer from circulation problems, low body temperature and cold disorder (hiesho) in winter, and this infrared heat treatment is useful for them too,” he said.
Finally, one is wrapped with a blanket. The air conditioner was on high and I didn’t feel overly warm at all. The table contains a scanner that moves down from the neck to the pelvis, measuring the spine and the spinal curvature of each user. Armed with this information the machine then selects a massage programme personalized to each individual body type. There are 12 modes, with six different levels. As Mr. Iwasaki explained, “Each level corresponds to the height the rollers push up your back at its highest point. Level one is 1.1cms, level two is 2.2cms and so on. For beginners like yourselves, I’ve set it for level three, although I use level five myself.”
At the push of a button the session begins. First the rollers work to relax the muscles on either side of the spine, down to the pelvis and back up to the neck, before moving centrally to work on the spine. At each point they stop to apply acupressure and infrared heat on the target areas. An integrated MP3 player with speakers set into the frame plays relaxing classical music, to add to the comfortable mood. The massage itself is a very pleasant sensation indeed and I could easily have laid there all afternoon, as could my colleague. Even just a few minutes on the bed had us feeling stretched and relaxed.
One massage cycle on the Ceragem Master V3 is 30 minutes in length, so the standard one-hour course consists of two cycles. First time visitors can enjoy a discount one-hour trial for 1,000 yen, and Kotomise coupon users will also receive a further discount. The regular fee for a one-hour course is 1,500 yen. “One hour a day is enough for most people, although some do two hours, which will really raise your body temperature and make you sweat a lot. I have a one hour session every day and that’s enough for me,” added Mr. Iwasaki.
Mr. Iwasaki said, “As medical care improves people are living longer, but for many the quality of life is a problem. By using the automated thermal massager people can straighten their spines, stimulate their autonomic nervous systems, relax muscles, reduce stress, relieve arthritis, improve blood circulation, reduce joint stiffness and much more, all while they’re lying down. We have eight machines in total, customers can rent one for just 35,000 yen a month for a large machine like this, or 20,000 for a smaller one.”
We thoroughly enjoyed our brief trial and would definitely recommend it. If you’re in the general Kiba area and have any kind of back problems, why not give Mr. Iwasaki a call and arrange a trial session. You won’t regret it!
Story and Photos by Stephen Spencer