What Amma Therapy is, and why we need to continue the lineage.

As some of you may have read in our December newsletter, we have been reaching out to Amma Therapy instructors, practitioners, and patients, to collect their insights on what Amma Therapy has meant to them, and why it is important to preserve this lineage healing art. We received more inspiring, moving, and powerful responses than we could fit into the newsletter, so we compiled many of them here.

If you have been wondering what Amma Therapy  is and how it might impact your own life and the life of those you care for, read on!

“I will tell you what Dr. Sohn said to me what was a lifetime ago – Amma is a means to practice Karma yoga. Karma yoga is “discipline of action” – it is a path towards self-realization through the act of helping others without concern for ones own personal likes and dislikes.

It needs to be practiced the way it was taught, without deviation, in order for the therapist to achieve a Higher Reality within themselves. That’s why lineage is important.” Faye Schenkman, CAT, LMT, Dipl. ABT & CH (NCCAOM), 1st generation instructor and practitioner.

“Amma has been a true vocation, a way of life and a wholistic perspective more than just a highly refined technique. My training was an intense container for growth and a rite of passage into being a responsible adult and self-aware health professional. Though few people know what a Certified Amma Therapist is or means, it is a special and rare designation of dedicated, skilled, and truly wholistic clinicians.  Amma has deeply embedded in me a clarity about the nature of wholism and reductionism in healthcare, of the great responsibility to embody self-awareness, maturity and vitality, and be a model for my patients who walks the talk before speaking.

As an acupuncturist of 16 years experience, I am clear that Amma therapy is no less effective a modality than acupuncture or any other healing system. In short, Amma has helped shape who I am as a person and clinician, and set my bar high for excellence and personal mastery.

Amma must continue because it is the present embodiment of an ancient and royal lineage of healing. It is a healing gift to humanity worth preserving. Amma, ultimately, is a container that transforms both practitioner and patient, to their mutual benefit and the benefit of those around them. Having trained many thousands of students and clinicians nationally over the past 19 years, I can say with confidence that the depth of Amma training—as a philosophy and set of principles, a way of life and a healing system—is quite rare. The lineage must continue because people are generally sicker and weaker with each passing decade, and because self-aware, emotionally mature, physically resilient and technically skilled practitioners of a dependable, proven healing art create some of the greatest positive change in the world.” Michael Gaeta, DAc, MS, CDN

Faye, Kim & Rylen

“Amma, in its wholism, has provided me and those close to me a formula for optimal living. It provides guidance in posture, nutrition, exercise, and emotional stability. In so doing, Amma helps us establish a baseline for being at our best.” Joyce Barker, LMT/BPS Amma Therapy/BFRP/YUSA Faculty Trainer (CA)

“Amma Therapy teaches us to feel, first with our fingers, and then with our hearts, mind, and intuition. It teaches us true compassion and we seek to minimize the patients’ suffering.

The importance lies in the higher level, gifts, and principles from which Amma Therapy was created. By continuing the lineage, we preserve the ancestry of the teachings and have this on which to build our own experience.” Kim Rosado, LAc, Certified Amma Therapist and AOBTA Certified Instructor, NY

“Amma was instrumental in helping me get my body back into balance after a difficult miscarriage and to center both my mind and body so that it was in place to deliver a healthy child. I can’t say enough about how incredibly restorative it is to integrate traditional Chinese medicine with a healing touch – it has been a lifesaver for me. It’s important for the lineage to continue because it is the only practice I know of to so thoroughly incorporate hands-on healing practices with traditional Chinese medicine.  A heavenly combination”  J. S., Patient, Portland, OR

“As an RN & graduate of the Amma Therapy program, I am grateful to the teachers who were so dedicated to bringing this complete healing modality to our profession. As a practitioner of Amma Therapy, I appreciate that this remarkable tradition continues.” Beth Riley, RN, BPS Certified Nurse Amma Therapist (NY)

“Amma therapy has helped me be more aware of or in tune with my own body. I hope Amma therapy thrives because I feel it can help people in all states of disharmony.” Kris, patient, Portland, OR

“If you could treat all the delegates at the UN, there would be world peace.” Felice D., patient, NY.

“My training and practice are in Western medicine, so the science and art of Amma therapy are beyond my full understanding, however, the results are indisputable. My experience with Amma thrapy is both personal and professional. I have observed the benefits in my patients whose symptoms or medication side effects have fully resolved and personally found it to be the key therapy that allowed me to sail through cancer treatment.” Kay Gage, PMHNP

“Learning Amma therapy has done so much more than enhance my career as a nurse, it has shaped my life. Amma has lead me on a path of holistic health that has not only influenced me but has helped my patients, family, friends, and community.” Nancy Mishanie, Holistic Therapist, RN, NY

“Having experienced a variety of treatment modalities, I think that Amma Therapy feels more comprehensive.  It literally puts me IN my entire body, connects me to my body in a way that recruits my awareness as well as my body’s own strengths to balance weaknesses.

I believe that Amma also seems very grounded in maintaining a wellness perspective, rather than chasing after problems.  That perspective is important to cultivate for long term health and well being.”  C K  Sage, patient (ID)

“Amma therapy has been more of a way of life than just a bodywork modality. Quite simply it is the most important element in my life using what I learned to keep myself healthy and thriving, and being able to have a positive lasting effect on my patients and loved ones. I do not know of any other bodywork modality that is so comprehensive in its scope and I am so pleased that the Wellspring School is still offering a program in Amma therapy. Being the only school dedicated in the country to teaching Amma therapy, I actually moved from NY to Portland to teach to help keep this amazing art alive.” Michael Guida, LMT, Certified Amma Practitioner, Lead Amma Instructor at the Wellspring School for Healing Arts.

“Amma Therapy has helped to make me run again when I thought I could not. It has helped me bend again and be more aware of or in tune with my own body. Other therapies were not as comprehensive. I hope Amma Therapy thrives because I feel it can help people in all states of disharmony.” Kris Allen, (patient NY)

“The level of understanding of the body from an energetic perspective allows one to heal not only symptoms, but the root cause. I was diagnosed with lupus at the age of 20 in 1992.  Because of my education through The Wellspring, I have created a life of rich health and balance-lupus free. My career as an Amma therapist has been very fulfilling for me, financially and as a way to be a voice for self-empowerment for each individual who I work with.” Michele Casey, ABT, CMT, 1999 graduate of the Wellspring School

“Amma has meant many things to me. It is an art form that revolutionized my life on physical, mental and emotional levels. Amma means helping people heal that have found no other solutions for their health care needs. Amma means love to me and the many people in my clinic. Amma means healing.

Amma in an ancient Healing Art practiced for generation upon generation. We live in a world where Western Medicine is new and ever changing, and ever increasingly specialized in the function of only the human body. Amma is a long-standing modality, that encourages and helps people work within their own body and system to help the body heal itself. Amma combines the spirit, the mind and the body in healing so that a full healing on all levels results. Amma is self-empowering. Amma is the art of moving Qi with ones hands, to loose that ability and that knowledge would be to surrender the humans given ability to heal not only themselves, but also help others heal themselves as well.” Tyra Burgess, Certified Amma Therapist, 2005 graduate of the Wellspring School

“Amma has been pivotal in ending my nearly decade-old struggle with chronic tonsillitis. I have been amazed by the power Amma has had in my life and feel so fortunate that this ancient wisdom is being preserved and shared.”  Andy McFarlane. patient, OR

“Learning Amma Therapy has done so much more than enhance my career as a nurse, it has shaped my life. Amma has lead me on a path of holistic health that has not only influenced me but has helped my patients, family, friends and community.

Continuing the legacy of Tina and Robert Sohn by teaching Amma Therapy has the potential to promote profound healing.” Nancy Mishanie, Holistic Therapist-RN, North Shore University Hospital, NY

To me, Amma has meant healing.  At the age of 16 I injured my lower back dancing.  Continuing to dance only made things worse.  I made it another year and a half before a doctor mentioned “back surgery.”  That was all I had to hear to finally stop dancing.  I lived in pain for nine years.  About a year ago, I began seeing an Amma therapist two times a week for about three months.  Thanks to the different techniques and tools an Amma therapist uses I can very happily say I am now pain freeDanielle .A (patient) (NY)

“When I was 21 and a health crisis was destroying my life, I was finding my way back with natural methods. Then, when I experienced Amma Therapy through Tina Sohn’s hands, I knew this was what I wanted to do. Amma and its principles have been the foundation of my life and practice ever since and I thank all who continue to share their knowledge and skills with their patients and more generations of students.” Rev Leslie Martin Celadhan, AOS-LMT, Certified Amma Therapist, InterFaith Minister, Chaplain

“Experiencing Amma is a refreshing reminder that healing can be achieved through natural means. It is a lineage art that draws from a variety of teaching and principals, reflecting a unique approach to Chinese Medicine. It is effective, painless and empowering.” Tyler Price, Portland OR

“I started the Amma program wanting to help people, what it really did was teach me how to take care of myself.  It provides a way for me to make meaningful connections with others and lead by example.

The Amma lineage needs to continue because I have never had a massage as powerful and effective as this one.  Amma truly has the power to change your life.” Aaron Noleen, Certified Amma Therapist, 1995 graduate of the Wellspring School

“Amma therapy has had an incredibly positive effect on my health and general well being. I began receiving Amma Therapy a couple of years ago and through the course may treatments, my practitioner has provided a wealth of information about nutrition, worked with me to discover food intolerances, helped alleviate my allergies and balance my menstrual cycle.  I have much gratitude for this wisdom of Amma Therapy and feel strongly that it’s preservation is critical.” Katie M., patient, OR

“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

“The practice of Amma Therapy is the very fabric of my life. It allows me to work with amazing human beings everyday and to facilitate and witness transformation as they embrace their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical wholeness. After practicing for 21 years I can’t imagine any other practice that could be so engaging, or more fulfilling. Amma taught me clarity of intent, in that my treatments and success with clients is dependant upon that clarity. Amma demands that I be present in mind and body every single day. What a truly precious gift.

Profoundly authentic traditional healing arts, such as Amma Therapy are becoming lost – it is my life’s work and greatest desire to continue to train practitioners in the art of Amma Therapy as it was taught to me and those before me.” Rylen Lee Feeney, BA, LMT, Certified Amma Therapist, Dipl. ABT & CH (NCCAOM) Certified Instructor (AOBTA) Founder and Director of Education at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts.

For more information about our professional Amma Therapy training program, click here.



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Offering comprehensive training in Amma Bodywork Therapy, Wholistic Health, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wholistic Nutrition & Movement Arts since 1995.