In our blog post on Asian male massage, we listed Japanese Nuru massage as one variety of Asian massage. But are there any other types of of Japanese massage? And what are the differences between them? In this blog post, we will try to answer these questions so you would know what therapist to look for when you feel like trying something new.
Anma means simply, “massage”. It’s a traditional Japanese massage practice, which relies on pressure (“An”) and rubbing (“Ma”), in addition to tapping and shaking. It is quite an energetic form of massage, and relies of seven core techniques. The Japanese may have adapted Anma massage either from the Indian ayurvedic tradition or from ancient Chinese massage. Anma practitioners work on arms, legs, back and neck. It is a spiritual as well as a physical therapy.
You may have seen the word ‘Shiatsu’ before. The literal translation of this word is “finger pressure”. It’s a contemporary form of Japanese massage, which evolved from Anma. The main difference between the two is that Shiatsu masseurs apply pressure in a less sudden way, slowly working up the amount of pressure. They use their fingers, thumbs and palms. The masseur might also use his elbows to massage. In Japan, Shiatsu is considered a form of medical treatment, and is used to treat a variety of illnesses.
Ashi means “foot” and atsu means “pressure”. A Japanese male massage practitioner, delivering Ashiatsu, would knead you using his feet! The idea is that the pressure should be less intense than the sharp elbow knead of Shiatsu. This kind of massage is usually performed on a massage table rather than a more traditional massage mat. It is so because although Ashiatsu originates from Shiatsu, it is a western form of Japanese massage. Variants can also be called “barefoot massage” or “gravity assisted massage”.
- You can see a video of male-to-male Ashiatsu being performed here.