Amma Therapy – What's in a Lineage? Part 3
Amma Therapy -What’s in a Lineage? Part III
We received such positive feedback on the initial two-part series that we decided to keep going! This time we continued the discussion with Michael Guida, LMT (#19016), Certified Amma Therapist, Diplomate Asian Bodywork Therapy (NCCAOM #153749), Certified Wholistic Nutritionist, T’ai Chi Instructor, Certified Triathlon Coach. Michael has been an Amma Therapy practitioner for more than 20 years. Here’s what he had to say!
Q: What does it mean to you to be a part of a lineage based healing art?
For me one of the special aspects of a lineage based healing art, in this case, Amma Therapy, is the combination of the traditional aspects of Chinese Medicine with the experience and wisdom of our teachers. It is one thing to get information from books and to study the mechanics of a technique. It is really powerful when you add in the experiences of your teacher as you begin to apply what you are learning in a classroom setting. In a lineage art, there is a direct connection to the teacher that is truly unique. It is a connection that links each generation of students and teachers.
Q: You have been student, teaching assistant, practitioner and instructor in relation to Amma Therapy. How did each role shape the next? Were there any specific “aha’s” or takeaways from any/all of these stages?
Each stage was really a natural progression to next. You are exposed to essentially the same material, but in each role you see it through a different lense. This allows you to absorb and learn the material in a more complex way and create a deeper connection.
When I graduated from the program, becoming a teaching assistant was a great way to deepen my understanding and more firmly integrate the information I’d received as a student. Working with students and exploring an even broader spectrum of client scenarios and situations one would never find in a textbook. This cultivated a deeper understanding of how to apply Amma Therapy.
The continued access to instructors during this time established bonds that I still have today. This has proven invaluable in evolving my practice as well as in teaching.
Q: What’s different about Amma Therapy vs. other modalities for you?
I often see other Asian styles of bodywork taught in schools as simply a series of techniques, with not much else behind it. A main part of learning Amma Therapy is focused on self-development and becoming more aware of our environment. This includes nutrition, movement, meditation, breathing, etc. Amma Therapy can actually be a lifestyle for the practitioner. Amma Therapy and what I learned in the program is infused in all that I do. It has been a way of life for me for more than 20 years.
Q: As a lineage holder within Amma Therapy, what do you feel is important to impart to your students?
I really enjoy seeing the evolution of the students from when they first start the program to the end of their two years with us. We ask a lot of our students so that they can become well-rounded practitioners and maintain their own health (on all levels). We hold space for them to do the self-work and reflection that is integral to the practice and to their wellbeing. I would encourage students to continue a practice of self-reflection, maintaining a beginner’s mind and staying curious. Completing the program doesn’t mean you are “done.” Hopefully it is just the beginning of each student’s journey to learn more about Chinese Medicine, Amma Therapy and themselves. I’d tell them that each time I revisit a concept I’ve learned within Amma Therapy, I discover there is always something new to learn.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to prospective students?
When I first entered the program, over 20 years ago, I did it without the idea of making it a “career.” I wanted to empower myself to learn about health and how the body worked so I would not have Western medicine as my only go to in a health crisis. I fell in love with the learning, working with other people to help them get well, and keeping myself healthy in the process. I honestly felt that after I graduated, if I had not treated one client as an Amma Therapist, it was still time well spent. I learned so much in the Amma Program that, to this day, it continues to serve me perfectly
If you want to engage in something that allows you the space for ongoing personal development and the opportunity to grow as much as your clients, you’ll find that with Amma Therapy and the program.
The next Amma Therapy program starts January 20th, 2016. Currently enrolling. Apply now!