5 Japanese Rules for Becoming Stronger and Healthier


If you were told that you weren’t going to live after 20 years when you were young, would you submit to your fate, or would you fight to be as healthy and as strong as you possibly can for the time you have left?

For a Japanese engineer and Aikido teacher, giving up was never an option and it is his resilience that led him to some mind-altering discoveries, all of which can make your life better.

The Power of the Nishi Health System

Katsuzo Nishi, a Japanese engineer and Aikido teacher spent most of his early life learning. He is the chief technical engineer for Japan’s first subway project, and in addition, he studied all forms of health and preventative medicine found around the world.

He experimented tirelessly and critiqued his work harshly in order to ensure that his methods would lead to a stronger and healthier body.According to him, health depends on four equally important factors that must remain in balance with one another:

  • Skin condition
  • Food quality
  • Status of the limbs
  • Psychological state

Nishi Shiki (Nishi Health System) was founded in 1927, but the exercises and health practices are relevant for people worldwide today.

The 6 Laws of the Nishi Health System: Improve Your Health with These Simple Exercises

  1. Sleep on a hard bed and rounded pillow (kochin)

A curved spine can create many problems for the internal organs and because most of us spend around one-third of our lives sleeping, it is important to pay attention to our posture even when we sleep. Katsuzo says that sleeping on a hard bed with a rounded pillow, is beneficial for the digestive organs and the circulatory system.

If you choose a roller instead of a pillow, you can choose to wrap it in a couple layers of fabric, as some people might find the change uncomfortable. As you get more and more used to it, you can remove the fabric a little at a time.

  1. The Goldfish exercise (Kingyo Undo)

Start by lying down on your back with your hands behind your head. Keep your feet flexed perpendicular on the floor.

Afterwards, swing your hips horizontally from one side to the other. Imitating a fish swimming. Do this in intervals of a minute.

  1. Improve Circulation (Mokan Undo)

Start by lying down on your back on a hard and flat surface. Place a solid roller under the 3rd and 4th vertebrae on your neck.

Raise both your legs and arms in the air and release all the tension from them. Lastly, shake your legs and arms for intervals of 1 minute.

  1. Join soles and palms (Gassyo-Gasseki)

Lie on your back on a flat and hard surface and join your hands and feet together. Afterwards, slide your hands and feet horizontally about 10 times.

When you are done, rest as your hands and feet are drawn in for about 2 minutes and then repeat the movement.

  1. Core Pendulums (Hifuku-Undo)

Sit down Japanese style, on your knees. Swing your torso, centering on your hips for about 10 minutes.

When you are in an inclined position, pump your abdomen. When you are in an upright position, shrink your abdomen.

Katsuko speaks highly about the importance of involving these exercises in a daily routine in order to increase strength and health in the body. The exercises that Katsuko focuses on in the Nishi Health System are one aspect of a greater practice, combining exercise, skin and psychological state and a proper diet.

This just goes to show how connected each aspect of the body really is, and how important it is to continue working on each part of ourselves so that we can live longer and remain healthy.