Tui Na, or tuina, is a therapeutic form of massage and has been used in China for more than 5,000 years. Defined as “the ancient healing art of fingers and strength,” tui na (pronounced “twee nah”) has been gaining international attention for its safe and effective treatment for a wide variety of conditions. Tui na massage therapy is used for giving special treatments to people of all ages, from infancy to old age.
Practitioners use their finger, hand, elbow, knee or foot to apply pressure to a specific body location, according to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. This complementary and alternative Chinese medicine modality makes use of rhythmic compression techniques along different energy channels of the body to establish harmonious flow of qi throughout the body and bringing it back to balance. By applying pressure to meridians, acupoints, and groups of muscles and nerves, tui na removes blockages and works deeply with the positive energy of the body.
Tui na makes use of various hand techniques in combination with acupuncture and other manipulation techniques. To enhance the healing process, the practitioner may recommend the use of Chinese herbs. Many of the techniques used in this massage resemble that of a western massage like gliding, kneading, rubbing, vibration, tapping, friction, pulling, rolling, pressing and shaking. In tui na massage, the muscles and tendons are massaged with the help of hands, and an acupressure technique is applied to directly affect the flow of qi at different acupressure points of the body, thus facilitating the healing process. It removes the blockages and keeps the energy moving through the meridians as well as the muscles.
Benefits of Tui Na
A typical session of tui na massage may vary from thirty minutes to an hour. The session timings may vary depending on the patient's needs and condition. Clients remain clothed, wearing loose clothing. tui na methods can include soft tissue massage, manipulation, acupressure in conjunction with herbal compresses, ointments, liniments, and heat. The best part of the therapy is that it relaxes as well as energizes the person. The main benefit of tui na massage is that it focuses on the specific problem, whether it is an acute or a chronic pain associated with the joints, muscles or a skeletal system. This technique is very beneficial in reducing the pain of neck, shoulders, hips, back, arms, highs, legs and ankle disorders. It is a very effective therapy for arthritis, pain, sciatica and muscle spasms. Other benefits of this massage therapy include alleviation of the stress related disorders like insomnia, constipation, headaches and other disorders related to digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems.
The greatest advantage of tui na is that it focuses on maintaining overall balance with both physical and mental health. Any one who wants to avoid the side effects of drugs or a chemical based treatment can adopt this effective massage technique to alleviate their pain. Tui na massage therapy is now becoming a more common therapy method due to its focus on specific problems rather than providing a general treatment.
Comparing Tui Na Massage to Other Styles of Massage
Similar to tui na, Thai massage helps to relieve blockages, remove deficiencies, and correct imbalances in the flow of energy. Unlike most massages, a unique characteristic of the Thai massage is the fact that it is performed on the floor with the client fully clothed. The therapist uses their hands, knees, legs and feet to move the client into various yoga-like stretches.
Swedish massage is known for its ability to relax the entire body. In addition, Swedish massage helps to increase oxygen levels in the blood, decrease muscle toxins, and improve overall circulation and flexibility. Unlike tui na, Swedish massage uses long gliding strokes to rub the muscles in the direction of blood returning to the heart. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine measured the blood samples of 53 healthy adults who received a Swedish massage and found a significant decrease in the hormone arginine-vasopressin— a hormone that regulates water retention and blood pressure.
As more and more studies are conducted measuring the benefits of massage, health practitioners will increasingly look to tui na massage therapy as an effective alternative treatment.