What are Anma and Anpuku?
The “Anma” and “Anpuku” are traditional arts of bodywork therapy, originating in traditional Chinese medicine, dating 5000 years ago. Their current format developed about 500 years ago in Japan, where they received their separate definitions (Anma and Anpuku). From the Chinese Anmo developed the Japanese Anma, and the Anpuku developed in Japan and an early form of it called Haratori from the Heiian period (794 CE-1185 CE).
Anma means to press (An) and to rub (Ma). It is known worldwide as one of the first methods of touch therapy, from which developed later on Shiatsu, Tuina and more. The Anma is a traditional healing method, practiced through meridians, muscles and tendons, using unique manual techniques.
The first Japanese Kanji AN, in this context means holding and investigating. FUKU, the second character represents abdomen, hara and stomach . It is a bodywork healing art based on abdominal palpation and Hara diagnosis, addressing with manual hands- on techniques the abdomen, the chest, and their relationship.
The Japanese believe that abdomen diagnosis should come prior to the radial pulse diagnosis – as everything originates from the center, the ‘soft belly’, the “Hara”.
Current day theories contribute to the existence of a “second brain” residing in that area, functioning both physiologically and emotionally.
The Anpuku treatment is a dynamic one, and is done using different techniques of pressing and pulling, the Japanese art of tapping and energetic strokes called “Suren-Koda Ho”, and other various manual techniques. The techniques are chosen according to the patient’s needs, his physical and emotional state.
Combining these methods (Anma and Anpuku) is suitable for treating both adults and children with a wide range of medical problems: respiratory problems, digestive problems, gynecological and fertility problems, skin problems, emotional difficulties, stress and anxiety, dryness and excessive sweating, musculature and nerve problems.
The treatments are effective in the case of pregnant women, and can be done starting from week 12. They include physical and emotional support and can improve both the mother’s and the fetus’s quality of life, while preparing the body for labor in an optimal way.
Dr. Doan Kaneko has been an investigator and developer of Anma and Anpuku for 50 years now. It is through him I’ve acquired my knowledge and practice of these methods, and he accompanies me to this day.
Dr. Kaneko comes from a family of Anma and Shiatsu practitioners and has dedicated his life to the healing arts of the body and spirit, which for him are a way of life. He was a pupil of Dr. Serizawa, who is considered the leading authority in the field of Eastern medicine in Japan and has founded an academy for Anma studies.
During the 60’s and 70’s Dr. Kaneko combined various treatment methods and styles. Upon moving to New-York he began developing his own personal style, and created the Anma-Shiatsu style, which emphasizes the abdomen Anma.
In Israel, Dr. Kaneko’s path was followed by one of his pupils – Nir Levi, who graduated from his studies with Kaneko in 1992, and became a teacher at his school.
Upon returning to Israel he founded the Anma-Ampuku school for the arts of touch, and continued his practice in Israel for 13 years. He was my first teacher of Anpuku and Anma.
Later on, my direct contact with Kaneko greatly supported me as I was translating the traditional Anpuku teachings and writing my first book: “Touching the Hara”, based on the original “Anpuku Zukai” by Ota Shinsai from the late Edo period (1827).