Long before acupuncture, Tuina (also spelled tui na) was already being practiced for the relief of pain in various parts of the body through manipulative therapy. During ancient times, people instinctively knew that ailments can be reduced by rubbing painful areas on the body. With the discovery and development of acupuncture therapy, also came the development of Chinese massage treatment which was first called anmo (pushing and kneading). The evolution of this massage treatment rose dramatically during the Ming Dynasty, and the new methods of manipulative therapy was renamed “Tui-Na” (pushing and grasping).
Chinese martial arts have always been closely related to Tui-Na. This is because traumatic injuries (such as fractures, sprains, dislocations, etc.) are common occurrences in any martial arts school, and the fingertips of the headmasters of the school were the most readily available treatment tools for these problems. In fact, the most famous Chinese martial artists in history were also excellent healers. Martial artists in Canton China created a special science of traumatology called “Tit Dar” or “Dit Da”. Dit Da healing typically integrates Tui na and manipulative treatments with the best external and internal herbal remedies for traumatic injuries.
A lot of people erroneously think that tui na is either Chinese chiropractic or Chinese massage. The truth is, Tui-Na is a consummate system of medicine that has the capacity to treat both external injuries and internal diseases. Its distinct techniques and logic of diagnosis and therapy distinguishes it from all other medical sciences.
In Chinese, Tuina can be translated as push and grasp or push and pull. It uses both medical theory and massage therapy including the modern Swedish massage that’s widely used all over the world. Chinese practitioners of Tuina are required to study for more than seven years to learn more than soothing massage methods. They are considered professionals with the skill and knowledge of osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, and massage therapy combined. The foundation of Tuina therapy is the principle of chi energy and the five element theory that’s utilized in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. But rather using needles to jumpstart the flow chi flow, practitioners of Tuina apply manual pressure on the acupoint through the combined use of manual therapy and joint range of motion techniques. These practitioners oftentimes integrate lifestyle and nutrition into their plan of treatment.
Some practitioners use Tuina as a full massage therapy session, pressing and kneading a number of acupoints to release myofascial tension and balance energy. They avail themselves of Tuina procedures within a deep tissue session more so when conventional Western treatments such as Trigger Point Release fail to work. One of the best things practitioners love about Tuina is that the treatment can be administered without the patient needing to undress. For immediate effects, these healers are able to utilize methods during training sessions on a specific region or area of the body of their clients. Tuina can be used to evaluate and immediately treat a client with limited range of movement.
This technique can also be an ideal complement to Fascial Stretch Therapy. Both therapies work with the whole systems of the body, with Tuina stimulating the meridians or energy channels and FST the myofascial web or fascial lines. Each has its dissimilarities but both concur that the underlying root cause of a certain condition is usually located remote to the affected area where the symptoms appear. A person is usually weak due to possibly from a movement dysfunction or previous trauma or injury. Tui na complemented by Fascial Stretch Therapy can help tone down tired muscles and balance the body.
To reduce tension, foster energy balance and achieve general health and wellbeing, a full-body session for 90 minutes or at least, a five minute Tui na massage a day would be ideal.