We all know the Japanese have a few, erm, interesting cultural quirks (maid cafés, anyone?) but their new trend for dealing with pain and stress is really something. It's called "otona maki" or "adult wrapping" and recently shot to fame when it was featured on a Japanese TV show. It was developed by Professor Nobuko Watanabe, who created the Toco-Chan maternity belt (basically a bra for your baby bump) and is supposedly based on the concept of baby swaddling – where babies are wrapped tightly in soft cloths to emulate the feeling of being safe and secure in the womb. In otona maki, however, adults aren't wrapped like little baby burritos; instead, they're tied in a sheet in what looks like a cross between the happy baby and wind-relieving yoga pose. Once in the sheet, the participants are rocked gently from side to side. Really. The practice costs around £20 and lasts for 20 minutes and, according to Japanese blogger Yayoi Katayama, "It's helpful to regain natural flexibility and improve posture". She said that after the session she also felt "relaxed and rejuvenated". Another recent session of otona maki with new mothers, intended to help them overcome birth pains, also seemed to produce promising results. "It felt warm and there was this feeling with my body," said one mother. "I have never experienced this before so it's quite hard to describe properly."
Not everyone is on board, though. Chiropractor Shiro Oba told Reuters that he couldn't understand it. "I just can't think of how people can benefit from this even as a form of reflexology or exercise." For Yayoi, though, there was one other benefit to the practice. "Internal organs will also be activated!" she wrote. "After finishing, all the toilets, the toilet..." Natural laxative too, eh? Just make sure you've got someone to unwrap you at the end.