Amma Therapy Q & A

amma therapy

“I love receiving Amma because it is so well-rounded, I feel like it touches on all aspects of my wellness.  In one session I get the benefits of acupuncture without the needles, a relaxing and therapeutic massage, a nutrition consultation and a Chinese medicine diagnosis.  It is a holistic and very digestible approach to health care.” 
– Michelle E. Read, LMT & Amma Therapy Client

We’ve been working on getting the word out to the Portland community about the incredible new modality in town, Amma Therapy. So far, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback and we are very excited to launch our first official Portland program.

Our planned start date is August 21st, 2013. Classes for this program will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It’s not too late to apply, but get those applications in by July 22nd!

In the interim, we thought we’d share some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about the program.

Q: I’ve been looking at different massage programs and The Wellspring School’s Amma Therapy program comes up as one option to become certified and practice as an LMT in Oregon. How does the Amma Therapy program differ from other massage programs?

Rylen Feeney

A: The Wellspring School is approved as a massage school in the state of Oregon by the Oregon Department of Education. However, we are more like a “boutique” massage school, from both curriculum and class format perspectives.

Our curriculum is academically rigorous and includes more than 1046 class hours in which students definitely receive the requisite training to work as an LMT. However, our focus is really more as a wholistic health program that covers a lot more than technique and body structure. We are 100% dedicated to preserving the ancient Korean bodywork form called Amma Therapy. This means a program that encompasses Asian bodywork (Amma Therapy), wholistic nutrition, tai chi, meditation, qigong, Chinese medicine theory, tongue & pulse diagnosis, herbs and more.

We are a small school, taking a maximum of 16 students per group in an apprenticeship style. We believe in a true hands-on experience that allows students the opportunity to work closely with instructors, ask questions, receive corrections and get real experience they need to be successful as practitioners. We also believe in the continued development of our students and our program really encourages each person to realize their own potential.

Q: Amma Therapy doesn’t seem to be very well known in Oregon. Will that be a benefit or detriment to someone working as an Amma Therapy practitioner in the state?

Time will really tell what the future will bring for Amma Therapy in Oregon. Portland is a welcome community for complementary health care practices and its inhabitants seem always willing and curious to try “new” things. Awareness of Amma Therapy continues to grow as we train and graduate more practitioners in the area. From a pure business perspective it is always good to have a practice that is distinct and differentiates itself from others. We think Amma Therapy really offers that to those wanting to grow a strong practice.

As a modality, Amma Therapy is incredibly compelling and resonates well with clients. In our experience, once someone receives Amma Therapy, they are hooked. It is a truly profound healing art and people are often blown away at the results they experience when receiving Amma Therapy regularly.

The nice thing is that Amma doesn’t really compete with regular massage therapy forms – it is deeply satisfying and yet energetic. It directly affects the energetic system. Another point to make is that although Amma can and is used for relaxation and musculoskeletal problems, people also see Amma Therapists for relief from digestion problems, hormone imbalances, autoimmune conditions, mood balancing, neurological symptoms, fertility, cancer recovery, colds, flu and allergies. As a result we can and do practice a broader complementary form of healthcare than that which is typically thought of as massage therapy.

An Amma Therapist is a great addition to any existing Acupuncture, Naturopathy, or massage practice. Our program, although long, is also a great way for already existing LMT’s to deepen and specializing their practice in a way that will really set them apart in the field.

Q: I’ve seen descriptions that Amma Therapy is like acupuncture but without the needles. If I am interested in studying Chinese Medicine, will Amma Therapy give me as much of a foundation as acupuncture?

A skilled and experienced Amma Therapist practices in a manner very similar to an Acupuncturist, addressing similar conditions. From our vantage point, the Amma program gives students visibility into the heart of Chinese Medicine. It was founded on the same principles of Chinese Medicine and much of what one learns in the Amma program is similar to what students learn in acupuncture school.

However, Acupuncturists have an additional 1200-1800 hours of study in their programs and it seems today’s Acupuncturist is on the fast track to becoming more of a primary care provider. Acupuncturists study a lot more western biosciences, herbs, pathology, and needling skills and training than does Amma Therapy graduate.

The Amma Therapy program is more equivalent to the training of “old school” acupuncture. It is deeply rooted in the philosophy, the practitioner development, the “art” of diagnosis and treatment, do no harm and folk medicine. Our program does not train students to become primary care providers. Instead, we focus on what we feel are some of the best forgotten or lost parts of Chinese Medicine that is often not covered in today’s Acupuncture schools.

We believe that touch is crucial to the healing process and often body centered modalities such as Amma Therapy can sometimes be more effective than needles.

Q: From its description to all of the comments from practitioners, clients and students, you talk about the Amma program being transformational. What does that mean?

We strongly believe that to be an effective practitioner or Amma Therapist you must have a strong sense of personal development. As an Amma Therapy student at The Wellspring School, you are required to do more than show up for class and get good grades. We give you tools and training to improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. This self-development allows you to be clear and focus 100% of your attention on your clients. It also lends an authenticity to your practice that is tangible and allows your clients to confidently follow in your footsteps to achieve faster and more effective healing results.

Graduates of the Amma Therapy program consistently remark that Amma became more than a career, it became a way of life. Most agree that the program was transformational in some way to their own wellbeing as well as their clients.

Q: How can Amma Therapy complement other modalities within holistic healthcare, e.g. LAc’s, ND’s, other LMT’s, etc.

Amma is different enough as a modality that it works well in tandem with other complementary health practices. For LAc’s it is nice to be able to speak the “same” language (Chinese Medicine). An Amma Therapist is also great to have on hand at an Acupuncture clinic for clients who maybe needle phobic. I think it is a distinct enough a practice to work well with within any group practice or clinic. Amma Therapists, typically have more training in nutrition than many other complementary practitioners. Amma can help clients feel more at ease, as they spend a significant time with each client. Amma is a body “centered” approach this allows for more immediate and deeper integration of healing on all levels. This makes the Amma Therapist a fantastic partner in healing with other modalities.

Q: I have a lot going on and can’t put everything on hold for my education. How well does your Amma Therapy program mesh with a busy life?

Amma classes take place two days a week over the course of approximately two years, allowing most people plenty of time to work and attend to the other commitments they have in life. While two years may seem like a long time to study, we believe the two years is crucial to learn this art as it was meant to be studied and promote the inner development necessary to transform into a proficient skilled practitioner with heart. Most students feel like it is a big commitment up front. However, by the end of their two years with us, most tell us it went by too fast!

If you want to see more questions answered about the program or read an in depth article on the modality, click here.

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