TRADITIONAL HEALING PRACTICES
Traditional Japanese believe that an individual's health is
maintaining a harmonious relationship with the universe.
Hari (acupuncture) and kyu (moxibustion) were
used to restore the balance in
the body. Small needles are used in acupuncture and applied to specific
on the skin surface. Moxibustion was used to help ailments
of the muscles,
joints, bones and back. Another common treatment methodology used is
massage. Massage is thought to restore proper balances and stimulate
body's natural ability to fight off illness.
Japanese Traditional Childbearing Practices
First, a brief history of childbearing
practices, giving root to present day
practices will be presented. This will be followed by personal
childbearing practices from three Japanese women representing three
Cessation of menstrual periods signaled the start of
pregnancy for the
Japanese women of small communal villages of the nineteen thirties. The
forty weeks ahead were not without pardon from climbing the mountain
everyday and gathering firewood to sell in the trading village miles
contribute to the household. This also allowed the pregnant woman to
the honor and respect of her peers in the village. It was not uncommon
Japanese women to return from the mountains or the fields carrying
newborn. It was believed that hard physical work should not be avoided
pampering ones self while pregnant would mark that woman as lazy and
good". In fact, they believed that the continuance of working would
labor for the expectant mother easier.
As the birthing day arrived, the woman would work closer to
labor started the midwife was called to assist in the delivery along
husband's mother and her own mother. In these days rarely did a woman
labor cry out in pain. Soft crying was permissible, but any loud
demonstration would elicit contemptuous comments from the older women.
In fact, if there were other children in the house, it was not even
them that a baby was being born.
For the next 27 days the mother and child are not allowed
outside of the room
for fear that the newborn's soul has not firmly attached to the body
midwife remains with the mother during this time, helps her with
recuperating, teaching her about infant care and proper nutrition for a
hearty milk supply. On the 31st day the mother and child are
taken by family
members to the Shinto shrine and blessed. The newborn is now an
member of the community. A celebration of food and wine was held at the
parent's home for the villagers to welcome their new addition.
Looking back on the Japanese childbearing practices then
them to today's practices, many similarities are noted. Today a
woman is encouraged to carry out her usual duties at home and at work.
is encouraged to eat a healthy diet and prepare physically for labor
prenatal exercises and classes. It is still customary that a newborn
remains in the home for 30 days. It is now believed that this allows
to adapt to the new atmosphere while protecting the infant from
overexposure to bacteria and viruses.
The three generations of Japanese women all mentioned the
maintaining family honor during the childbearing, and the benefits of
E-mail Sharon Moran, RN, CS, MPH
Return to Transcultural
Last Updated on Wednesday March 24,1999
Return to Nursing