Yoshimi Sakurai is a physical therapist based in Tokyo, Japan, whose focus is in physical therapy for motor disorders. Yoshimi teaches at a local university and also sees a lot of patients with osteoarthritis. Yoshimi has recently taken the Pelvic Health Physical Therapy Level 1 and the Fundamental Topics of Pregnancy & Postpartum Physical Therapy courses that the Section on Women’s Health offered in Tokyo, Japan in May 2017. Section on Women’s Health sent four instructors to Tokyo to instruct a class of forty Japanese physical therapists in pelvic and obstetric health physical therapy. In the interview below, we have asked Yoshimi to recount her educational experience, tell us about the state of women’s health physical therapy in Japan, and share her thoughts about the future of physical therapy in Japan.
Please describe you reception/experience of the two SOWH physical therapy courses in Japan?
Before taking the two SoWH courses in Japan, I was very nervous because I have never done an internal examination. It was not easy but I’m confident that I did well. Thanks to the instructors, my training has deepened my understanding of pelvic health and obstetric physical therapy.
What is women’s health physical therapy like in Japan currently?
Many physiotherapists in Japan think that patients who need women’s health physical therapy are pregnant women or post-partum women only. Patients with irregular menstruation or menopausal disorders are not included.
How will you apply your newly learned knowledge and skills to your practice/work place?
I currently and primarily instruct kinematics, three dimensional motion analysis, professional practice, and general women’s health at a university. I am sure that my newly learned knowledge will improve the quality of education I provide to students.
What was the most impressive or useful part of your course experience?
The most impressive part of my course experience was behavioral intervention. I learned that it is important mastering not only manual therapy but also behavioral sciences.
What do you see in the future of Japan concerning women’s and men’s health pelvic and obstetrics physical therapy?
Currently, many Japanese physiotherapists are interested in male/female pelvic physical therapy and obstetric physical therapy. There are only a few physiotherapists that work in gynecology departments. I think the link between obstetric physical therapy and gynecology is gradually developing.
Many of the current Japanese physiotherapists understand the importance of learning about women’s health care, however, education is inadequate, and most physiotherapy students graduate without learning about women’s health care. In the future, I think that we must change the educational model including the curriculum to include this specialty.