The gum massage – week 54

September 10, 2015

After yesterday’s dentist appointment I decided to go into a little more detail about the different services you get here in Japan. I will cover the hair dresser, the physiotherapist, and – of course – the dentist!

The dentist

I received my first gum massage! Sounds funny, but that’s what I got. After the dental cleaning the lady said:

“I am going to give you a gum massage.”

I could not really state my surprise in any way because as soon as she said it she had her fingers in my mouth and started massaging my gums. It turned from a massage into an acupressure treatment and I have to admit that it was really enjoyable. Never experienced anything like this before. Unfortunately she did not explain the benefits of the treatment and I was in a little hurry.

A few more things to note at least from this dental clinic: there is no separation between the dentist’s chairs. Several chairs are placed next to each other and they do not have the little sink to rinse your mouth. The dental hygienist or the dentist rinses your mouth with a liquid that is immediately sucked off.

The physiotherapist

Going to the physiotherapist differs as well from my experiences in Europe. When you walk in you change your shoes against a pair of slippers. This is a quite common practice at a lot of places. As at the dentist’s the benches for treatment are not separated in any way (not even curtains). You change from your clothes into a set of wide sweat pants and a t-shirt – there are several sizes to chose from. Your clothes and belongings go into a basket which will then be placed under your bench. If you get a massage and have to turn on your back, they will put a very light piece of cloth over your face so the light does not hurt your eyes. After the treatment you change back into your clothes and put the sweat pants into the dirty laundry basket which is – of course – always empty!

The hairdresser

I have been to three different hairdressers in Tokyo. At two of them you get a 10 minute shoulder massage just as a welcome treat. When you move over to get your hair washed, the chair changes into a bench on which you actually lay horizontally with your head resting on the broad rim of the sink. So you do not need to twist your neck backwards. The head massage during the hair wash is magical. A very thin cloth is placed on your face to protect you from the ceiling light and water sprinkles and you are covered with a light blanket. After the hair wash you get another neck massage before you move back to your chair to get your haircut. Amazing!