Tui na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion, fire cupping, Chinese herbalism, tai chi and qigong.
Tui na is a hands-on-body treatment using acupressure that is a modality of Chinese medicine whose purpose is to bring the body into balance. The principles being balanced are the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press and rub the areas between each of the joints to open the body’s defensive chi and get the energy moving in both the meridians and the muscles. The practitioner can then use range of motion, traction, massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points and to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions. Tui na is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is taught in TCM schools as part of formal training in Oriental medicine. Many East Asian martial arts schools also teach tui na to their advanced students for the treatment and management of injury and pain due to training. As with many other traditional Chinese medical practices, there are several different schools with greater or lesser differences in their approach to the discipline. It is related also to Chinese massage or anma.
Tui na has fewer side effects than modern drug-based and chemical-based treatments. It has been used to treat or complement the treatment of many conditions; musculo-skeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.
The words Tui Na translate into ‘push-grasp’ or ‘poke-pinch’ in Chinese. Physically, it is a series of pressing, tapping, and kneading with palms, fingertips, knuckles or implements that help the body to remove blockages along the meridians of the body and stimulates the flow of qi and blood to promote healing, similar to principles of acupuncture, moxibustion, and acupressure. Tui na’s massage-like techniques range from light stroking to deep-tissue work which would be considered too vigorous or too painful for a recreational or relaxing massage. Clinical practitioners often use liniment, plasters, herbal compresses and packs to aid in the healing process, which should be used with caution on sensitive skin. Tui na is not used for conditions involving compound fractures, external wounds, open sores or lesions, phlebitis, or with infectious conditions such as hepatitis. Tui na should not be performed on the abdominal portion of a woman in menstrual or pregnant periods, and it is not used for treatment of malignant tumors or tuberculosis.
In a typical adult tui na session, the patient wears loose clothing and lies on a massage table or floor pad. 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. Occasionally, clothing is removed or repositioned to expose a particular spot that requires direct skin contact. The patient should always be informed before this act, and no inappropriate or unexpected contact should ever be made in a professional session. Treatment sessions last from 10 minutes to over an hour. Patients often return for additional treatments for chronic conditions.