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Wrap it up. 'Adult swaddling' is big in Japan.

A new fad has young mothers being bundled up like their babies.
Participants perform Otonamaki, which translates as "adult wrapping", a new form of therapy where people are wrapped in large swaddling cloth to alleviate posture problems and stiffness. (Credit: Toru Hanai/Reuters)

If you're a young mother feeling stiff after nine months of carrying around a tiny human inside you, you may want to try Otonamaki. Early adopters of health fads will note that this is very big in Japan right now. The therapy, which translates as "adult wrapping", was developed by a midwife who believes that mothers should mimic their swaddled babies if they want to assuage postpartum hip and shoulder pain.

With a mind to limber up, moms lie on their backs, their hands wrapped around their knees while bundled up in large white cloths as attendants rock them back and forth over padded mats. They look a little like human cheeses being kneaded.

Anyone who's done a yoga class will recognize the similarities to the yogic staples of spinal rocking and child's pose. And yoga has been touted as something of an osteopathic cure-all boasting increased flexibility, improved muscle strength, injury prevention and weight reduction. Yoga's for real. Wrapping yourself up like a baby also mirrors Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). Often used to soothe those with autism or anxiety, DPT "is a sensory integration therapy that applies surface pressure to the body in order to create the feeling of a firm hug, hold, or swaddle". It doesn't just pacify. It's also known to improve things like "balance, body and spatial awareness, and coordination."

So, Otonomaki may be worth a try. If only to chill you out. Swaddled and rocked babies, after all, are typically pretty chill.

But adult swaddling has spurred something of a wrap battle with between health care professionals. Chiropractor, Shiro Oba has his doubts. "I just can't think of how people can benefit from this even as a form of reflexology or exercise". Though he says "people with asthma may find it easier to breathe in that position" he asserts they'd enjoy the same benefits without the cloth. So, even if they weren't wrapped up like a cheese. Oba counsels mothers with back pain to see a doctor before seeing a midwife who will wrap them and roll them.  

Some moms still may want to try the practice though. One mother tried to put it into words saying "I have never experienced this before so it's quite hard to describe properly". After a 20minute session she said "it felt warm and there was this feeling with my body." A little vague, but warmth sounds good. Balling yourself up into a fetal position to be wrapped and rolled might be something to add to your post pregnancy health regimen.

Still, any claustrophobic moms may not cotton to the idea.  


Marc Beaulieu is a writer, producer and host of the live Q&A show guyQ LIVE @AskMen.