Welcome to the UK page of Cocoro charity which is updated by Mary Atkinson, a member of the Cocoro team.
Japanese speakers can also find regular updates and photographs on the JapaneseÂ Cocoro blog.
The aim of Cocoro (the Japanese word for mind) is to offer mental health care and support to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan by providing aromatherapy and massage treatments.Â The founder is Takiko Ando, a Japanese citizen and qualified aromatherapist, who was herself a victim of the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe in January 1995. Â She set up the charity in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last year. Two years after the disaster, the mental health of the local people continues to be a great cause of concern.
At 14.46pm on March 11th 2011, a devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit the north east coast of Japan. The tsunami swept inland as far as six miles in some places. 14,728 people were killed with 10,808 people missing. (For more information and photographs please click here)
The psychological impact of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 will continue for many years. Haunted by shock and fear, local people have lost loved ones, homes and possessions. Â Conditioned by their culture not to burden others with their suffering, children and adults experience recurring nightmares, depression and high anxiety levels. (For more information please click here). Two years after the disaster, the local people are still trying to come to terms with their loss.
The Cocoro team have found that the therapeutic power of aromatherapy and the comfort of touch can bring positive healing to the victims of the tsunami.Â (For more information on benefits pleaseÂ click here)
Cocoro would like to thank everyone in the UK for their support and kindness. (To listen to a message of gratitude please click here)
Cocoro Activities from May 2011
- Cocoro Charity first visited the disaster area in May 2011.
- The Cocoro team returned inÂ September 2011.
- As part of preparations for a visit in Spring 2012, Cocoro invited Mary Atkinson, complementary therapist and author, from the UK to join the team. (To read more about the Mary’s involvement and fund-raising activities pleaseÂ click here)
- Cocoro returned to Rikuzentakata in April 2012 with a team including Richard and Mary Atkinson from the UK. (To read Mary’s report of the visit please click here)
- A new initiative for Cocoro is a ‘Positive Touch for Children’ project led by Takiko Ando, Mary Atkinson and Keiko Sugawara. (To find out more about the creative use of story massage with the children of Rikuzentakata please click here)
- The Cocoro team visited again in October 2012.(To read Takiko’s report please click here)
UK BLOG UPDATES
Cocoro’s Visit to the Tsunami Area – October 2012Â (report written by Takiko Ando)
The founder of Cocoro Charity is Takiko Ando, a Japanese citizen and qualified aromatherapist, who was herself a victim of the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe on 17th January 1995. TheÂ Hanshin earthquake measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale. 6,434 people were killed in this disaster. Many people suffered mental health care problems in the aftermath of the disaster as there was so little recognition of the importance of the need to heal emotional wounds. Takiko was saddened by the way that dozens of victims died alone in temporary accommodation especially elderly victims who became estranged from their families due to bereavement and distance from each other.
As soon as Takiko heard the news of the devastating earthquake and tsunami on the north east coast of Japan, she was determined to do something to help. Through her experience as a therapist both in U.K and Japan, she realised that aromatherapy could act as a calming influence. She decided to embark on a new project offering 15 minute massages to individuals affected by the tragedy.
With the help and support of REST UK, a charity providing on-site chair massages to emergency service workers at prolonged emergencies, Takiko was able to sort out paperwork, including the necessary documentation such as consultation forms, and set up Cocoro (the Japanese word for mind. The local social welfare council in the disaster area recognised the importance of Cocoro and accepted Takiko’s help. In May 2011, Takiko first traveled to the prefecture of Iwate, the hardest hit disaster area, to offer 15 minute massages to the victims. She offered a choice of massage – either hands, feet or neck and shoulders.
Takiko Ando, Professional Aromatherapist, MIFPA, founder of Cocoro
Takiko is Member of the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapist. She is a graduate of the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy Â and has gained a U.K. Diploma in Clinical Aromatherapy and Holistic Massage. She is a qualified instructor on the Massage in Schools Programme. She can be contacted directly on:Â firstname.lastname@example.org