Goku, the First Japanese Sleep Spa Opens in New York City

Many people struggle with sleeping issues. We cannot let go of our thoughts at night to get the sleep we crave. More than a third of American adults are not sleeping enough on a regular basis, according to a study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In Japan, a spa called Goku Spa is using a unique stimulation technique to help people de-stress and find blissful sleep again. 

Atsumi Kaneda who was constantly exhausted during the day as a result of poor-quality sleep, founded Goku in 2008 in Japan. Referred to as a new “sleeping time machine” spa, the spas now have a waiting list of 436,000 people.

“We refer to Goku as the ‘ultimate sleep’ spa because we exclusively focus on the scalp.” said Kaneda. “Our techniques are designed to put an individual in the most relaxed state possible to ensure they drift off into a peaceful slumber.” 

I went in Goku to find out more and had one of the best spa experiences of my life. 

The environment in Goku is surreal. The minute I walked in, I felt like I was leaving my familiar environment to enter a strange, beautiful fourth dimension where all references to time had been erased. Soft lights, an infinite sense of blue space and a gentle, distant music helped create a dream landscape.

I was asked to answer a questionnaire and listen to a video about the mysteries of the brain and sleep. Then I was led into a treatment room to change.

By using a special form of treatment called Zecchou Sleep (meaning ultimate sleep in Japanese) your head is massaged with twenty-one types of strokes. Pressure, using the fingers is applied to the scalp, fascia, and muscles of the head to promote blood flow and circulation. I felt like the therapist’s fingers were going deeply into my brain releasing all tension, stress, frustration and other emotions that can block sleep. Beneath the scalp are the large fascia and some thin muscles that can be stimulated to allow better communication and a blissful state. You find yourself in a space of inner stillness that you never knew existed.

“Since there was no market for head massage, there were no books nor school for it, I had to invent it myself,” said Kaneda. “I studied under various doctors, acupuncturists, and healers to gain knowledge and techniques about what induces maximum relaxation and puts the body in the optimal state for sleep. The pressure slowly stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and leads the clients to wonderful sleep. This sleep is different from meditation or nighttime sleep, it is a new experience of a pleasurable dreamy land.” said Kaneda. The soothing environment only enhances the experience. Though I did not fall asleep, I felt in a wonderful blissful state and was sad when the massage was over. After dressing again, I was invited into a beauty room to brush my hair and fix my make-up. I also had a soothing cup of tea and a Japanese cookie.

The experience is almost spiritual. I was not the same New Yorker when I left as when I walked in. I felt like I had gone upon a journey to the end of my mind reaching gentle areas that I did not know. I would recommend this experience to anyone who suffers from stress, sleeping issues or who just wants to find a sense of peace and bliss within themselves. 
Kaneda hopes that this first Goku spa in the “City that never sleeps” will help alleviate New Yorkers’ sleep difficulties. I certainly felt different for the rest of the day. That night I had a wonderful sleep with very good dreams.

For more information about Goku spa, please call (929) 336-3088 and visit: https://www.gokusleep.com/ 

Goku Spa
18 West 38th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10018