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What is Tui Na?
Tui Na (Twee Nah) is a form of ‘hands on’ bodywork therapy based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The name comes from;- tui “to push” and na means “to grab or squeeze”, these being key actions of the treatment. However, Tui Na refers to all aspect of Chinese therapeutic body work and includes a broad range of therapeutic techniques including; various soft tissue techniques, joint mobilisation, and manual stimulation of acupuncture and trigger/tender points.
Archaeological studies have unearthed evidence of Tui Na dating back to around 2700 BC, making it the forerunner of all other forms of massage and body work that exist today, from shiatsu (a form of Japanese massage) to osteopathy. So although it’s likely that people have been treating people ‘manually’ since there have been people, on the existing evidence the Chinese were probably the first to develop a system of principles and practice for diagnosis and treatment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophy treats patients holistically, considering physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Tui Na wasn’t just intended for musculo-skeletal (orthopaedic) problems such as aches’ sprains, muscle spasms and joint stiffness, but also to restore physiological, emotional and energetic balance. So the intention of the Tui Na practitioner is not just to release stiffness in joints and tightness in muscles, but to sense the energy of the client, and work to affect the flow & distribution of that energy. By unblocking channels of qi throughout the body that may have become blocked by; tension, bad habits, poor diet, injury, ill health, etc. - You optimise the person’s ability to heal.
It is used throughout China, with some TCM hospital doctors specialising in Tui Na and you may be surprised to learn that it is more popular than acupuncture and yet remains relatively unknown in the West. Given the size and population of China this may make it the single most popular form of manual therapy in the world.
Tui Na is typically practiced with the client/patient fully clothed &/or through a sheet. But some techniques are done directly on the skin i.e. where application of an oil or liniment is indicated. Clients are advised to wear loose, comfortable clothing to ensure the practitioner can move your joints through the full range of motion. Sessions usually last been thirty minutes and one hour, and normally take place on a massage table but some techniques can be done seated.
Tui Na is intended to be both relaxing and invigorating, and can be used in combination with fire cupping. A feature for another day, but feel free to ask in the meantime.
The most famous ancient text on Chinese medicine‚ Huang Di Nei Jing‚ (The Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor) completed between the first century BC and the first century AD includes records of the use of massage techniques and how they should be used in the treatment of certain diseases. So although it’s likely that people have been treating people ‘manually’ since there have been people, on the existing evidence the Chinese were the first to develop a system of principles and practice for diagnosis and treatment.
In a Tui Na massage, massage oils are usually used on the neck, hands, and feet.
Traditionally Tui Na massage is often used along side other TCM therapies including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, moxibustion, and fire cupping.
Clients should wear loose, comfortable clothing to ensure the practitioner can move your joints through the full range of motion. In a Tui Na massage, massage oils are usually used on the neck, hands, and feet.
Tui Na massage sessions usually last been thirty minutes and one hour, and normally take place on a massage table but some aspects of the massage of the massage can be done seated. Tui Na is intended to be both relaxing and invigorating. Some techniques and strokes used in Tui Na are much like those in more familiar massage therapies like Swedish or Deep tissue massage such as gliding, kneading, rocking, pulling, friction, and rolling.