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Amma

“Calm through touch” – the literal translation of two Chinese characters we now translate as “massage” in the English language. Introduced to Japan roughly 1500 years ago by Chinese masters, massage as a healing practice was adopted quickly. They called it Amma. Hugely popular across Japan, Amma was institutionalized as an occupation in the mid – 18th century and practiced almost exclusively by the blind. Even today, approximately 50% of the Amma practitioners in Japan are blind.

Better known in North America today is Shiatsu massage, a lesser application of the full Amma technique, which became popular after the Second World War. With strong marketing efforts and a focus on healing, Shiatsu took centre stage in North America with true Amma left as an unfamiliar technique outside of Japan.

Based on the founding principles of Chinese medicine, specifically the need to balance energy channels in the body, Amma massage brings a truly holistic approach to well-being. An Amma massage, direct pressure is applied to the body’s acupressure points with rhythm and intensity, providing deep relaxation and muscular release, with an increase in energy and vitality. Techniques include stretching, pressure, movements and sophisticated percussions that are quite difficult to master.  Unlike some other massage types, Amma is performed through a cloth, sheets, or clothes and involves no nudity, no oil, and no cream.  In accordance with Japanese principles, Amma is seen as a kata, which promotes the flowing of the energy in the body.

The objective of Amma is to correct physical, emotional or mental imbalances thereby promoting energy and blood circulation in the body.  To achieve that, deep pressure to the muscles is key to achieving balance.  So whether your objective is to targets muscles or to gain energy, Amma is a great choice for everyone– try it and you’ll fall in love!