I am Akari, a Toronto-based practitioner who provides tools and solutions to facilitate breast and pelvic health with extra emphasis on emotional and social wellbeing.
My friends and patients describe me as patient-centred, professional, detail-oriented, problem-solving, and … quite funny (or silly sometimes)!
“I am here, ready to support you.
Please contact me so that we can restore your health together”.
Akari Yokokawa (She/Her)
Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Registered Massage Therapist
Lactation Consultant in Training
A Full Story: Why I do what I do
Since I was little, I knew I wanted to do something to help others.
At the age of 18, I made my first official step into healthcare and entered a nursing program. It was a sincere, genuine, and natural decision for me. Since then, I have studied and worked in many fields in western medicine, and now continue learning Chinese Medicine. Simply put, I have studied modern and ancient medicines to deliver the best possible care to my patients for over two decades.
Nursing is definitely a foundation of my work. I learned a great deal about the human body and western treatments and I have witnessed many, many life stories. Putting the physical, emotional, and social factors of the patient in the whole picture was what I was trained to understand for my patients - it’s my backbone. It has taught me patient-centeredness.
In the first year of my nursing career at an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in Japan, I met a very sweet elderly couple and I was assigned to be the wife’s primary care nurse. One day, my patient and her husband handed me very cute handmade charms as a thank-you. Sadly, the patient passed soon after a very difficult surgery, and her husband took his own life to follow her. I was also his primary care nurse for his last days when he was taken to the hospital, but his strong will took him to where his beloved wife was. It was the most painful, devastating experience in my entire career to this day. The charms they gave me are still with me here in Canada, and I still think of them every day. They are the reason I stay in healthcare.
Clinical Engineering (CE) has lightened the passion and joy I have for learning. The school years were full of fun and I learned professionalism and how my own behaviour can change relationships from one of the most stubborn patients I cared for at a hemodialysis unit as an RN and a CE student in Japan. As a new acquaintance of his, I was rejected by him numerous times when I attended for his care, but I kept greeting him and being humorous to ease his tension while doing my part. After a few months, we became like best friends and developed a new routine of greeting each other with a “high five!”. It was a daily highlight to see a big smile on his face as he entered the dialysis unit, and we had a lot of fun during his regular dialysis visits along with other patients. I miss everyone I met there.
Massage therapy has deepened the care I feel for patients. Every patient is unique, and every day is a learning experience. I have learned to listen to my patients’ bodies because their bodies knows the answer.
Chinese Medicine has opened new doors for me to see the whole person from a very different angle. This has been filling the gaps that western medicine hasn’t been able to fill. I now truly trust the healing ability we have within ourselves. We are all unique, and valuing and appreciating the uniqueness is the key for the optimal wellness of a particular person. No more cookie cutter treatments. No more covering up the symptoms. In this medicine, I am an attentive detective. I listen, observe, feel, and analyze all the information I gather from the patient to understand what is exactly happening to this person in front of me, right at this moment. And, ta-dah!, it happens. It gives me chills!
In the meantime, I have gone through some ups and downs, just like others. They were the good and the bad, bright and dark, sweet, bitter, sour, all sorts. I admit that there were moments I almost lost hope in my life with many transitional moments. But I am here.
It is because I have been fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful people, that I keep getting up after each struggle. Someone once told me that FAIL can mean a “First Attempt In Learning”. I wouldn’t be here without some FAILs.
I feel now it’s my turn to help my community.
I do so by providing a safe and non-judgmental space for my patients to be their true-selves and to be heard, so that they can initiate a fulfilling life when they go through life’s stages and start or add new roles in life. Whether it is graduating a school, starting a new job, marriage, childbearing, birth, postpartum, career change, separation, mid-age adjustment, menopause, or others, we face many physical and emotional challenges based on social influence.
My patients are my motivation to continue learning and providing care. I have been learning advanced theories and treatments in my fields from numerous educators and mentors. They’ve got my back, and my treatments are a true blend of all my mentors' work to best address the very unique person right in front of me, and I feel so fortunate about this.
Outside of work, I am quite an introvert.
I maintain my work-life balance and recharge physically and mentally by turning off my phone, reading books, feeling nature, cooking seasonal food, practicing Qi Gong and yoga stretches, and snuggling with two very talkative kitties who make appearances in my social media posts from time to time.