Anma (Tui Na) Massage
Anma (sometimes written as AMMA), in Japanese, means massage or massage therapist. It refers to the oldest known form of traditional Asian massage from Traditional Chinese Medicine. In China this approach was called Amma and is now called Tuina. Anma is a form of cross-fiber friction massage (CFM).
While Western massage techniques tend to focus on relaxing the client, the goals of Anma are to influence the internal organs, maintain balanced physical and psychological functioning of the body, reduce various ailments and help with realigning of the physical structure that may be needed. Anma focuses on improving muscle condition and circulation of "Chi", or Universal Life Energy.
"CFM is much different from traditional massage, as we need to get down much deeper and more specific to a particular structure. Where most massage methods use some form of skin lubrication, CFM uses none so that the finger (usually one, but sometimes two) doing the massage is not sliding across the skin, but rather is taking the skin with it, allowing for the force to be transmitted directly to the deep tissue being treated. The motion is small, maybe an inch or so, back and forth "across the grain" of the tissue, so you have to have some idea which direction the structure normally runs. The amount of pressure should be moderate, which will often cause some amount of discomfort, but this should never be too painful.", Gabe Yankowitz, P.T., The Therapy Corner.
Using no oil, Anma involves stretching, squeezing and massaging to stimulate the body to become and/or remain healthy. Anma means to push and pull.
It is important to recognize that Shiatsu and Western massage do not belong to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Shiatsu Therapy was first authorized by the Japanese Ministry of Health in 1955. At that time, the Ministry considered Anma, Western Massage and Shiatsu all as one inclusive therapy.
Anma works by pushing and pulling on specific areas of the body to release tension and tightness, thereby restoring the normal flows of blood and lymph to promote growth, repair and restoration of normal function. Anma uses techniques of kneading, pressing, grasping, pulling, tapping and stretching to move energy in the body, promote balance and restore health.
In 1964 Shiatsu and Western Massage were recognized by the Ministry of Health in Japan as distinctly different therapies not belonging to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Anma's foundation is the kneading technique, which combines with several different application techniques to construct the massage. The kneading technique (Ju Nen Ho) and the percussion techniques (Ko Da Ho and Kyoku Te Ho) are a unique part of Anma and are not found in any other style.
There is a distinct cultural difference between the Eastern and Western view and values of health and health care. To practice Anma it is important to understand the basics of how Asians view health and institutional health care. The point where illness is defined is substantially different. People in the West, tend to define illness through the diagnosis of a Western doctor/physician. A primary value in Asian culture is that good health and longevity are valued as the most important part of life, with prevention of disease at the foundation of it.
In Western medicine treatment takes place upon the onset of severe symptoms, with little effort made at strengthening the body overall before disease sets in. Rapid recovery is sought (a miracle cure). There is also an over-reliance on doctors and other medical practitioners without much of an understanding that one must be responsible for his or her own health care. Westerners tend to view health as good, unless there are visible symptoms, and then it is bad.
Everyone wishes their health to be perfect, being the ideal that only a few people are given.
To many people, there is no such thing as perfect health, because health is not perfect to start with. It is accepted that most people have some irregularly or genetic defect of the human body. Therefore from the Asian viewpoint trying to achieve balance is the objective, rather than striving for the unachievable "perfect health". In the East, treatment takes place much earlier in the health care process, with medical providers looking towards prevention and early diagnosis as the measure of illness.
In Asian medicine once symptoms appear and are noticeable, the illness is viewed as very advanced . The objective of Asian medicine is to try to diagnose in the early stages before symptoms appear. Treatment is much easier and recovery is quicker. As well, early detection prevents the spreading of illness.