Maki Sakuraba is the founder of Makimed, Inc. and a personal fitness trainer certified by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

Her passion and inspiration to become a fitness trainer derives from her gloomy teenage days in Japan. As described in her autobiography entitled "Girls, Be Ambitious!" (Gakuseisha Publishing Co. Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, 1996), she contracted a progressive form of rheumatoid arthritis (one of autoimmune diseases).

"I was a miserable little girl crying all day in my hospital bed..." Maki recalls. "I met a dozen doctors and they all said the same thing - incurable rheumatism. You can't go back to school."

She sought other opinions and searched for hope. However, due to the rapid progression of her illness, she became constrained to using a wheelchair at the end. "I was only 15 years old and completely lost hope. All my joints were affected... I experienced a true fear of the illness."

In Japan, ancient Eastern therapies (a.k.a. Kampo) are still widely available while modern Western medicine is regarded as major treatment.  Since modern Western medicine had failed, finally she knocked on the door of a Kampo therapist where many other ‘incurable’ patients had been miraculously brought back to a normal healthy life.

The principle of the therapy was "let the body heal itself" by enhancing its natural healing power. therapist strongly recommended active exercises that were rather contraindicated by modern medicine at that time.

"The therapist told me only exercises could bring me the muscle strength and joint movement back... it sounded extremely convincing to me although it seemed extremely hard to achieve... I'm so glad to know that nowadays many patients are encouraged to exercise more."

This ancient therapy brought her incredible results. After finishing her college program and certified as a Medical Technologist, Maki came to New York to pursue her childhood dream.  By that time, she had recovered most of her normal body function. However, she was still limping due to her severely damaged hip joints which were successfully replaced later by the cutting-edge technology of modern medicine.

"The surgery was almost a miracle. People told me I walked like a model!  Since I knew how important exercise was to regain normal joint movement, I exercised more than any other patient."

She joined the nearest fitness club as soon as she could walk by herself. It didn't take her too long to become one of the major fitness enthusiasts.

Maki's book received a rave review in Japan (1996)

"I've been doing very well - none of the gym members or instructors could ever imagine I was in a wheelchair and had a total hip replacement in the past!" Maki chuckles.

"Interestingly enough, I was saved by an ancient oriental therapist and a modern American orthopedic surgeon. I've learned the best of Western and Eastern medicines as well as their limitations. I've been helped by many incredible people - and here I am now very healthy and more physically fit than most people. I think it's time to utilize all my experiences and skills to help others who may need my unique expertise as a fitness trainer."

Since June 2006, Maki has been working as a personal trainer for Equinox, the highest profile fitness club in New York.

Having overcome major setbacks, Maki has more compassion and patience. "I think many people just give up too soon." Her message has been consistent since her teenage days:

“Don't give up. You can make it!"

Besides being an AFAA certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, Maki is the Medical Technologist licensed by the Japanese government and recognized by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

Maki has a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the City University of New York (Baruch College). Also, she was a member of International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).

With her great passion for dance and music, she has been developing her own dance program, combining oriental Qigong/Tai-chi movement to promote body and mind energy empowerment (lean more).

Note: Maki is not a physician or physical therapist. If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.