Friends told me I would lose weight in Japan, thinking my palate wouldn’t tolerate raw fish and other new tastes. As I lay on the medical-like table with the lower half of my body snuggly fit into a long, nylon bag, I realized they were right. I spent an afternoon in the city of Shizuoka indulging in the slim life experience at opens in a new windowArt Beauty, an aesthetic salon.
Prior to getting into the sleeping-like bag, Yuki, the young technician, slathered my thighs and stomach with a clear, jelly-like substance. My legs, waist and stomach were then tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Once complete, she zipped me into the “comtheran,” a full body exercise machine. An air hose stuck out of each leg and I wondered how in the world this would reduce my body fat.
She placed a towel over my breasts, patted them, giggled and said, “Big.”
Returning her smile, I hoped my chest remained the same size after the process.
She turned on the machine and asked, “Okay?”
“Hai,” I nodded.
Being left alone, I realized why she asked if I was okay. The bag was constricting slowly, almost like a snake tightly squeezing its prey. Feeling uncomfortable and finding it difficult to breath, I maintained my composure and called out.
“Help. Um. Help. Tight.”
Apparently, Yuki nor the other staff members knew the meaning of these words, and no one came to my rescue. The tightness intensified and just as I thought my eyeballs were going to pop out, the sleeping bag relaxed. A pattern of constricting and contracting continued for 15 minutes. This repeated process massaged my body to promote blood circulation, which is supposed to reduce body fat. I felt light headed but trimmer after being released from the bag.
I was led to an area where my body fat and metabolism were measured. Turns out my metabolism rate is higher than the average Japanese person and my body fat is 15 points above normal. The importance of nutrition and exercise was lectured to me. It reminded me of being home in the States.
My almost-naked, curvaceous body was led to the “giggle machine.” Face up on another medical-type table, I anxiously awaited the next process. I heard the roar of a machine charging up and before I knew it, Yuki was rubbing my body with what looked like a white, plastic, vacuum cleaner hose. Unlike a vacuum, the air blew out and I could feel and see my fat ripple as she rubbed the hose over me, head to toe. The air tickled my sensitive areas and I couldn’t help but laugh.
A purifying facial followed. My face was wrapped with gauze followed by an application of a green tea mixture using Shizuoka Brand Tea. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and vitamins good for revitalizing and purifying the skin. While my face soaked up the benefits of green tea for 15 minutes, my hands and feet were pampered to massages, taking me to ultimate relaxation.
My hosts that night commented how much my face radiated and how much slimmer I looked. Admittedly, my jeans fit a little looser and less of me returned to the States.
Finding Art Beauty
Art Beauty has many locations throughout Shizuoka Prefecture. This is the address for the salon I visited: 1-2, 4F Tenma-cho, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka-ken. opens in a new windowwww.emuart.jp
Art Beauty is a division of Nihon Health Mate Co., Ltd.
Train: Take the Tokaido Shinkansen or Tokaido Main Line to the JR Shizuoka Station. Follow Tenma-cho north, Art Beauty is on the right.
This story was originally published in To Japan with Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur (To Asia with Love)
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