It’s no surprise, then, that pursuits supporting emotional wellbeing feature heavily within HSBC Jade’s new ‘Enrich List’ of 50 inspiring experiences, particularly within its Ultimate Wellbeing sub-section. (The Enrich List is organised into four pillars with the others being Curated Adventures, Purposeful Life and Gamechangers.) Perhaps the most intriguing of these is Crying Therapy – or “rui-katsu” as it was originally known – an unconventional but increasingly popular treatment offered most commonly in Japan.
Crying Therapy was the brainchild of Hiroki Terai, a former divorce ceremony planner who claims to cry every weekend to keep himself healthy. He says his therapy has helped hardened businessmen who haven’t cried in decades to open up and express their emotions.
“Crying Therapy can be carried out independently or as part of a supportive group”, explains Terai. “Either way, it’s important to create the right environment: the first step is to dim the lighting, turn your phone to silent and disconnect from the distractions of the modern world. We then use aromatherapy oil or incense to help clients relax, switch off and allow themselves to cry without any shame.”
Having shaken off the cares of the outside world, participants allow themselves to be transported to another realm through sentimental stories. Sometimes a ‘crying sommelier’ is deployed to better understand what triggers participants tears and curates content according to those triggers.
Terai supports his guests through the crying process. “We start by reading stories that trigger tears, then we move to watching five short films designed to make you cry for about 25 minutes,” he says. “The next important step is ‘Crying Friends Time’, where we support each other and talk about what makes us cry.”
Terai says there is no right or wrong way to respond to the programme.
“Some people cannot cry in front of other people, but others cry in sympathy when they see their friends or colleagues crying. And some can only allow themselves to cry during a Crying Therapy event. We provide a space where people can cry as much as they need without worrying about other people’s reactions.”
Terai says people who have embarked on his programme report feeling lighter, less stressed than before and even elated.
“Crying also makes you have a deeper, better quality sleep,” claims Terai. “In addition, it improves your immune system, so you’re less likely to catch a cold. Since I started Crying Therapy in January 2013, I haven’t caught a cold at all.”
While cry-shy cynics may find Terai’s approach a little too quirky, there is scientific backing for the benefits of crying.
Research by neuroscientist Dr William H. Frey II, author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears found that 85 percent of women and 73 percent of men feel less sad and angry after shedding some tears. Crying has been found to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, remove toxins, reduce manganese levels (lowering anxiety, irritability and aggression) and help people to become more aware of their internal responses to external factors.
And Terai has gathered his own evidence of tear-induced transformation.
“One of our clients from the city of Shizuoka experienced an intense response to the treatment,” he explains. “The process opened a valve and he is able to deal with stress and depression that had previously dogged him.”
For more information on Crying Therapy or any one of the HSBC Jade Enrich List experiences click here.