Culturally Appropriate Geriatric Care: Fund of Knowledge

Traditional Health Beliefs


Traditional Japanese remedies referred to as Kampo may be sought or used in conjunction with ongoing medical treatment. Kampo uses herbal medicine, which originated in traditional Chinese medicine around the 7th century. The herbs used are generally in powdered or granular form.


In addition to herbs, moxibustion might also be utilized. In moxibustion, dried mugwort is burned on specialized points of the skin to stimulate life energy and blood flow. It should be noted that the resultant bruising may be mistaken for elder abuse.


Shiatsu is a form of hands on message therapy concentrating on pressure points on the body. Shiatsu aims to redirect or reestablish energy flow in the body to restore balance.


Acupuncture is another form of health practice that may be sought by Japanese American elders. Tiny needles are inserted into various parts of the body to rid the body of toxins and relieve pain.

Many Japanese American elders may combine traditional and western therapies and treatments, making it necessary to ask a patient what they might already be doing for their medical conditions.