Abdominal Massage and Therapy.
Article from yotsume dojo in Arizona. (2017)
Anpuku means “to ease or calm the Hara”. The Hara being the abdomen or the Tanden. Ryoho means therapy. Anpuku Ryoho can be traced back to the Nara and Heian periods in Japan (710-1185 AD) During the later part of this period Anpuku therapy was called Haratori.
One theory says that Anpuku entered Japan from China at the same time as Acupuncture and other medical arts. A second theory says, it entered on its own separately. Anpuku therapy has always been closely related to Koho Anma, Traditional Japanese Massage, and has always been highly respected.
During the Edo period (1602-1868 AD) Ampuku, Anma and other branches of Oriental medicine reached their peak. Toward the end of this period the Shogunate (Japanese government) made Anma and Anpuku a form of welfare for the blind. This period in conjunction with WWII brought much decline to high level medicine in Japan. Most techniques for curing disease with Ampuku therapy were lost and the art became simple abdominal massage.
After WWII bodywork medicine became one of the primary professions for the blind and schooling now often takes place in schools for the blind. Many anma practitioners in Japan advertised as Anma and Anpuku together and apply techniques very lightly. When working at a true therapeutic level. Techniques are not always pleasant to receive.
During the 1960s many therapists in Japan began researching the old ways of medicine again. During this time, Shizuto Masunaga, the founder of a style of Shiatsu (finger pressure therapy) translated into modern Japanese and published a work on Anpuku called the Anpuku Zukai ( illustrations of Anpuku). This work was written during the Edo period by an Anpuku therapist by the name of Shunsai Ota. This manuscript is now the foundation of modern Anpuku therapy.
(This book was recently translated into English and other languages by Philippe Vandenabeele by Shinzui Bodywork International Institute. Note from Caryn Boyd Diel)
Japanese Medical Views of the Abdominal Region
In Oriental medicine the abdomen (Tanden) is the most important part of the body because the Tanden is the center of Ki (inner life force) and many of the internal organs are housed in this region. In the abdomen there is a point below the navel known as Kikai (Chihai). This means a sea of energy. This point on the body is where a mixture and uniting of different types of Ki occurs. In Taoist influenced medicine and spirituality, there are three types of KI: Tenki – Heaven Energy, Chiki – Earth Energy, and Jinki - human Energy. Heaven energy and Earth energy enter the body at the top of the head and at the bottom of the feet and then they both run into the abdomen and unite at the kikai point to form Jinki (Human Energy).
To quote the oldest medical text in Japan known as the Ishinpo: “When the energies of Heaven and Earth combine Humans are formed”. This is why the region of the abdomen is held in such high regard in Oriental medicine. Anpuku Ryoho (Abdominal Therapy) assists in the clean combination of energies that naturally takes place in the Hara/Tanden. Anpuku therapy is very deeply linked to Fukushin (Abdominal Diagnosis). This diagnosis method became more developed in Japan then in China where is seems to have been replaced with tongue diagnosis. Fukushin consists of various methods for retrieving information from the abdominal region.
The Effects of Anpuku Ryoho Abdominal Therapy
*Releases the congestion of Ki (vital life force)
*Relaxes and detoxifies the internal organs
*Harmonizes the stomach and intestinal functions
*Promotes digestion and elimination
*Smoothes the blood flow and adjusts the pulse
*Opens the joints
*Assists Structural rebalancing
*Replaces the internal organs to their proper locations
*Makes the muscles flexible
*Moistens the skin
*Increases the mental powers
*Strengthens the memory and the body
*Balances the emotions