The sensation of touch is the oldest and most primitive sense we have and perhaps the most vital. The healing power of touch has been recognized for thousands of years. Dating all the way back to 3000 BC, the Chinese gave us the Cong-Fu of the Tao-Tse, the oldest known book written about massage. Starting around 1000 BC, Japanese monks studying Buddhism in China became interested in Chinese medicine. It was not long before the Japanese began to modify Chinese massage techniques. This gave rise to the Japanese massage technique known as Anma, which later developed into Shiatsu. Massage therapy began as a sacred system of natural healing to address injuries, reduce pain, relax anxiety and prevent and cure ailments. Unfortunately, it developed a bad reputation which persisted for long periods of history. Luckily, we have seen a resurgence of massage therapy, and today it remains a highly sought after and respectable healing modality.
There are many forms of massage including Thai, Anma, Shiatsu, Ayurvedic, Sports, Swedish, Jin Shin Jyutsu and Reflexology, to name a few. All of these different massage techniques provide general well being for the recipient. Despite their uniqueness, they all focus on relaxing the muscles and allowing blood and energy to flow more freely.
As a licensed massage therapist, I combine several different modalities, including Anma and Thai, into one cohesive approach.
Anma is over 5,000 years old and focuses on the meridian lines or energy pathways in our bodies. Anma is based on the Taoist philosophy of healing and involves the stimulation of key points, known as Tsubos, to promote the body’s self-curative abilities. Stimulating these Tsubos releases tension and blockages, allowing balance and harmony to be restored. Shiatsu, an offspring of Anma, is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized, rhythmic finger pressure on acupuncture meridians. The goal is to balance the patient’s energy level in order to fortify the organs and boost immunity.
Another massage technique is Thai massage. Like Shiatsu, Thai massage balances the body’s energy by using gentle pressure on specific points as well as postures to improve flexibility and range of motion. It’s like a passive form of yoga; you get the benefits but don’t have to do any of the work! Thai massage has been in existence for over 2,500 years, and originated in India. Thai massage is quite energizing compared to other forms of massage, yet it also effectively invokes a state of serenity and calmness. Thai massage is considered to be the physical application of the word metta, the Thai word for loving kindness, and is understood to be instrumental in healing physical, emotional and spiritual ailments.