My name is Misa and I am a Graduate Dietitian from Australia.
I have been so fortunate to start a 5-week internship at Kakifofu. A special thank you to Hiroshi Sensei and Kaori Sensei for this opportunity. By observing what a comprehensive and holistic health assessment looks like, and learning how Kampo theory views human health and food, my hope is to gain a new perspective on supporting clients to make truly sustainable lifestyle (dietary) changes.
I would like to share some insights from my eye-opening first week at Kakikofu.
Together, Hiroshi Sensei and Kaori Sensei assess their clients through a dynamic interplay of observation, touching, listening, and asking. All different parts of the body were observed, from the tongue, the client’s facial coloring and skin, to their posture among many other things. It was so fascinating how this process of inspection enables a practitioner to take a peek into the internal state of the client. I observed Hiroshi Sensei and Kaori Sensei skillfully interpret the location and severity of different internal issues, as confirmed by the patient’s experience, and also monitor the progression of treatment.
It was particularly fascinating to observe the tongue inspection, where Kaori Sensei explained how the size, shape, degree of swollen-ness, color, coating, and other aspects of the tongue could hint towards the state of the client’s digestion or water retention and other internal processes.
It was also clear that the emotional state and physical body are not seen as separate. Instead, they are seen as integrated, where the health of one affects the health of the other. Depending on the client and their situation, a large proportion of the consult would be dedicated to giving clients the space to share what was on their mind and listening carefully without a sense of rush. This too appears to be part of the holistic approach of Kampo treatment, because it is understood that mental and emotional burdens affect physical symptoms and vice versa.
I would like to end with something Hiroshi Sensei shared with me: ‘The human body is the universe’. He explained that our tissue is made of cells which are made of molecules which are made of atoms which are made of smaller subatomic particles. How interesting that our essential constituents are found in all of nature. It’s more difficult to be indifferent around your own health when you start to relate to the body in this expansive way.
In the one week, I have been here, I have already gained a newfound appreciation of the interconnected nature of the body, which is made clear through the practice of Kampo. Thank you again for Hiroshi Sensei and Kaori Sensei for this experience.