It’s no secret that most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle, with many people spending 80% of their day sitting. Along with that can come a whole host of issues like shortened hip flexor muscles and premature degeneration of your spine’s discs. That equals lots of discomfort and chronic pain.
Whether you feel the effects of sitting too much or are suffering from athletic injuries, physiotherapy can offer relief. If you live in Tokyo and need a good physiotherapist, give Club 360 a try.
Of the several physiotherapy clinics in Tokyo I visited, Club 360 was by far the best and most foreigner-friendly.
Physiotherapy isn’t much of a “thing” in Japan. After being diagnosed with a bulging disc in my lumbar spine, I was simply given pain medication and told I would feel better after a few months.
Months and months passed, and the pain continued, even progressing as far as numbness in my leg while walking. I had to do something. After Googling “how to fix a bulging disk” more times than anyone in their late twenties should, I discovered physiotherapy. Of the several physiotherapy clinics in Tokyo I visited, Club 360 was by far the best and most foreigner-friendly.
Sam Gilbert is one of Club 360’s five licensed physiotherapists. He sat down to explain some of his practice’s ins and outs at the club’s Roppongi location.
Gilbert: Physiotherapy aims to address and treat physical issues in general. So that might be issues involving joints, muscle, bone, that are causing people pain over time—whenever your functional impact is being limited in some way.
It can also help address respiratory related-illnesses and rehabilitation and even conditions with the nervous system. Whether that be post-stroke, post brain trauma, all that sort of thing comes under physiotherapy. We basically address whatever dysfunction a person may be having.
Gilbert: Statistically, back injuries are the most common you’ll find, but because we’re one of the few English-speaking rehabilitation centers in Tokyo, we see a bit of everything from shoulder, hip, knee, and elbow joints.
Gilbert: We go through a detailed interview to get the exact history and really try honing in on what aggravates [the injury] and causes [the pain]. A lot of times, it’s things that people don’t even think of. It may be related to sleep or hydration, for example, so we need to suss that out. Then, when we’ve got an idea of what sort of loads are causing increasing pain, we can go about addressing that with a physical examination.
Most injuries are related to some sort of issue with excessive load. The body is either under a load that it can’t tolerate, or the time that load is being applied is too short for the body to adapt to it.
Gilbert wasn’t kidding about the interview about a patients’ pain being detailed. Everything was assessed in an incredibly thorough questionnaire, from my stress, activity, and sleep, to when the pain started and what activities make it worse.
In my case, I already knew the exact moment of injury came from a failed one-rep max deadlift attempt several years prior. The exact issue with excessive load Gilbert mentioned earlier, but working at a desk surely hadn’t helped.
From there, we performed a series of exercises like single-legged squats to assess how my right side (the injured side) compared to my left. Gilbert told me that I had limited ankle and hip mobility, but it could be fixed with a few rehabilitative exercises. That evening, Gilbert sent me a detailed series of movements to perform several times a week.
Turns out that stopping exercise altogether and just “resting” after my injury was the complete opposite of what I should have done. Since incorporating Gilbert’s recommended exercises into my routine, I have noticed an increase in my range of motion—a great feeling as I thought I might never lift weights again.
“Every person will be different, but the great thing about [Club 360] is that we have a variety of services that are really useful,” Gilbert said. “Some may respond well to a massage. We can do that for them. Others may just need a good exercise program. We can do that for them too, but we can also help them with motivation and staying accountable through our personal training services.”
Indeed, in addition to physiotherapy, Club 360 provides nutrition coaching, personal training, and clinical pilates. The clinic treats a vast range of problems, including sciatica, osteoarthritis, and even offers post-surgical rehabilitation.
More than just a clinic, though, Club 360 also offers kickboxing, boxing, and HIIT classes. It’s truly a one-stop-shop for Tokyo’s expat community when it comes to staying healthy and fit. They have two locations, one in Azabujuban near Tokyo Tower, and the other in Roppongi. Physiotherapy is only offered at the Roppongi location.
Check their website for the full range of services and pricing.