On a recent visit to other parts of Asia I realized I was surrounded by people on medical tourism trips, but I have never noticed this as a common reason to visit Japan. Well, I think it should be. The quality of healthcare in Japan is really high and the prices are very reasonable when compared to the US.
While traveling in other parts of the world, I have had sudden and uncomfortable bouts of stomach pain, I'm sure I'm not alone. There are many stresses of travel and unusual foods, water and other additives that our bodies are not used to. If you have any stomach discomfort while in Hiroshima, I would highly recommend a visit to the Hakushima clinic.
Dr. Kozako speaks English very naturally and is very good at diagnosing problems holistically- by looking at your eyes, tongue, pulse and reaction to pressure points. He takes time talking to patients and discussing the possible problems and treatments.
According to the Hakushima Clinic’s English website: “If you suffer from Common cold, Stomach pain, Constipation, Hypertension, Obesity, Back and Shoulder pain, Liver dysfunction and so on, please feel free to come and consult us.”
Apparently, the clinic can help issue necessary receipts and documents if you are not on the Japanese national insurance. For me, as a holder of Japanese insurance, we pay only 20% of the charge, but even if I paid the full price, I find the fees here to be very reasonable despite the high quality of service.
As well as western prescriptions, the Hakushima clinic promotes Kampo remedies (traditional Japanese herbal medicine). On a recent visit, Dr.Kozako explained how Japanese Kampo is used differently than Chinese Kampo. In diagnosis, he looks at your symptoms by taking your vitals, looking at the color of your eyes, tongue and watching your body’s reaction to pressure points. Japanese Kampo is also apparently milder and given in smaller quantities than the Chinese Kampo types. He says the Japanese Kampo they use is from natural sources, mostly domestic in origin and does not include endangered animals.
I have visited many times for stomach problems and have taken the Kampo tea they recommend a few times a day and usually feel much better after the first day and fully recovered by the time the week’s prescription of Kampo is finished. As the doctor explains, the Kampo helps the body rebuild immunity while the Western medicine helps heal, they work wonderfully together in restoring health.
The Acupuncture is available in the adjacent room in the same office. It is recommended in combination with medicine, to aide the body’s recovery. You may be wary of needles, but the staff here are amazing and I never feel a thing.
In a typical acupuncture session here, you point out the areas that are tight or painful (usually somewhere in the neck, shoulders and back area) then you are hooked up to a machine that performs a kind of suction massage on these areas. Then the acupuncturist will place needles in these areas and with your consent, attach a mild, electrical current to certain areas. Before my first session, they recommended I not drive for a short time after the treatment as you can feel relaxed and dozy afterwards. However, I find these sessions quite refreshing and although a bit tired following, feel amazing the next day. It is really worth a try.
Although walk-ins are welcome for treatment at the clinic anytime, acupuncture is by advance appointment only.
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I've been living in Hiroshima since the mid 90's & still discovering new things to enjoy. I'm a big fan of both the old "wabi sabi" as well as modern and new designs, Japan offers both of these type of places to explore and enjoy. Even after many years here, I am still discovering surprising, fantastic and wacky things about this strange and wonderful land. I hope you enjoy your adventures around Japan- feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about traveling with kids, vegetarian dining or anything specific to Hiroshima.