AMMA THERAPY: A Unique Massage From Ancient Asia

Amma, meaning push-pull, is an ancient Asian word to describe massage. Amma is one of the massage branches of traditional Chinese medicine. This form of bodywork is based on the principles of Chinese medicine and is more than 5,000 years old. A derivative of Amma, Amma Therapy was developed by Tina Sohn in the 1960’s. Amma therapy is a different type of massage that pays attention to the more subtle vibrations of the human body. It focuses on the balance and movement of energy.

Relaxing Massage
I welcome my guest, Vivian Menjivar, LMT, Dipl.ABT, with a private practice in Westchester County, New York and Greece.

Can you briefly explain the type of massage you practice and why someone might choose to try this particular massage technique?

I practice Amma Therapy which is one of the Massage branches of Chinese Medicine. It is very effective in treating most ailments from a tight muscle to cancer. I work to move stagnation of Qi in the body, unblocking the flow, bringing the energy body back into balance. I start by sometimes massaging the neck and shoulders. Qi moves the blood and lymph and if the Qi is blocked in some way from emotional, physical or mental stagnation, the client may experience pain, dysfunction and eventually disease. By moving Qi, I am also helping my client raise their vibration. When Qi is stuck the energy vibrates at a low vibration which has been correlated with infection, diseases, viruses, and cancer. By moving this energy the body goes back into balance thereby allowing the body to vibrate optimally, and disease patterns may cease to exist.

In your opinion, what makes a good massage therapist or massage practitioner?

In my opinion, a good massage therapist is a good listener and can really listen to what the body is saying. I became clairsentient after doing many massages and listening to the body. This way you can address whatever needs to be addressed without the need for many words.

What is your philosophy on health and healing?

I believe that healing is a journey. It is a journey for both practitioner and client. I believe the practitioner will work on clients they need to learn from for their own healing. I also believe the client will seek out the practitioner they are most ready for in their healing evolution. Healing doesn’t always mean the client doesn’t die, it may mean that the client needed to release some energy or belief system to re-attain balance and allow the divine wisdom of the body to work optimally again. I believe health is an ongoing journey of constantly working on balancing the physical, emotional mental and spiritual parts of ourselves.

Can you share with us one really significant transformation you witnessed as a result of the work you do?

I was working on a woman who had ovarian cancer for the 4th time. She had been going thru the chemo, radiation and surgeries for the last 6 years. She came to me sort of as a last resort. She had heard of me and Amma Therapy through a friend she had met in a support group. The first session I listened a lot and did very little bodywork. I did, however, give her some affirmations to do over the area where her uterus was. Her second session I did a bit more bodywork, and she started telling me how she had more energy. The third session I did more bodywork and just focused love over her belly where the cancer was. I felt a rush of energy go thru me, she felt the same. I then went away on vacation. While away, she emailed me telling me she went for another cat scan and no cancer could be found. The tumor was gone and she thanked me. I know it wasn’t me, I did know however that love has this ability to heal and raise the vibration.

Why did you choose the profession of Massage Therapy as a career?

I was actually planning to go to school to become a Creative Arts Therapist. I was finishing up my degree in psychology and did a semester at Marymount College. While there, I did a research paper on the human potential movement with a focus on bodywork. I research all types of bodywork from Reiki to Rolfing. I realized this was the best and most effective way to release affect (emotions). Emotions get stored in the body in bands of tension which cause pain and also stick to fascia (connective tissue) causing adhesions in the body. I realized I could work more effectively doing bodywork and incorporating creative arts in my practice than with psychology alone. I fell in love with Chinese medicine in Massage School and continued on to complete my degree in Amma Therapy.