Bound up in the name of therapy

It's a snug fit on the road to getting fit for these participants performing Otonamaki - a new form of therapy where people are wrapped in a large swaddling cloth to alleviate posture problems and stiffness - at a session in Asaka, Saitama prefecture, Japan, last Saturday.

According to its exponents, Otonamaki, which translates as "adult wrapping", was devised by a Kyoto midwife who thought replicating how children are swaddled at birth could help mothers overcome post-labour shoulder and hip pain.

In a Reuters report, one mother who tried the 20-minute session said: "It felt warm and there was this feeling with my body.

"I have never experienced this before, so it's quite hard to describe properly."

Not everyone is a fan. Chiropractor Shiro Oba was sceptical about its powers of healing and encouraged mothers with back pain to visit a physician.

"There may be cases where people with asthma may find it easier to breathe (in that position). But once the cloth is off, it's the same thing," he said.

"But apart from that, I just can't think of how people can benefit from this, even as a form of reflexology or exercise."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2017, with the headline 'Bound up in the name of therapy'. Print Edition | Subscribe