My name is Mieko Mochizuki Swartz.I am a certified California massage therapist, #72001.
I love Japanese bodywork. All bodywork is wonderful, of course, but I feel a special connection to Japanese bodywork.
The interest began during my college days in Tokyo, when I started to have back problems. What was at first an occasional interest and necessity slowly grew, and turned into Kirin Bodywork decades later. It happened in a “you never know where life takes you” kind of way. It is a blessing that I get to do this professionally, every day. I can’t stop smiling about it.
I only use techniques that I have verified to work. I have experimented on myself and my practice clients, and can say so with full confidence. Even then it doesn’t produce results for everyone every time, and that’s where it gets even more fascinating.
Hope to see you on my table sometime!
You can reach me from this page.
Here‘s a description of a typical session, and below you see a list of the modalities and techniques that inform what I do. They all work, beautifully.
Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork based on the framework of traditional Eastern medicine. I use shiatsu techniques for my basic massage and strive to make my touch feel good for my clients.
Techniques include massages with fingers, thumbs and palms; assisted stretching; joint manipulation and mobilization. It is done with the client fully clothed. The great thing about shiatsu is that the client is both relaxed and energized after a session, which is different from the way people feel after a Swedish massage.
Acupressure is a technique similar in principle to acupuncture. It is based on the thinking of traditional Eastern medicine, so uses the concept of life energy flowing through the body. In treatment, the client is fully clothed, light touch is applied to acupoints with the aim of clearing blockages and promoting flow in the energy channels. It is great for relieving stress and boosting the immune system.
I often use Japanese stick-on moxa to warm regions and acupoints with the intention of stimulating circulation through the points and the channels. The heat and the medicinal qualities of the herb induce a smoother flow of blood and qi. The herb moxa is also known as mugwort. It has many medicinal and culinary uses.
Cupping therapy is another ancient form of medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin for several minutes. It mobilizes blood flow and promotes healing. It is a modality that allows the client to visually self-assess how he/she is doing, by learning to read the color and texture of the suction marks. It is easy, fun and highly effective. Great as a self-care method, too.
Amagi Thermal Therapy
Amagi (read: ah-mah-ghee) is a relatively new and rapidly growing modality. It was founded by Rendo Sugimoto, a self-taught practitioner and teacher in Japan. Although it says “thermal” in the name, the methods used do not usually include hot springs or other thermal tools. It is quick, surprisingly effective, and mostly taught as a self-care method. I am certified as a practitioner, and use it often to teach my clients what they can do for themselves at home between sessions.
Seitai is a catch-all term in Japan that includes various forms of bodywork that do not fall neatly into the framework of other modalities. Practitioners with the term seitai in the name of their practice use widely different techniques.
I use a lot of ideas from Noguchi Seitai in my practice. It is a school of bodywork founded by Haruchika Noguchi (1911-1976), and I have been partial to it since the time I was still in my 20s. It has, as far as I know, the most radically holistic understanding of the human body in all of the Japanese bodywork world. Advanced palpation skills are necessary to practice Noguchi Seitai, and Noguchi’s books are always a source of inspiration to be better.
Yojiro Katayama, a modern practitioner and author, is another seitai bodyworker that I have been drawn to. He is strongly influenced by Noguchi Seitai. I use a lot of his techniques, too.
Sato Lymph Care
Seiji Sato is a dentist, who was at a loss with how to deal with patients with TMJ. His method relaxes the jaw area and by extension the entire body quickly and effectively, and without pain. It is also taught as a self-care method. I am certified as a practitioner.
This one is American. Craniosacral therapy is a very effective light-touch therapy that works with the whole body and the source of pain and dysfunction simultaneously. Part of its basic principles are similar to Noguchi Seitai, and I have become very fond of this modality. It is the quickest way to relax a client’s body that I know of. I often find myself mixing craniosacral techniques with other modalities to get the job done effectively.
Other modalities include:
Soutai-ho, Nishi-shiki kenko-ho, other various Japanese techniques and numerous home remedies. I have tried a lot on myself, many of them introduced to me by my mother who loves self-care and my sister who is an acupuncturist practicing in Tokyo. I also try to schedule a class or a session with someone whenever I am back to see if I can pick up a new thing or two.