Tuina, long classified as a kind of massage therapy, has been widely practiced in China as a special solution to various conditions including those serious ones and is especially appropriate for its holistic therapeutic purposes. Today Tuina therapy, viewed as one of the three ancient healing arts (acupuncture and
herbal formulas are the other two), remains one of the favorite therapies of Traditional Chinese Medicine available in hospitals and clinics throughout the country. People put their health in the good hands of skilled Tuina practitioners because they trust Tuina as a recognized form of medical treatment for a wide range of health problems.
Tuina massage is a different kind of therapy for conditions usually treated by osteopathy, chiropractic, physiotherapy, or sports therapy in the West, because it works at a deep level, reversing conditions that result from disordered flow of vital life energy in the body, rather than on the muscles and joints. Tuina works on the energy channels and points, using the same principles as acupuncture, only with the hands and fingers instead of needles.
Like acupuncture, Tuina requires sound mastery of skills to obtain an ideal clinical effect. A Tuina practitioner applies a great variety of techniques such as soft or hard, slow or fast, superficial or deep, general or more precise, etc. to promote the balance and harmony between Qi (energy) and vital substances to the health of a person’s body and mind.
TCM theory holds that many health problems result from blockages in these vital substances, leading to pain, swelling, and other symptoms. Any method applied to remove the blockage and re-establish the proper functioning of the body can be considered therapeutic. Tuina, also has been used holistically to treat the mind through the body and vice versa. By receiving this treatment people get a deeper sense of physical and mental relaxation, revitalization and well-being. The general benefit of Tuina is to bring a person’s awareness back to his or her own body. This is a feeling of what's going on within the body – Chinese medicine calls it “feeling of Qi flowing within the body”. Obtaining this feeling people gain access to the first essential step toward healing process.
Conditions Inappropriate for Tuina
Tuina can be quite powerful and even painful sometimes, especially during deep-tissue manipulations. It should not be used for conditions involving compound fractures, external wounds, open sores or lesions, phlebitis, or with infectious conditions such as hepatitis. It should not be performed on the abdominal portion of a woman in menstrual or pregnant periods. In general, it should not be used to treat malignant tumors or tuberculosis. Always keep in mind one thing: Never go for a Tuina treatment just after eating. Wait for at least an hour or so.
Procedure & Benefits of Tuina
During a typical Tuina session, loose and soft clothing is most appropriate for both receiver and giver for comfort. Lying on a massage table is the most common position, either face down or up. After answering some brief questions about the nature and location of the health problem, as well as basic questions about general health, allergies and other existing conditions, the practitioner will concentrate on specific acupressure points, energy trigger points, muscles and joints surrounding the affected area.
As with Chinese herbs and acupuncture, Tuina focuses more on gaining therapeutic benefit rather than only getting relaxation. It goes directly after the problems, sometimes requiring significant pressure. When excessive friction from rubbing or stroking is involved, practitioners may choose to use talcum powder, sesame oil, ointment of Chinese holly leaf, oil from HongHua, or a specialized massage emulsion or oil developed for Tuina.
Treatment sessions with a Tuina therapist or acupuncturist in Westmont or downtown Chicago usually last from 30 minutes to an hour or so. Receivers often come back to get additional treatments for chronic conditions. Usually they feel either relaxed or surprisingly energized by the treatment and release of aches and pains. Almost anyone will benefit from receiving Tuina massage, but some areas found to be particularly effective include:
- Pains and Stiffness (For example: back pain, headaches, migraine, ‘frozen shoulder’,
arthritis, repetitive strain injury, trapped nerves, sports
- Stress (tiredness, weakness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, weak
immune system, etc.)
- Digestion Disorder (constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, etc.)
- Women’s problems (PMT, painful or irregular periods, etc.)
- Paralysis (stroke, facial paralysis, numbness, etc.)