From Personal Need to Helping the World

Companies are started for many different reasons. Isamu Masuda founded Nikken because he personally had a need and nothing fulfilled it. In the true spirit of entrepreneurship, he thought outside of the box and found a way to fulfill his personal need and in doing so, created a company that could do the same for countless people, first in Japan and eventually, globally.

Young Masuda became the son of a single mother when his father died in World War II. His mother managed a small shop, and when he was 18, young Isamu found a job with a bus company. Over the next few years, he worked his way up from washing buses to being a desk clerk.

Married at age 27, Masuda was intensely interested in ways to improve health, possibly because he personally did not have a robust constitution. He started to work at a shop providing health-related products. His goals and career path changed when his son was born with daunting health challenges. The need to support his family and help improve the health of his son and himself, was enough to spur him into action. Doctors told him his son’s recovery would be expensive, so the new father logically decided he had to find a way to make a lot of money.

Inspiration came in the form of personal experience. Japanese people are introduced to hot baths early in life and grow accustomed to communal bathing. Families enjoy public baths with a key feature: pebbles on the floor of the baths stimulate the feet. Creatively thinking, Mr. Masuda combined the concepts of the stimulating pebbles with the age-long practice of using magnets, believed by Japanese to be therapeutic. He created the first magnetic insole that could be placed inside shoes.

His invention was a hit almost immediately. His customers claimed they felt better in different ways. They said their circulation improved, they felt more energetic and they were getting better sleep. But Masuda was not a businessman and didn’t know how to expand, so he reached out to an experienced financier. Together they grew their insole business.

Nikken sold only insoles for the first three years of business. They were sold to help improve overall energy through stability and stamina from the feet upward. Independent distributors later expanded into other countries and Nikken has now been an international company for more than 45 years.

Kenko Insoles are now available in two variations: mStrides and mSteps. Both continue on the Japanese tradition of magnets for therapeutic usage combined with the effect of the hot bath pebbles. The contemporary insoles make use of patented magnetic DynaFlux® technology. Depending on preference you can choose Kenko mSteps® insoles that are “bumpier” for more intense massage effects or Kenko mStrides® for a smoother surface. Both are durable, provide support for feet, legs and back, and are ventilated so feet stay cool.

As the flagship product line, Kenko Insoles have withstood the test of time and have built a huge fan base. Here are a few examples of what people with happy feet say:

” I used to have discomfort on my ankles for years. Since I wear the mStrides, the discomfort went away! So grateful for the technologies!” U. Pho

“I feel grounded and connected all day with my mStrides.” C. Aubry

“Ever since I was 7 years old, I’ve had challenges with my joints and being on my feet for long periods of time. I consistently wear mSteps or mStrides in my shoes and even my sandals. I like both so I just keep them, without switching them out. I no longer feel challenged when I’m on my feet!” B. Richmond

“I teach aerobics and strength training so when serious foot discomfort threatened my ability to that as well as to hike and dance, I needed help. My friend gave me a pair of mStrides and I was amazed. My feet felt great, I had tremendous energy in my legs and my class even told me I was too peppy! That was 20 years ago and I’ve never taken them out of my shoes. It’s mind-blowing how a product can be so effective and so simple to use.” C. Livingston

“When I started working at a cable plant, I had to climb stairs throughout the day while wearing steel toed boots. My back and legs were strained and I could barely walk by the end of the day. I order mStrides and put them in my boots. Now I am able to go up and down the stairs as many times as needed without worrying if I will make it to the end of the day. I am so grateful.” – A. Markus

“I am a busy mom and entrepreneur business owner. I love my mSteps—it’s one of the easiest things I can do to improve my well-being without adding another thing to my to-do list. I have improved balance and feel that it supports the flexibility of my back, while my energy levels are better during the day. Slide them in the shoes and forget about it.” A. Weinberg

How are you doing with your Summer Active Wellness regimen? Walking, hiking, running or gardening, traveling and anything you do on your feet can be surprisingly easy with Kenko Insoles. From now until September 30, you can save 20% off the Summer Active Wellness Pack. It contains three Nikken technologies—nutrition, magnetics and PiMag® water— with a jar of Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder, a pair of Kenko Insoles (choose mStrides or mSteps) and an eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle.

You Can Have Filtered Alkaline Water On-the-Go

Seasoned travelers know that airports don’t allow liquids to be carried on board airplanes. In fact, most airports do not allow liquids to go past security checkpoints. We are left with the options of purchasing high-priced bottled water at kiosks near the departure gates or drinking from water fountains, if there are any.

The PiMag® Sport Bottle is a game changer. It is portable so you can take it backpacking, on a walk, on the metro, on a cruise and on the plane—you can take it just about anywhere! It has a replaceable, patented nano-fiber filter that helps reduce contaminants, alkalize potable water and is made of eco-friendly materials. As long as you replace the filter, this bottle just keeps on working. This means you can fill it with water from taps, drinking fountains and any source of potable water. It’s the ideal travel companion!

Here are just a few testimonials from avid PiMag® Sport Bottle users who are committed to not drinking bottled water that adds to plastic waste and landfills:

“The PiMag Sport Bottle has been my life saver whenever I leave my house and especially when I travel! It’s so convenient being able to fill my bottle with even tap water. It eases my mind to know that I’m drinking clean, chemical-free alkaline water that tastes amazing!” S. DiMuccio

“I love traveling with my PiMag® Sports Bottle so I can have great water on planes. They won’t let us take water on the plane so I use my PiMag® Sport Bottle to clean the bottled water they give us. Also, I feel safe drinking the water when I ‘Nikkenize’ the l water that comes from the tap!” H. Rapp

“I love my PiMag® Sport Bottle.  I just returned from traveling for two weeks and at no point did I need to buy or concern myself with great quality water.  The airports now have depots where you can fill up your water bottles with semi-filtered water, but then I have PiMag® water filtration ready to go in my hands and I am so grateful!  It helps me stay hydrated and healthy as I am traveling.” B. Bertucci

“My husband and I have traveled across the United States, around Europe, South America and Japan with our PiMag® Sport Bottles. A few years ago, I met with the Head of the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh, N.C. We had lunch and I had my PiMag® Sport Bottle. He was taking his family back to visit in Mexico and he wanted a water bottle for each person. I was happy to be able to assist in making his trip better. Everyone loves PIMag® Water on-the-go!” K. Sargent\

“Whether I’m on a short five-mile hike with a fellow firefighter to help a patient or traveling long distances on a plane, the PIMag® Sport Bottle is our families’ go to source for great water. It’s small and lightweight and will fit anywhere.” V. Rogers

The eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle is such an easy way to make a personal commitment to planet Earth. In doing so, you’re also paying attention to self-care in the form of hydration and alkalinity. You’re also being a good role model for the younger generations.

This is the perfect time to begin or renew your commitment to staying hydrated while decreasing your carbon footprint. The Summer Active Wellness Pack is composed of three Nikken technologies that work to support walking, nutrition and hydration. It comes with one PiMag® Sport Bottle, one pair of energizing magnetic insoles (choose your size of Kenko mSteps® or Kenko mStrides®) and one Kenzen® Super Ciaga® Powder (for a superfruit antioxidant and immunity boost). You get the pack at 20% off from now through September 30.

Summer Walking: A Fun Way to Better Health

Summer means more daylight hours and warmer temperatures, which makes it a great season for walking outdoors. Walking is known to help release endorphins that elevate our mood and decrease stress levels. When done consistently and enough to increase heart rates, walking can even burn calories and help us lose weight. A heart-healthy exercise, walking is believed to lower the risk associated with high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, stroke and coronary heart disease.1  

Depending on where you live and how hot the summer days get, you can create a walking regimen. In climates that are very hot, it’s best to limit walking to early morning and evenings when temperatures are lower and tolerable. Frequent but short brisk walks are just as beneficial as longer walks. Both help to build stamina and strengthen the heart, so you don’t need to take one long, extended walk to meet your distance goals. You can split up the distance into a few short walks. If counting steps matters to you, then simply wear a pedometer.

Again, depending on where you live, there are many ways to incorporate a walking habit into your daily routine. You may:

•          walk part of the way to work or even all the way, if it isn’t that far.

•          walk on your lunch break.

•          take the stairs whenever possible, instead of using an elevator or escalator.

•          get the whole family involved and take a walk after the evening meal. Walking helps digestion!

•          find a walking buddy and set aside time together.

•          increase your walking time or distance with your dog(s).

If you haven’t been walking for some time, gradually build up time and distance. Even though walking is a gentle exercise, overdoing should be avoided. Be sure to:

•          dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes.

•          dress in light colors if the sun is already up or hasn’t set yet.

•          watch out for traffic, depending on where you’re walking.

•          carry a water bottle with you and sip regularly. Remember, even if you aren’t sweating, you’re still losing water. Dehydration causes great discomfort and may even be dangerous.

•          wear a visor, sun hat or head covering you feel comfortable in.

•          wear shoes that are broken in and give good support. If you are hiking or going on uneven terrain, you may need sturdy boots instead of comfy shoes.

•          wear sunscreen everywhere your skin is exposed. You can get sunburned even when you cannot see the sun.

•          use walking sticks if you want to work out your arms.

•          use a walker if you are post-surgery or in recovery and have been sedentary for a stretch of time.

•          wear light ankle and wrist weights if you want extra conditioning or to build muscle mass. (Make sure you are in good shape already before adding weights.)

Walking is one of the easiest ways to incorporate daily exercise into an Active Wellness lifestyle. Get everyone in the household involved and see how fast communications improve between generations!

This entire summer and into the beginning of autumn, you can jumpstart your walking habit with the Summer Active Wellness Pack. It comes with one PiMag® Sport Bottle (to help you stay hydrated), one pair of energizing magnetic insoles (choose your size of Kenko mSteps® or mStrides®) and one Kenzen® Super Ciaga® Powder (for a superfruit antioxidant and immunity boost). You get the pack at 20% off from now through September 30.

1 https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-

Choosing Freedom Every Day

Freedom is an ideal that many of us consider in a global way and on certain holidays, we may take time to think about it in more profound ways. In North America, we celebrated Canada Day on July 1 and U.S. Independence Day on July 4.

Freedom can be a personal choice. One of the most inspiring examples of this freedom mindset—to choose freedom regardless of circumstances—may well be personified by Nelson Mandela. During 27 years of imprisonment under deplorable conditions, he managed to stay true to himself and keep his spirit intact. When freed and asked repeatedly how he managed not only to survive but to emerge stronger than ever, he quoted William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus.1 The two key lines that Mandela immortalized with his personal story are: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

Humans Being More is the Nikken approach to being the “master of my fate” and “captain of my soul.” By working on our inner selves every day of our lives, we develop into who we are meant to be. Few of us will live heroic lives akin to that of Nelson Mandela, but many of us may live productive lives that positively impact others. “Being more” is an evolution and does not stop. It is embodying the words of Theodore Roethke in his poem The Waking: “I learn by going where I have to go.”2

Going where we have to go is similar to the Nike motto: “Just Do It.” Take the plunge. Don’t overthink it. Go with your gut. Over-analysis is paralysis. We’ve heard these exhortations to action over and over again, because actually doing something is what makes our choices happen, not just mulling them over. Our freedom mindset is what propels us forward and enables us to take action.

The freedom to do something of our choice (or not) is a gift. In contemporary societies, it’s common to feel obligated to attend certain functions, to be at the beck and call of family members and friends, to work unpredictably long hours—to surrender to the requirements of others. Much of this is a part of adulthood, but self-care is also needed for us to endure for the long haul. Taking time for ourselves each day—to exercise, read something of actual interest, pay attention to pets, or have a nice cup of tea—are part of the freedom mindset.

Choosing freedom does not mean shirking responsibilities or feeling entitled to things we did not work for. When someone has never had to work for something desired, entitlement sets in. This entitlement inevitably leads to discontent because there is no association with value. We naturally gravitate towards gratitude when we know the value of something and experience the effort of obtaining it. What do we have in each day that we are grateful for? We cannot feel free if we focus on what we don’t have. We can, however, focus on how to obtain what we want. Being able to choose what we want and to go after it, is also a type of freedom we sometimes take for granted.

Especially during uncertain times, we create our own lack of freedom by adhering to preconceived notions of who we should be or what we’re capable of doing. Then something happens to remind us that change is the only constant, and we can choose to go with the flow or swim against it, but inertia is not an option. Best of all, we find out that we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. When we use our freedom mindset, we surprise ourselves—in such good ways!

Whatever we choose to use our freedom mindset to accomplish—whether it’s to become debt-free, learn a new language, or to spend more time with our children and grandchildren—we can only rely on our own defined intentions to make it happen.

Successful entrepreneurs have the freedom mindset. They do not want to be bound by 9-5 limitations, they do not like the security of staying in a box, and they enjoy taking creative risks. In entrepreneur speak, they say that success is reached through a series of failures. In the freedom mindset, failure does not exist—failure is only a stepping stone to success.

Nikken wishes everyone a joyful summer filled with new experiences found with your freedom mindset! From July 1 through September 30, get the Summer Active Wellness Starter Pack that gives you access to three technologies: PiMag® alkaline water with patented nano-fiber filtration, organic antioxidant nutrition and patented DynaFlux®magnetics. You get one each of the PiMag® Sport Bottle, Kenzen® Super Ciaga® Powder and your choice of one pair of Kenko mStrides® or Kenko mSteps® at 20% off the total price.

1https://www.inmatesurvival.com/how-did-nelson-mandela-survive-27-years-in-prison/

2 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43333/the-waking-56d2220f25315

Healthy Feet Propel Active Wellness

April is Foot Health Awareness Month—good foot health is essential for an active life. With 26 bones plus 33 joints, feet serve as the foundation for the rest of the body. If the feet are not mechanically sound, it can affect the knees, hips and even the lower back.

We carry approximately four to six times our body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking steep inclines. We need our feet to carry us an average of 115,000 miles in our lifetime; therefore, avoiding foot problems should be a priority.1

The importance of feet serves as the foundation for reflexology, which studies how one part of the body relates to another. Practitioners of reflexology rely on a “map” of the foot, where each part corresponds to another body part, notably the internal organs. Pressure applied to different parts of the foot is believed to stimulate or activate corresponding parts of the body.2

Food is a great enabler for foot health. What we eat can help avoid swelling and other discomforts of the feet. For example, eating food with diuretic properties may help prevent fluid retention.3 Incorporate watermelon, asparagus, parsley, beets, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, cucumbers, pineapples, pumpkins, onions, leeks and garlic into your diet.3

Foods to avoid (or least to partake of infrequently) include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, dairy products, animal protein, dried shellfish, fried foods, gravies, olives, pickles, salt, soy sauce, tobacco, white flour and white sugar.4 Fortunately, what we should incorporate and what we should reduce in our diet correspond to basic healthy eating, Mediterranean style. (link to https://nikkenactivewellness.com/2017/03/14/go-mediterranean-for-good-nutrition-and-health/)

Other ways to maintain foot health include:

• Stretching the feet, ankles and lower legs every day and before exercising. This helps to keep the muscles strong and to avoid injury.

• Keeping a healthy weight. Excess weight puts pressure on the feet, leading to foot pain, stress fractures, circulatory issues and possible arthritis.

• Making sure shoes fit properly. Avoid rubbing or squeezing toes, and try to maintain a half inch space between the longest toe (usually the big toe or the second toe) and the end of the shoe.

• Replacing worn out shoes. Some of us have a favorite pair that are especially comfortable; however, if they are worn out inside or outside, they can cause foot strain.

• Keeping feet clean and dry in between the toes. This will help prevent fungus, otherwise known as athlete’s foot.

Feet are one of the more complex parts of the human anatomy, so they are prone to a wide variety of issues, such as ingrown toenails, neuropathy, bunions and more. In addition, it’s fairly common to have one foot be slightly larger than the other, so always wear shoes that favor the larger foot in fit.5 We also need to be aware that our feet may not stay the same size—as we age, they tend to flatten out, and some pregnancies may cause feet to enlarge.

Two of the Nikken flagship products are the insoles. Founder Isamu Masuda developed the magnetic insoles to simulate the therapeutic pebbles in the Japanese public hot baths. The Kenko mStrides® and Kenko mSteps® can both be cut to size to fit right into your shoes. The magnetic nodules massage the soles of the feet and act similarly to the acupressure practiced as part of reflexology. People who work while standing find Kenko insoles particularly helpful in keeping feet energized and stable.

The KenkoGround® is a Nikken product that can work in tandem with bare feet. Simply place the KenkoGround in direct contact with bare feet while seated or sleeping, and experience a reconnection with nature to help feel more relaxed, and less stressed.

1 https://www.bvhealthsystem.org/expert-health-articles/national-foot-health-awareness-month#:~:text=Did%20you%20know%20that%20April,least%20one%20foot%20problem%20annually.

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624523/

3, 4 www.foot.com

https://www.voyagehealthcare.com/blog/put-your-best-foot-forward-this-national-foot-health-awareness-month