Shiatsu & Anma
Shiatsu bodywork was made popular in the twentieth century by Tokujiro Namikoshi (1905–2000), and was derived from the ancient Japanese massage modality called anma, a Japanese style of massage which was developed in 1320 by Akashi Kan Ichi.
Anma was popularised in the seventeenth century by acupuncturist Sugiyama Waichi. Since then, massage in Japan had been strongly associated with the blind.
Sugiyama, blind himself, established a number of medical schools specifically for the blind.
During the Meiji period from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. the arrival of Western medicine reduced anma’s popularity.
Many of its techniques were subsumed into Shiatsu and Western massage practices, although research into anma for medical purposes continues at Tokyo Kyoiku University.
Anma is still practiced alongside Shiatsu in Japan, with practitioners being certified by the health board of their local prefecture.
Shiatsu and Helen Keller
During the Occupation of Japan by the Allies after World War II, traditional medicine practices were banned (along with other aspects of traditional Japanese culture) by General MacArthur.
The ban prevented many of Japan’s blind community from earning a living practising traditional medicine, including Shiatsu.
Enter Helen Keller, the blind-deaf activist for human rights, who was already popular and loved by Japanese people even before the war, and she visited Japan to experience the devastation in Hiroshima.
When traditional medical was banned in 1948, the blind Shiatsu practitioners reached out to Keller and appealed to her for help.
Helen Keller contacted President Truman directly, and he eventually removed the ban on practising traditional medical in Japan, thereby allowing the blind Shiatsu practitioners to earn a living again.
ARE YOU A SHIATSU PRACTITIONER, OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE ONE? WHY NOT JOIN THE SHIATSU SOCIETY OF IRELAND?
There are many benefits from becoming a Shiatsu Practitioner, both as a practitioner and as a client of Shiatsu.
If you are interested in becoming a Shiatsu practitioner, or if you are already, why not join the Shiatsu Society of Ireland to receive regular newsletters and update, tips from other Shiatsu Practitioners, and join us for regular meet ups and online talks to benefit your practice.
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