Fish and Inner Peace

Americans aren’t the only stressed out citizens looking for ways to relax. There are overworked individuals worldwide! But while solace seekers in the 50 states and much of Europe have taken to massage, yoga and meditation to calm our nerves (two of which we’ve learned from our friends in Asia), the Japanese have got a whole new set of ideas for how to cool their overheated jets. And one of them involves sleeping – with fish

It seems healing is a hot trend in Tokyo. Luxury day spas and fancy massage clinics are multiplying rapidly in Japan, but it doesn’t stop with cooling mud masques and herbal tea. “The Japanese have always had the concept of healing, the difference is that now we are packaging it and selling it as never before,” Hiroya Kubota, head of a Tokyo-based stress management institute told The Washington Post.

And he’s not kidding. Jellyfish – yes, jellyfish – have become the pet to have in Japan. The reasoning behind this trend? Relaxation!

According to marine biologists at the Enoshima Aquarium, observing the floating fish produces a compound in human saliva associated with relaxation. As a result of this finding, home jellyfish kits have become increasingly popular in Japan (at a cost of $200 to over $4,000). And one popular program hosted by the Enoshima Aquarium invites stressed out women to find inner peace by communing with their fishes.

For $120, participants pack up their sleeping bags and pillows to spend the night in the Aquarium, where activities include arm and leg massages lit by the bioflourescent glow of jellyfish. As The Post put it, “it’s a little bit California and a whole lot Japan.” Indeed, the concept of communing with nature to heal is ancient. And one thing’s for sure: jellyfish are more natural than lava lamps – though I expect the feeling is probably similar.

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