Anma Origins and Philosophy 

Anma (or Anmo as it was called in China) was thought to have originated on the India subcontinent before being transplanted into China. Anmo was held in high regard as a healing modality and was used throughout China for many decades. Eventually Chinese warrior monks traveled throughout the North and South of Korea carrying this healing knowledge and eventually reached Japan where it was passed onto Japanese healers. Anma (An = push, Ma = pull as applied to the human body) as it became to be known in Japan fitted in well with the Japanese Shinto belief and was highly regarded as a superior healing modality. It quickly became entrained with Japanese culture and beliefs where it remains unto this day. This healing method was eventually superseded by traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in China and was lost in the mists of time, forgotten by Chinese culture. Fortunately, that is not the case in Japanese culture.

As mentioned, Anma fitted in well with the Japanese Shinto beliefs. This belief was used to distinguish indigenous Japanese beliefs from Buddhism and Confucianism which were introduced into Japan around the 6th century. Shinto beliefs arose from the general populace and how the viewed and explained the world around them. They believed in balance and harmony between everything and that spirits (Kami) guided and supported the people in their everyday lives. The spirits (Kami) cannot be wholly explained or understood as they transcend the cognitive capability of humans. Their belief gave rise to a circular theory of death and rebirth to allow the person to attain spiritual awakening. It is, generally, the sincere attitude of people in doing their best in the work they have chosen or in their relationships with others, and the ultimate source of such a life attitude lies in one’s awareness of the divine. In ancient scriptures this belief was described as magokoro which was interpreted as bright and pure mind or bright, pure, upright, and sincere mind. Purification, both physical and spiritual, is stressed even in contemporary Shinto to reduce such a state of mind. The achievement of this state of mind is necessary in order to make communion between kami and humans possible and to enable individuals to accept the blessing of Kami.

Modern Shinto supports the eternal development of history as well as the eternity of the dynasty. From the viewpoint of finite individuals, Shintõists also stress naka-ima (“middle present”), which repeatedly appears in the imperial edicts of the 8th century. According to this point of view, the present moment is the very centre in the middle of all conceivable times. In order to participate directly in the eternal development of the world, it is required of Shintõists to live fully each moment of life, making it as worthy as possible.