Anma is the first year of study for an Amatsu therapy qualification and it can be interpreted as the ‘massage’ level as it encompasses the application of natural movement principles on soft tissue structures, with the primary focus being on the musculature system. Unlike most western massages, Anma often uses no oils and can be done through the clothing with the client either sitting or lying down. This makes Anma an extremely flexible style of TREATMENT, suitable for a wide variety of client needs and environments.
Anma is over 5,000 years old and it means ‘to push and pull’ body tissue. It originated in ancient China and it is thought to have been first brought to Japan by warrior monks from China through Korea about 1,500 years ago. Anma’s application on the body influences many structures and systems. The stroking, stretching and kneading of the tissue is an ancient art, not only in man, but in all animal species.
These techniques were considered so effective in Japan that before the introduction of western medicine all doctors were trained in Anma. This only changed with the Meiji Restoration in 1868 when the government was focused on ‘westernizing’ Japan. Therefore they decided to abandon much of their traditional culture including the ‘healing art’ of Anma. As a special exemption only the visually impaired were allowed to continue to train in Anma and other ancient healing arts.
In the early 1900’s a group of Anma trained practitioners formed the basis of Shiatsu, effectively re-naming this approach and using some of Anma’s methods. (Tina Sohn Anma Therapy.) The modern day founder of physiotherapy, Professor Ling, also studied Anma/ Tuina in China prior to the establishment of his Swedish massage and exercise.
Dr. Hatsumi explained to Dennis Bartram that in the beginning ancient man had no real knowledge of pathology or deep anatomical structure. The kneading or stroking would be applied to injuries or pain according to instinctual feel. He explained that by coming from their hearts through their thumbs, ancient man would bring out the wellness in other people. Despite out extensive anatomical training we practice to insure we keep this instinct live and functional.
From the very beginning of their Anma studies our Amatsu Practitioners are trained to evaluate, assess and treat the whole body incorporating all of the symptoms of your illness or injury. Once students have completed their first year of study they are qualified to treat clients in a professional capacity at an Anma level and begin their progression to the second of 4 levels.