Amma massage is a type of massage therapy which is rooted in ancient Eastern medicinal techniques, although many practitioners also integrate some techniques from Western bodywork as well. This massage technique is suitable for people in varying degrees of physical condition, since it can be easily adapted to meet the needs of specific body types. Many Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners offer Amma massage, and some spas and massage studios also make Amma massage available. Some hospitals and therapy centers also keep a massage therapist on staff for clients who would like to supplement their medical treatments with Amma massage.
In Chinese, am-ma means “push-pull.” Various forms of massage and bodywork have been practiced in China for thousands of years, and many of these ancient techniques continue to be used to this day. The goal of Amma massage is to balance the flow of energy in the client's body, promoting a feeling of general good health and also addressing specific medical conditions which may be troubling the client.
Unlike most schools of Western massage, Amma massage also includes nutritional advice, herbal therapies, and other suggestions for improving the client's health. A session typically starts with a conversation between therapist and client, in which the therapist uses TCM diagnostic techniques to learn about the patient. As client and therapist talk, the therapist observes the client's body language, asks probing questions, and takes note of the client's general physical condition, paying attention to things like smell and the coating on the patient's tongue.
During the session, the client wears loose clothing or a robe and lies on a table. The massage therapist uses a range of techniques and massage strokes to perform deep tissue manipulation and to stimulate the flow of energy in the client. Therapists rely heavily on the pressure points of the body, manipulating specific points or regions to treat particular issues. At the end of the session, the client should feel more relaxed and balanced.
If you are considering an Amma massage session, it is a good idea to talk to the therapist about where he or she trained. If you are interested in herbal treatments and lifestyle recommendations, you may want to consider going to a TCM practitioner, while people who merely want to experience the varied techniques of a push-pull massage can go to a regular massage therapist who has experienced some training in Amma massage.