Judo Therapist

A Bone and Muscle Injury Specialist: (A Japanese Traditional Therapist)

A judo therapist treats bone, muscle and joint injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, bruises, sprains and muscle strains, without the performance of surgery. A judo therapist is also known as a judo reduction therapist. Reduction is the process of restoring a previously fractured bone or dislocated joint to its correct alignment. A properly-aligned bone is then stabilized with medical tape or a metal splint in order to prevent it from slipping. This series of procedures is known as “judo reduction therapy” (A doctor’ s consent is necessary for non-emergency treatment of fractures and dislocations).



Opening and Managing a Clinic

After obtaining a license, judo therapists train at medical institutions such as orthopedic departments, bonesetters, and osteopathic clinics, in order to learn a range of skills and techniques. Most of them then open their own clinic. Judo therapists are granted the qualification of “functional training instructors” by the long-term care insurance system (which was launched in 2000). Thus, recently, as long-term care support specialists (care managers) or functional trainers, more judo therapists are engaging in elder care services. In addition, they play a role in other fields; disciplining children through instructing judo, and attending sport competitions as a first-aid provider or trainer.



National Licensing

Though officially known as judo therapists, they are more widely known as coaptators, bonesetters or osteopaths,. The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare grants judo therapist licenses. To be eligible to sit the licensing examination, you must have studied for more than 3 years at a school listed in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology or the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, or have studied for more than 4 years at an university listed in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. You must also have completed 11 subjects, among which includes judo therapy theory, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and orthopedics.



Why are they known as “Judo” Therapists?

Sekkotsu (coaptation) and Seikotsu (bonesetting) are mentioned in Yourou Ritsuryo (Yoro Code, 718AD) and in an old document of 8th century (Heian period). The roots of judo therapy date back to the 15th century (Warring States period).

At that time, Chen Yuan-Yen, from China, taught Chinese martial arts and Seikotsu-jutsu (a bonesetting technique) to Japanese samurais. A part of the those martial arts became known as jujutsu, which then evolved into judo. Judo is now known throughout the world as a Japanese traditional sport which strengthens the mind and body. Its fundamental spirit is embodied by the phrase, “Rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru” (Beginning and ending with a bow of respect).

Along with the evolution of judo, Seikotsu-jutsu was also popularized, and evolved into coaptation, bonesetting and osteopathy. Such clinics were often built next to judo-jo (judo schools or clubs). Through knowledge of these historical details, the Japanese government was able to legally define a judo therapist under the Judo Therapists Law in 1920.


この拳法の一部が武術の一つである「柔術」として広められ、現在の「柔道」に発展。“礼に始まり礼に終わる” のごとく礼節を重んじ、心身を鍛えることができる日本の伝統スポーツとして世界に普及されています。

Judo Reduction Therapy is Recognized by the WHO.

As one of Japan’s traditional medical practices, judo reduction therapy was introduced in the 2001 report, “The Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review” published by the WHO, in which “judo reduction therapists” were referred to as “judo therapists”. Judo therapy was also recognized in the WHO Congress on Traditional Medicine (2002). In order to disseminate the benefits of Judo Therapy to countries in which medical infrastructure is lacking, the Japan Judo Therapist Association dispatches judo therapists around the world.


柔道整復師の活動は国内に留まらず、2001年のWHO(世界保健機関)発行の「伝統医療と相補・代替医療に関する報告」に日本の伝統医療として紹介されました。その中で柔道整復師は「柔道セラピスト」(Judo therapist)と表現されています。そして2002年のWHO伝統医学総会で柔道整復術は「柔道セラピー」(Judo therapy)として認知されました。

Judo Therapy at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics & Paralympics

The Japan Judo Therapist Association is endeavouring to make the benefits of judo therapy available to international athletes and attendees at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics & Paralympics Games.

和訳:東京 2020 オリンピック・パラリンピックに向けて

日本柔道整復師会は「東京 2020 オリンピック・パラリンピック」で世界の選手や関係者に柔道整復術を活用できるよう努めています。

Corporation of public interests
Japan Judo Therapist Association