Category Archives for Japanese Health

Shinrin Yoku – Forest Bathing in Japan

Shinrin Yoku is Forest Bathing in JapaneseUnderstanding Shinrin-Yoku
“Foresting Bathing”

Shinrin-Yoku (森林浴) is a Japanese term that translates to “Forest Bathing” in English and involves spending free time wandering in nature. This therapeutic method was developed in the 1980s in Japan, and it was designed to enhance wellbeing, health, and joy. It’s used widely in the country for purposes of preventative healthcare in Japanese medicine.

Recently a friend of mine created a post about Forest Bathing and this is where I first discovered the term “Shinrin Yoku“. The amazing thing is that she has invented a technology that she calls the Harmonic Egg and it’s literally a giant egg you sit inside of. While inside you’re bathed with light and sound, it’s very similar to Forest Bathing. I suggest you look into her work as well after reading through this article.

Benefits of Shinrin-Yoku

Different researchers, mainly from South Korea and Japan, have carried out various studies to prove the health benefits of forest bathing. They found out that Shinrin-Yoku helps create a relaxing neuro-psychological effect resulting from the changes in the body’s nervous system. In turn, the body’s stress hormones such as Cortisol and Norepinephrine are minimized, and the immune system boosted.

Every research conducted so far has proved that the human body’s anxiety, anger, depression, stress, and lack of sleep levels were reduced considerably for all participants. A simple 15-minute practice of Shinrin-Yoku reduces pressure and stress levels as well as boosts mental acuity. Today, Japan has 44 accredited forest bathing sites with efforts underway to establish Shinrin-Yoku worldwide.

Additionally, nature has proven time and again to be a powerful catalyst in a patient’s recovery journey. In a study published by Dr. Roger Ulrich, a simple view of nature from your window can aid in minimizing convalescence by 24 hours in contrast to the perspective from an urban setup.

Another study by a psychology professor, David Strayer, from the University of Utah proved that Shinrin-Yoku boosts creativity. The study showed that there was a 50% boost in creative problem-solving skills from all participants after a 3-day forest bathing trial in absence of modern technology.

My Side Story About Shinrin Yoku in Japan

I have an interesting story that relates to Shinrin Yoku and another Japanese word I learned from our good friend Megumi-san while we were in Japan (my wife and I). We were on our way out to Saga prefecture from Fukuoka and we were going through the mountains, and if you’ve ever been in Japan and through the mountains and valleys you’ll know how absolutely GREEN it can be. I could immediately feel this presence of color therapy at work while we drove through the mountains, and so we were trying to figure out what the word would be that we were feeling in japanese.

Our friend Megumi-san eventually figured out what we were trying to say and she said this word we were looking for is “Chiryoukoka” (治療固化) which means “Cure” or “Therapy”. This very much rings true, what is interesting is that I’m not alone in this feeling (obviously) you can read here about how “Green is Good for You“, which is another Forest Bathing type website.

Another helpful word in Japanese that goes hand in hand with Shinrin Yoku is Komorebi. Komorebi (木漏れ日) is a word that describes when there are rays or light coming through a tree’s leaves creating a dazzling effect and for many creating a positive feeling of wonderment and awe. There is another word that can also sort of describe this and it’s mabushii (まぶしい), which means dazzled or bright although the difference I would say is that one is spiritual 3D description and another is a flat 2D description.

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5 Simple Steps in Practicing Shinrin-Yoku

While using the help of a guide can be the best way to start forest bathing, not everyone has access to a professional guide. However, you can still enjoy the benefits of Shinrin-Yoku on your own. To begin your forest bathing therapy, try these simple steps:

  1. Find the Right Location – find a quiet location away from busy streets with plenty of trees or even a park. While not everyone may not have the luxury of natural forests, try as much as possible to move away from the modern environment setups.
  2. Choose a Perfect Time and Duration – it may take hours when using a guide, but a simple nature walk per day can still work. Walk longer and soak yourself in the natural environment filled with trees when you get time. Even short sessions of 15-20 minutes can have significant health impacts.
  3. Go Slow and Take Note of Minor Details – the primary purpose of Shinrin-Yoku is to slow down and let your senses feel the tiniest details of nature. Use your hands to touch and connect with nature’s wonders. Feel the breeze and let the sun shine on you under the tree canopies as you rid your mind of any thoughts.
  4. Listen to Nature – find a comfortable spot and just sit listening to birds, insects, and other natural sounds. Take note of how different animals behave and sound in your presence.
  5. Use Your Nose – find locations with rich smells and aromas from the plants, flowers, and soil. Remember, some plants, such as Cedars, produce beneficial phytoncides that boost the production of white blood cells responsible for boosting the immune system.

walking in nature forest bathing shinrin yoku

As you can see, practicing Shinrin Yoku is simple, and you don’t even need a guide.
Remember to turn off your phone to avoid any interruptions as well as EMFs.

walk in nature health benefitsThings That Shinrin-Yoku Is Not

Hiking: Every nature walk has its characteristics, and some may involve a challenging trek for longer distances. However, Shinrin-Yoku is all about plunging yourself in nature in a healing manner.

Naturalist Outing: While forest bathing, we may come across nature’s wonders such as animals, trees, and flowers. However, we do not aim at knowing their characters, names, or medicinal importance.

Medical treatment: Shinrin-Yoku is not meant to replace any physical or mental healthcare diagnosed by professionals. It’s all about spending your time in natural environments regularly to enhance your well-being.

The Bottom Line

According to a Sacramento Forest Therapy Guide, Rose Lawrence, Shinrin Yoku’s central concept revolves around enhancing a positive connection with nature that helps feel your natural surroundings better, which is one reason perhaps the Shintoism religion has such a heavy influence in Japan, one does not have to have extrasensory skills to notice an affect of nature on the body, mind and spirit. You can also enjoy the overall benefits of forest bathing by following the five simple steps discussed above or you can try out the Harmonic Egg by Gail Lynn.

Hemp and Marijuana Laws in Japan

hemp and marijuana in JapanJapanese Hemp & Marijuana Laws

Japan has some of the most stringent hemp and marijuana laws across the globe. Even though it is a highly advanced democracy, if you are found in possession of hemp and marijuana among other drugs is punishable by law. You could get a 5 years jail if you are found in possession of drugs or if you are found growing marijuana. Almost every year, about 2000 people are charged with sentences for being in possession or for growing the drugs in Japan. This includes locals and foreigners.

Even though hemp and marijuana were highly valued traditional medicine, food and textile corp across Asia, the harsh laws in Japan were formulated to help curb addiction. This also followed heavily restrictions by UN drug treaties and of course after WWII and the newly formed Japanese constitution. Today, more voices are being raised in the country due to the growing interest in medicinal hemp and marijuana. There is an immense call to put an end to harsh drug policies bearing in mind that hemp and marijuana have been proven to be of great medicinal value.

Political leaders including Shinto Kaikaku have been on the front lines advocating for the legalization or at least the lift on the ban on hemp and marijuana in the country. This is an effort to fight for the interest of patients in the country who would benefit from medicinal marijuana and hemp.

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The Laws and the future of Hemp and Marijuana in Japan

With the growing number of people advocating for the adjustment of hemp laws in Japan, the future of this drug used for medicinal purposes could be promising. Japan is a wealthy nation with more than 127 million people including the elderly citizens who need specialized care. The population has become quite aware of the medicinal value of hemp and marijuana and are embracing its use.

Undoubtedly, medicinal marijuana plays a significant role in enhancing cancer treatment. It alleviates chemotherapy effects and to put it to good use, the harsh laws need to be adjusted. Many patients in the country have also voiced their support for the lift on marijuana and hemp ban in Japan.

The tough marijuana laws in Japan have been around for over 70 years as indicated in the Cannabis Control Law, Article 4. You will agree that this is quite a long period bearing in mind that marijuana has been used across different parts of the globe for medicinal purposes. The media has equally been receptive in the past few years on how hemp and Marijuana help to alleviate pain in cancer patients and the treatment of other diseases.

Today, it is quite clear that Japan is embracing the use of Hemp and Marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, you must get a license to grow the plant. Hemp and marijuana laws in Japan were amended in 2018 and this was seen as a major step to a bright’ future for the medicinal use of the drug in the country.

Signs of Change in Hemp and Marijuana Laws in Japan

One of the major signs that the legalization of hemp and marijuana could be on the process is the fact that the stringent draconian laws were amended in 2018. In the past, if you were found with hemp or marijuana, you would serve up to 7 years jail term. However, today, the term has been reduced to 5 years. If you are a first time offender, the police often give you a chance or a suspended sentence.

In 2017, a second-time offender 22-year-old man was not jailed because of the idea that a prison or jail term would make him worse. The Japan court system has also been keen on having other ways of dealing with such cases.

Over the years, there have been different political and activist groups advocating for the adjustment of the laws. They focus on educating the citizens of the country on the benefits of Marijuana and Hemp to promote the good side of the drug. This includes increasing the awareness that legalizing marijuana could boost the economy of the country.

Similarly, there seems to be light on the tunnel on industrial hemp. It is an agenda on many drug debates in the country because it has been widely tolerable in the country’s cottage industry. Even so, a license is required as it comes with other legal restrictions.

Hemp & Marijuana From Around the World

In a nutshell, hemp and marijuana laws in Japan are still deep-rooted. However, with different leaders and advocates championing for the adjustment on the use of hemp and marijuana for medicinal use, the future of these drugs could be promising. Although Japan has opened their doors to CBD in many different forms now. BUT, it’s got to have 0% THC in it, which opens the market to low quality types of CBD that mostly comes from places like China where most of their soil is dangerous. Marijuana/Hemp plants can literally suck out radiation to heavy metal and other hazardous material from the soil. It’s good to repair the soil, but it’s not good when that plant then is used for CBD medicine.

CBD business in Colorado logoCurrently Nihon Scope is in the middle of creating a business in Japan called Nihon Scope Unlimited to help Japanese people get good clean (LEGAL) QUALITY CBD oil and to inform and educate. A lot of the information we are learning this from is directly from Acme Hemp Labs in Colorado, where they are actually rolling 100% Hemp Cigars with THC levels below 0.3% (which is the legal limit in America under the The Farm Bill of 2018 which was signed by President Trump). It’s pretty amazing how one place in the world has so much freedom but else where people are completely unaware of the benefits and how keeping it hidden and illegal is actually hurting the people of the country by giving the pharmaceutical, big tobacco and the alcohol industries more power to keep their monopolies unhindered.

Although I believe that if they could take a note from Colorado, it not only stimulates the economy and helps people but vice in general will never go anywhere and the impact will be subtle and if they are smart they’ll read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” and just get with the times and change to adopt this growing world wide trend.

Popping Pills in Japan – 2nd Largest Pharma Market

Japan loves to pill popJAPAN – 2nd Largest Pharma Market

By Nitesh Bhele

Japan is the 2nd largest Pharmaceutical & biotechnology market in the world after the United States. Japan accounts for around 10 percent of the global pharma market, compared with 39 percent for the U.S. and 21 percent for Western Europe approximately. The pharmaceutical market has size around $ 150 billion, where biotechnology market value of Japan is projected to sharply increase reaching $100 billion by 2020. The Japan government recognized the big demand on this sector and realized the need of having a national strategy for Pharmaceutical & biotechnology development. Number of plans based on the Biotechnology Strategy Guidelines have been implemented since last few years.

Currently, Japan still lags behind the U.S. in this sector but it is taking a lead in the field of gene analysis, genetic recombination, bioinformatics and others. With the great effort of the government by providing substantial resources to this sector, biotechnology is expected to become a major sector. Furthermore, The Industrial Cluster Plan Policy is one of the efforts of the government to strengthen the capabilities of the defined regional cluster areas to develop new technologies and product. Among the 17 projects, 8 of them are focused on the biotechnology industries. Moreover, Japan has a much lower penetration of generics compared to most of the major markets which is advantageous for the big pharma.

In Japan, every citizen has to participate in the insurance program managed by Government of Japan National Health Insurance (NHI).  National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme as well as the majority of health care spending is publically funded. The government is taking number of initiatives to control spending, such as encouraging use of cheaper generic drugs, self-management of chronic diseases, and preventive care. A biennial NHI pricing review usually results in price reductions. This also is one of the most significant challenges faced by pharmaceutical companies in the Japanese market is the practice of biennial price cuts. Overall, the average cut of 5.64% will be applied on a drug price basis in the 2014 price revisions similar to the price cut of 6% applied in the 2012 price revisions. Market expansion based re-pricing rules as well as the special additional price cut being implemented this year on products for which the first generic was approved five years ago and have less than 20% generic replacement rate by volume will hamper the growth of the domestic pharmaceutical industry In addition, a new health technology assessment (HTA), expected to be implemented in 2016, could make it more difficult for life sciences companies to obtain competitive launch pricing and market access unless the new treatment is deemed innovative and cost-effective. Also, while the use of cost-saving generic drugs has been proportionally lower in Japan than in other developed markets, the government has strengthened the incentives for healthcare providers to prescribe generics. The new drug development premium awarded to innovative products shields the products from biennial National Health Insurance (NHI) price reductions during their patent protection period. This premium will enable patented branded products in its market expansion. During the 2014 NHI price revisions, 397 active ingredients (758 products) have been granted the exemption, over and above the 367 active ingredients considered for the treatment in the 2012 revision.

(All statements made in this video/article does not reflect our personal interest or belief about pharmaceuticals here at Nihon Scope)

Takeda Pharmaceutical, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company and Asia and a top 15 pharmaceutical company. The company has over 30,000 employees worldwide, looks likely to increase its global footprint merger & acquisition done by it all over world. Otsuka’s $3.5bn acquisition of California-based neurologic disease specialist Avanir Pharmaceuticals in December 2014 is an even more potent demonstration of Japanese companies’ greater focus on global M&A.

Indeed, generic manufacturers from around the world – but especially generic specialists such as India – are looking to Japan as a source of future expansion. According to the Economic Times, Indian generics giants including Dr Reddy’s, Lupin, Sun Pharma and Glenmark are exploring options for tapping into the growing Japanese generics market.

Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and generic finished dose suppliers who recognize this growth potential and understand the specific needs and challenges unique to the Japanese market stand to see significant earnings in this region over the coming years. The global Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Market is expected to reach USD 205.51 billion by 2020 from USD 150 billion in 2015, at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period .The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) market in Asia is growing at an increasingly rapid pace. From 2007 to 2011, it went from 24.5 to 28.5 percent of the world market. From now through 2017, it should expand at a rate of 8.2 percent annually. This puts Asia’s API market worth $33 billion currently at more than $50 billion by 2017.

Japan has long led the rest of Asia in demand for APIs. In 2012, the market for APIs in Japan was the largest in Asia, at $15.5 billion. Many foreign API firms from India, Europe and the US are actively selling their APIs on the Japanese market. Japan’s share of innovator APIs is high, and demand is growing especially in the biotech drug sector. But API generics are also starting to gain ground in Japan. Chinese and Indian firms have recently flooded Japan’s market with inexpensive APIs. The accompanying price competition has forced some Japanese API manufacturers out of their own domestic market. An increasing number of foreign pharmaceutical companies are selling APIs on the Japanese market. Sometimes they sell to domestic drug manufacturers and sometimes they sell to foreign drug companies manufacturing products in Japan.

In April 2013, India’s Dishman Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals announced the company was on track to post an almost fivefold growth in revenue for APIs sold in Japan through the end of 2013. Revenue from Japanese sales reached $2 million in 2012, and 2013 revenue is expected to increase to $10 million. The company currently supplies APIs to more than 10 Japanese companies. In February 2012, Pfizer Japan launched two new APIs in Japan. One was part of the diabetes treatment glimepiride (Amaryl), while another was part of the antiarrhythmic agent pilsicainide (Sunrythum). Aside from these two APIs, Pfizer Japan launched another 16 APIs in Japan in 2012. If foreign API manufacturers pay attention to the Japanese API market, they will find excellent sales opportunities, especially in the innovative and generic API segments. Key market players Teva Pharmaceuticals limited (Israel), Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited (India), Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. (India), Aurobindo (India), Novartis International AG (Switzerland), Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany), Albemarle Corporation (U.S.), Sigma Aldrich (U.S.), Mylan (U.K.), Allergan plc. (Ireland). Stakeholders include Manufacturers of API Distributors and Suppliers of APIs, Potential Investors in the API Market, Pharmaceutical Companies, Biotechnology Companies, Contract Manufacturing Organizations and Healthcare Payers

According to Catenion’s , pharmaceutical industry of Japan faces two fundamental problems for which it has not yet found an answer; these problems are firstly, an inadequate approach to managing innovation and secondly, a profound misunderstanding of the nature of risk and consequently poor risk management. The industry’s poor innovation track record is shown by the statistics of drug approvals by the FDA. There has been a long-term trend of a decrease in the number of NCEs and NBEs despite rapidly increasing R&D budgets. A recent study by Czerepak and Ryser published in Nature Drug Discovery shows that for the period between January 2006 and December 2007, barely 35% of the drugs approved by the FDA originated in the pharmaceutical industry. Less than half of these qualified for the label “novel drug and new chemical structure”.

Industry critics have used statistics such as these to argue that Big Pharma is shying away from true innovation and pursuing mostly me-too projects. A quick look at company pipelines shows this to be a wrong conclusion. There is an abundance of exciting, highly innovative projects and risky science going on at most companies. While some industry observers and investors continue to hope there might be an innovation backlog in the wake of unprecedented progress in molecular biology, disease understanding, lab technologies and novel drug formats, others are more pessimistic.

Turning to the second issue, Catenion have identified, the pharmaceutical business is a risky business par excellence but the nature of risk is often not fully appreciated by operators. Of course pharmaceutical executives know the scientific, technical, regulatory and commercial risks of their business. They spend a lot of their time devising and executing risk mitigation activities for these risks at the operational level. The argument we wish to make here is that there is too little awareness that risk must be managed properly at the strategic level as well. Such strategic risk management requires more sophisticated methods than those generally used in the industry today. There are three major points to our argument, covering the nature of risk itself, correlated risk in the R&D pipeline and the degree of risk diversification at the corporate level.


(All statements made in this video/article does not reflect our personal interest or belief about pharmaceuticals here at Nihon Scope)

Lupin is the only Indian pharma company to have a presence in the Japanese generic market from which it currently earns about 12% of annual revenue. Till date, Lupin Ltd has made two buyouts in Japan: Tokyo-based I’rom Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd in 2011 and Kyowa Pharmaceutical Industry Co. Ltd in 2007. Sun Pharma, which acquired Ranbaxy Ltd for $4 billion last year, also plans to raise up to Rs.12,000 crore through convertible debentures or a qualified institutional placement (QIP) for expansion and acquisitions. Japan, where drug sales were estimated at $115 billion in 2013, accounts for nearly 10% of the global pharma market according to a 2014 Deloitte report. The growth will mainly come from higher generic penetration. The government is keen to have a larger generic share to reduce their healthcare costs. An ageing population and mounting health costs have prompted the Japanese government to try and increase the presence of generic drug makers, bringing the Japanese market under the radar of Indian pharmaceutical companies.

According to Deloitte report, Japan’s rapidly ageing population just over a quarter of the population was aged 65+ in 2013, up from 12% in 1990, and accounting for over 50% of the country’s healthcare costs is expected to drive demand for pharmaceuticals in 2014-2018.The state-funded National Health Insurance scheme covers every citizen in Japan. In 2010, as part of efforts to increase the generic penetration, the government launched a series of reforms targeting 30% of the drug market by 2014 and 60% by 2017, from 18% in 2010.

Besides the reported move by Sun Pharma, other Indian generics makers, including Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, are exploring options for entering Japanese generics market with their formulation drugs.

By Nitesh Bhele, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Marketer

Full article here – Page No 60
http://saffronmedia.in/eMagazin…/…/ISAApr01152016/index.html

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