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AMMA Therapy®

Bodywork Therapy

Amma Therapy® is concerned with the balance and movement of life energy (Qi) in the human body. Whereas the acupuncturist will insert needles into these energy pathways to stimulate and move the energy and the herbalist will use appropriate herbal remedies to do the same, the Amma therapist relies primarily on the sensitivity and strength of the hands to manipulate and balance the life energy.

Knowledgeable in related approaches, such as acupuncture, moxibustion (the application of heat to acupuncture points), skeletal manipulation, appropriate use of herbal medications, diet, and meditation, the Amma therapist is concerned with the flow and balance of energy in the pathways of Qi, commonly known as the channels, that form an energetic web throughout the body.The channels of Qi nourish and defend the body. As well, it is through these channels that harmful energies gain access to deeper regions of the body. The balanced and unobstructed flow of Qi through the channels is imperative for maintaining good health. Amma therapy utilizes all the techniques of the major forms of therapeutic massage.

Deep pressure and point manipulation as used in shiatsu massage are applied in the administration of an Amma therapy treatment to attain the desired effects of energetic movement and release of muscular contraction. Foot reflex points are stimulated during the course of a treatment, a practice commonly known as foot reflexology. Stimulation of these points often has profound results on the deeper organs and tissues of the body. Deep fascia and connective tissue manipulation techniques similar to those used in Rolfing are part of the repertoire of the advanced therapist, as are the muscle stretching and pushing techniques commonly employed in European or Swedish massage.

The master therapist is also well versed in the skeletal manipulations that form the basis of chiropractic. Amma therapy is therefore not simply a specific technique, but is rather a comprehensive healing art with a specific purpose and philosophy and a sophisticated mode of practice. Amma therapy addresses all problems from this multisystem, multidirectional point of view.

The process of assessment uses both Western and Eastern knowledge and techniques, combining traditional Oriental medical principles for assessing energy imbalances with a Western approach to organ dysfunction. A diagnosis is based on the Four Traditional Methods: looking, asking, touching, and smelling. This includes the assessment of every facet of the mindbody complex, including observation of the tongue; the taking of various pulses; palpation; and evaluation of diet, complexion, bowel movements, posture, emotions, vitality, personal likes and dislikes, smells, tastes, and sounds. Every sign and symptom reflects the internal state of the body and can be used in assessment, providing information about the psychological state of the patient as well as the prognosis of the disease or imbalance. Specific areas of the body are seen as a microcosm of the whole, revealing much about the entire organism. Once a comprehensive assessment is made and energy imbalances and organ dysfunction's diagnosed, the Amma therapist's hands and fingers can appropriately treat the body to remove blockages, free the flow of energy, and bring healing energy to problem areas.

In early civilizations, primitive people naturally sought to relieve pains by rubbing the body. The evolutionary position holds that Amma developed from early experimentation with rubbing that involved pushing and pulling the muscles of the body. However, the extreme sophistication of Amma makes such theories doubtful. This position is one that assumes evolution, while in the case of Amma and many other traditions of the Orient, devolution seems much more likely. Amma as practiced in modern China and Japan seems to be a devolved version of the original art in which the basic massage techniques are used exclusively, while the subtlety and power of Amma as recorded in the ancient texts has been lost. Given the profundity of Oriental medicine, beginning with the mapping of the energy patterns thousands of years ago, it seems clear that our ancestors were more -sensitive to their subtle experiences than we are today; they were more aware of their bodies and could feel the flow of energy in their systems.

While Oriental physicians of an earlier time generally never saw the inside of the human body, they were able to precisely delineate acupuncture points and knew the specific effects of these points on the physiology of the body. During that time they created charts describing the location of the pathways and their points, much of which has been confirmed by modem scientific research. The ancient texts of the "inner" or "soft" styles of the martial arts alsoindicate an awareness, sensitivity, and subtlety that is rarely found in practitioners of these physical arts today.

All arts-especially those that involve great attention to detail, extraordinary sensitivities, kinesthetic awareness, and control-are quite difficult to teach to others. The result is often a disintegration of the art, whereby the student takes on the lower or more superficial forms of the original practices.

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