Tuina (a Traditional Chinese Massage) is a medical method using the arms, hands, fingers, elbows and knees as tools for treating diseases and illnesses. Tuina is also used to protect health and build up body immunity, so that disease can be stopped in its beginning acting as a preventative medical measure, without any side effects. Tuina can sometimes be mistaken for acupressure.
Tuina uses techniques and manipulations to stimulate acupuncture points or other parts of the body surface so as to correct physiological imbalances of the body and achieve curative effects. The effect of Tuina is to disperse and smooth obstructions whilst checking and restraining hyperfunction. Tuina is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also encompasses acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition and exercise to treat the whole body, mind and spirit.
In summary, Tuina rectifies anatomical anomalies, alters the inner energy state of the biological system and adjusts the bio-information of the body. For soft tissue injuries, Tuina relaxes muscles and tendons and promotes smooth passage of the channels. It also promotes blood circulation and removes blood stasis.
Tuina techniques and manipulations are rigorous. Patients of Tuina treatments can be seated or may be laid on a treatment couch, whichever is the most comfortable position for both patient and practitioner. Tuina treatments are usually applied on top of loose clothing, i.e. rarely on bare skin, although herbal rubs can be used in conjunction with a Tuina treatment.
Tuina has no adverse side effects, although because it can be a powerful treatment in terms of re-adjusting the functions of the body, some patients may see an increase in frequency of visits to the bathroom, or may feel the build up and release of pressure throughout the body, or may feel slightly sedated immediately after treatment or may develop slight bruising (as blocked energy gets released). A lot depends on the patient and the nature and longevity of the disease being treated. The effects of a typical Tuina treatment, if it hasnâ??t completely cleared any obstruction, can last up to 3 -4 days.
Tuina may be applied to treat many disorders from soft tissue injuries to many other kinds of ailments such as rheumatic pain, tiredness, lack of energy and any symptoms caused by stress or emotional problems. Tuina is even used for cosmetic purposes such as weight loss and an alternative to botox! Tuina is especially good for adults, infants, sports medicine, general health care for the elderly, rehabilitation and orthopaedics, from which many other complementary therapies have evolved as â??specialistâ?? therapies.
Tuina works on the same basic theory as other TCM techniques : â??Injury or disease causes blockages in the channels of the body. Blockages cause pain.â?
How many times have you massaged your temples to relieve a headache, or rubbed aching parts of your body? Seeâ?¦youâ??re half way to being a Tuina practitioner already!
In China, Tuina dates back to the remote reign of emperor Huang, during which Tuina was called Anwu. By two thousand years ago, Tuina, called Anmo then, had developed into a widely-used medical means. â??Anâ?? meaning Press and â??Moâ?? meaning Rub. As time went on, Anmo was used as a term for both medical and pleasurable massage. In 1949, the Chinese government officially recognised the medical benefits of the massage and renamed this aspect to Tuina. â??Tuiâ?? meaning Push and â??Naâ?? meaning Grasp. Tuina was officially incorporated into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a medical therapy to be used for problems where acupuncture and herbs were less effective. The term Anmo is still used today as a term for non medical massage.
Tuina is one of the earliest medical forms of mankind and can be seen in the medical history of every old nation all over the world. The behaviour of our forefathers was to rub, press, knead, pound or stamp on themselves or their fellows bodies in order to keep out cold, get rid of discomfort and treat various injuries, continually developing their practical experiences, which gradually became what is now known as a natural therapy. At around 500 AD, the first Tuina specialists appeared, just around the Tang dynasty.
Tuina was so successful, it spread around the globe. Tuina is the basis upon which many modern complementary therapies are based, such as Shiatsu, Acupressure, Baby Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, Lymphatic Draining to name but a few. Chiropractic and Physiotherapy manipulations are also founded on Tuina techniques.
Today in China, every hospital has a Tuina Department. Patients queue up from 8am every morning and have a huge range of symptoms, from prolapsed discs to frozen shoulder and sciatica, to diarrhoea, high blood pressure, migraines, knee problems, tendonitis, tennis / golf elbow to sun stroke, menstrual problems, fatigue or insomnia. Even more symptoms are treated in the infantile Tuina clinic within the department. Symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, enuresis, convulsions, common cold, asthma, fever, whooping cough, chicken pox to name a few. Even infantile short sightedness is treated through Tuina massage!
Article written by Simon Gall Ba(Hons) ATL
School Principal - London School of Thai Massage
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