Japanese massage

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  1. Introduction to Japanese massage
  2. History of Anma
  3. How Anma massage works
  4. Scientific study of Anma



Japanese massageNihon kaifuku Anma is a form of tradition Japanese massage. When people think of massage in Japan they usually think of Shiatsu, in fact Shiatsu is part of Nihon kaifuku Anma.

Anma means massage therapist or massage in Japanese. The most famous Anma is a fictional character called Zatoichi who features in a series of films.

Zatoichi is a blind, nomadic, massage therapist, gambler and a master swordsman. Many real life Anma are also blind and nomadic.

History of Anma


Anma massage started in China 3000 years ago and brought to Japan around 1300 years ago.

Ishinpo was the first medical text to record the techniques of Anma in 984. Despite this, Anma was disregarded as folk medicine; it was only until the Edo period that the attitude towards Anma started to change.

Fast forward to today and Anma massage is one of the most popular therapies in Japan.

Anma is unusual because the therapist massages the client with their clothes on and no kind of lubricants are needed.

How Anma massage works


Anma massage works of the theory that Qi spelt ki in Japanese flows through the body in certain areas, when these areas are stimulated it helps the body to become healthier and improves the flow of qi. There are several techniques in anma massage
  • Koda Ho Percussion techniques
  • Undo Ho Exercises and movement therapy
  • Kyokute Ho Special percussion techniques
  • Junen Ho Kneading techniques
  • Keisatsu Ho Light stroking techniques
  • Appaku Ho Pressure techniques
  • Haaku Ho Squeezing and gripping techniques
  • Shinsen Ho Vibration techniques

Scientific study of Anma


In Japan they conducted a study to test the mental and physical effects of Anma massage.

For the study they used fifteen women in their fifties, with muscle stiffness in the shoulder and neck. They were divided into two groups, group A were given an 40 minute of Anma massage followed by 40 minutes of rest, this order was reversed for group B.

The results showed that Anma massage reduced anxiety levels of the women and also reduced muscle stiffness in the shoulder neck.

The results are hardly a surprise, it is just scientific conformation of what many people are aware of already.

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