Tuina: Traditional Chinese Massage

Although there is more than one school of thought regarding traditional Chinese massage, the essential message is the same. Traditional Chinese Massage, sometimes known as Tuina, focuses on your achieving balance for your flow of chi, or life energy. Overall, traditional Chinese massage is one of the best holistic treatments available today. There is no need to worry about allergies to needles used in acupuncture or to the herbs used in herbal remedies.

 

The meridian system

A key element to Chinese massage as well as Chinese medicine in general, is the meridian system. This system works much like a flowing body of water in your body. The goal is to achieve flow within the twelve different meridians in the body. Each meridian represents a different organ of the body, including: the heart, the sac surrounding the heart, lungs, spleen, kidney, liver, the triple warmer which is a function of the organ, small and large intestine, stomach, urinary bladder and gall bladder. The first six are directly related to transformation or yin organs while the second set of six organs are tied to the yang or transportation organs.

 

Whenever one of these meridians becomes blocked, just as a damn blocks the flow of a river, does traditional Chinese massage attempt to unblock by clearing the debris causing the river to back up. In other words, a blockage in the flow of your chi through the twelve meridians is what causes stress, sickness and disease.

 

A typical Chinese massage

In a typical Chinese massage, the client will be instructed to lie on the floor or on a table, and unlike western or Swedish massage will not be covered with a sheet. Instead, the client will be instructed beforehand to arrive in loose clothing and will remove their shoes upon entering the massage room.

 

After diagnosing the client’s ailments, the therapist will begin a ½ hour to 1-hour session that focuses on various acupressure points to help relax and cure the client’s problems. Some advanced therapists may use traditional Chinese massage in conjunction with herbal Chinese medicine. Herbs will be prescribed to compliment the treatments received and help improve the flow of chi and balance of yin and yang.

 

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is often treated successfully with traditional Chinese massage and may be done without improving the overall flow through the meridian system or flow of chi. It is useful not only in treating chronic pain in the back, neck and shoulders but also for more minor and short lived injuries such as sprains or pulled muscles.