Tui Na (pronounced twee-nah), or Chinese massage therapy, is one of four main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It dates back to around 2700BC, making it the forefather of all forms of massage and body work.
How does Tui Na work?
Tui Na differs from other forms of massage in that it treats specific illnesses of an internal nature as well as musculoskeletal aliments. Your Tui Na practitioner must have a thorough understanding of TCM in order to make a Chinese diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan for your specific condition.
Tui Na methods include the use of hand techniques (tui: pushing and na: holding and an: pressing and mo: rubbing) to massage soft tissue. Acupressure techniques (yi zhi chan tui: one finger meditation) and (gun: rolling) to directly affect the flow of Qi and Blood.
What does Tui Na treat?
Tui Na can be effective in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions like tennis elbow, cervical spondylosis, frozen shoulder, chronic and acute lumbar sprain.
What to expect during a treatment
Tui Na is traditionally done through clothing although touching the skin and using oil is also possible. As with acupuncture, diagnosis by tongue and pulse and a complete history will be required to work out a treatment plan.
Cupping is used to remove stagnant blood or qi. This will result in circular bruising the first time it is applied. Normally the ring mark and bruise will fade within the week and each subsequent treatment will be longer but with less bruising.
Moxibustion, as the name implies, is treatment by heat. There are several types; some are very smelly and smoky, others are smokeless (but not as effective) and all take quite a long time but can treat chronic energy deficient conditions.
Gua Sha means scraping in Chinese and is performed with a tool which has a smooth, curved edge, often made of jade. Gua Sha is particularly effective for treating aches and pains especially arthritis pain, musculoskeletal pain, long term injuries and also for colds and flu.
Gua Sha Oil is applied to the skin and the tools are scraped along the affected area. Sometimes a redness comes out on the skin, this is known as “Sha” and is a sign of stagnation becoming unblocked. This should dissipate within 2 or 3 days depending on the patient.