No one ever gives you lessons in walking. One day, your year-old self just gets up and goes. Then one day, decades later, the result of your improper gait is a sore back, neck pain and aching muscles.
For me, that aching muscle was the vastus medialis, at the front of the thigh, which helps extend the knee. According to Masaaki Iwai, the pain is a result of my duck-like gait: my feet pointing outward rather than straight ahead, an improvisation devised to prevent me from tripping over my own feet, but at the cost of my well-being.
Iwai aims to correct such imbalances. He opened the first of his six Dr. Body Health and Beauty Centers in Japan just two years ago, and along with his wife, Sayaka, he opened in Hawai‘i in January.
Treatments are not the typical relaxing massages you’d receive at a spa, but rather “adjustments” incorporating a range of chiropractic massage techniques, and sometimes a wrestler’s full nelson hold to realign the body. Clients work with a therapist as they push, knead, stretch, roll and otherwise manipulate muscles and joints.
Iwai, speaking through an interpreter, says he started with Chinese modalities, including reflexology, but in practice, he says some clients didn’t feel better. So he expanded his studies to include such therapies as Thailand Bali-style massages, Hawaiian lomi lomi and lymphatic drainage.
Signature treatments include ultrasonic cavitation that creates air bubbles that disrupt fat cells—releasing triglycerides for breakdown and removal through the liver—and a Lomi Skin Care Stretch that involves pelvis correction, clothes-on lomi massage and lymph drainage. At the end of an hourlong session, it’s typical to feel as if you’ve had a workout, but you’ll also notice improved posture and the feeling of being lighter on your feet. The effects last from two weeks to a month, though with daily stretching you can retain the results longer.
With slimming services as well as facial alignment treatments, Iwai is in demand with celebrities in Japan, where he spends half of each month and his wait list is four months long. Standing tall is easy—with a little Body therapy.
Dr. Body Waikiki
2222 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 1218 [C:7 Waikiki Map]
Photos courtesy of Dr. Body