What is Tuina
Tuina Chinese Massage, which predates acupuncture, is a tried and tested system of healthcare devised by the Chinese. It literally means tui (push) and na (grasp) and after 2,000 years of evolution, refinement and research it continues to be a vital part of their primary healthcare system being widely used in hospitals throughout China.
Depending on the condition being treated and the practitioner’s background, the style of Tuina treatment can vary from a vigorous deep-
However, Tuina is more than just a massage, practitioners being skilled both at manipulating joints and muscles to relieve musculoskeletal pain and stiffness and, by utilising the points and channels used in Acupuncture, direct the flow of Qi within the body to treat deeper seated conditions.
Each practitioner will develop their own style, however Tuina techniques broadly fall into two categories – Yin and Yang – with most clinicians combining techniques from both depending on the requirements of the patient.
Yin style – a smaller range of techniques are used, with less obvious outward physical activity – the practitioner working from a still, relaxed, centered and grounded place. The techniques are applied gently, slowly and subtly to an area, channel of point for a prolonged period of time in order to soothe, calm, sedate and nourish.
Yang style – this is a dynamic and physically demanding style that is often practiced in the Tuina departments hospitals in China. Points and channels are stimulated strongly until the patient feels muscle knots release and includes techniques such as mobiliisation and manipulation familiar to sports massage, osteopathy and chiropractic. Techniques flow and move rhythmically form one to another – moving, warming, invigorating dispersing, dredging and clearing.
Alex uses both Yin and Yang styles in his treatments, and also integrates them with Western orthopaedic assessment, testing and treatment.
Further information can be found at the Register of Tuina Chinese Massage
Archaeological studies have unearthed evidence of Tuina dating to around 2,700 BC making it probably the forerunner of most other forms of massage and bodywork. As with Acupuncture, the famous ancient text on Chinese Medicine the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor), includes the use of massage techniques and how they should be used to treat conditions.
During the Sui Dynasty (581-
With increasing Western influence, and its emphasis on symptomatic treatments, classical Chinese Medicine began to suffer. During the Long March, where Western trained physicians and medicine (including anaesthetics) were in short supply, Classical Physicians came to the rescue achieving great results with very limited resources. Following WWII, and the subsequent embargo by the West, Mao Ze Dong encouraged the spread of Chinese Medicine in order to provide health care to a large population. In the mid 1950s he brought all the clinicians to areas of excellence – including Beijing and Shanghai, where classical concepts were integrated with modern concepts of anatomy and physiology.
Both Acupuncture and Tuina use the same theory and have a very positive model of good health and function. Both look at pain and illness as signs that the body is out of balance and that pain occurs when the free flow of Qi (or vital energy) is interrupted. There are many reasons for this including emotional and physical stress, poor nutrition, infection or physical injury. Classical Chinese Medicine involves treating the patterns of disease and dysfunction and focusing treatment on the individual rather than their illness. Diagnosis is highly personalised and involves careful consideration of how symptoms inter-
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