I recently had a fascinating conversation with Lorna Clansey, an Amatsu practitioner based in London, about her experiences discovering the therapy and how profoundly it has changed her outlook on life.
Lorna had studied to be a life coach in 2006 “I loved it but reached the end of my training but realized it was not the only thing I was going to do. I was looking out for physical therapies that had good scientific credibility as well as the holistic side.” She began exploring the world of complementary medicine but didn’t find anything that grabbed her. “For a lot of these therapies you had to suspend that western medicine disbelief – I was aware that a lot of people would find it difficult to believe in these things.”
It wasn’t until a vacation to Sri Lanka that Lorna had a unique experience courtesy of a chance meeting with an Amatsu practitioner. “I was intrigued by what Helene was doing – I asked her a lot of questions, badgered her about what she did.” Helen explained that even though Lorna was in good health it was a common exercise for people to rotate their big toe – moving that joint could trigger effects in the rest of the body. A group of them tried the exercise and the practitioner remarked that Lorna seemed to be experiencing stiffness in the joint. “I tried to rotate it vigorously after she had gone. Went later the day to lie in a hammock and felt a tightness in my jaw. I usually associated this with stress and couldn’t understand why it was happening.”
She went back to Helene and asked her if this could be related to the exercise she had been doing. Within a few minutes Helene was able to recognise that Lorna’s ankle was out of alignment. “She started to work on me and as she did I could feel the tension begin to drain out of my face. She warned me that I might feel dizzy or drunk afterwards and sent me to get a drink of water. On that walk I realized something fundamental had changed.” Lorna realized just how powerful this technique was – despite the treatment lasting only a few minutes the way she moved felt completely different – strains and stresses she had barely noticed before were suddenly gone. Lorna had found the therapy she had been searching for.
Keen to learn more Lorna asked her about the basis for the practice and how it related to other theories about medicine. “Helen told me it was a blend of Japanese holistic principles merged with a strong basis in western ideas about anatomy and physiology” Lorna had found an approach that embraced the principles of conventional medicine she trusted while still exploring new ideas.
By 2007 Lorna was back in the UK and studying to be an Amatsu practitioner. The therapy is not widely known in Britain but Lorna was extremely pleased with the training she received. “It was a two year part time course. There was a lot of very intensive training plus a huge amount of physiology and anatomy study. We looked into case studies & conducted research reading & homework. This all supplemented the practical training we did in class.” Lorna learned just how powerful Amatsu can be “It’s used to treat pain & loss of movement essentially. Frozen shoulder, knee pain, back hip. Digestive issues. It is a truly holistic therapy.”
The therapy has its roots in Japanese practices dating back over 3000 years and the modern practice incorporates western knowledge of anatomy. “Our pelvis is particularly important – as our center of gravity if other parts of the body are realigned the pelvis can cause them to become misaligned again. I treat people who might have seen physiotherapists, chiropractors and other practitioners but have found their problems keep resurfacing. Amatsu takes the whole body into account rather than just treating the site of pain as this may not be the site of the actual injury.”
Lorna explained how Amatsu can be used to effectively treat conditions like sciatica, back pain and whiplash. Injuries that can cause joints in the body to become misaligned can be very effectively treated using Amatsu. Other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can be treated but it must be done with care to avoid causing flare ups. “The practice looks to create space in the body – where joints may have been rubbing together we aim to create a space to prevent that.”
The therapy isn’t just limited to the treatment sessions though “We also take a greater holistic approach – the lifestyle of the patient is also hugely important. Hydration for example – most of the people I see don’t drink enough water. We encourage people to make wider changes in lifestyle. We have a collaborative approach where we work together. It’s similar to seeing a personal trainer – we both have to put in effort and commitment to see results.”