Oriental Bodywork is distinguished from other massage by it's foundation in the energetic principles and practice of Chinese medicine. It is one of the three main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture and herbs. All three branches utilize the same energetic principles and theories of how the body, mind and spirit function in health and disease. Acupuncture uses needles; herbology uses plants and other materials; bodywork uses touch. All three can benefit health in similar ways, although some conditions and people resonate with one modality more than another.
My approach to bodywork explores the natural way of touch and healing with this amazing human body. Each of the Oriental bodywork techniques can be used for different conditions. Sometimes, a treatment will consist of one style. Most often, a session will consist of a blend of techniques, depending on what is most needed.
I listen to the body, mind and spirit, to guide us as to what most needs attention at the present moment. The body has an inherent wisdom about healing, knowing exactly what is needed and not needed for its natural state of balance and harmony. A bodywork session is a way to listen clearly to that wisdom, following wherever it leads.
Bodywork sessions may also be combined with Chinese herbal consultations.
I practice several different styles of Oriental bodywork, often combining techniques within a session.
Chi Nei Tsang (pronounced chee nay zong) is an Oriental bodywork style that combines hands-on massage techniques with internal chi kung or meditation that is primarily focused on the internal organs. To influence the large intestine, acupuncture needles may be inserted on the hand, close to the thumb. Chi Nei Tsang uses touch to work directly on the large intestine. Both techniques can be useful, they just utilize different methods.
Many conditions may benefit from this unique abdominal approach including: digestive conditions, liver and gallbladder issues, menstrual difficulties, chronic muscle pain and tension in the lower back, neck, shoulders and pelvis.
This approach is particularly useful to explore the psoas muscle, which is deep in the abdomen next to the spine. The psoas muscle is a major internal aspect of structural alignment that may be difficult to recognize or access because of its deep location. Chi Nei Tsang is a wonderful way to contact the deep nature of the psoas.
Tui na (pronounced tway nah) is a Chinese form of medical massage. It is one of the three main branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine along with acupuncture and herbs. Tui na is a general term that includes any type of therapy using the hands and touch to influence chi in the body. In Western terms, this would include all forms of massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, osteopathic, cranial sacral, etc.
My tui na training was in Shanghai with Dr.Ting ji feng, who created the rolling hand technique, so it is sometimes referred to as the rolling school. Many tui na massage techniques are somewhat unique in that they involve active movement of the practitioner's hand, especially the wrist, as opposed to static pressure. Consider the movement of a rolling pin across a countertop. Rather than using pressure, the active, moving tui na techniques are very rhythmical, creating a vibration, or energy,that influences the internal energy flow of the body.
Tui na techniques have the same effect on the body as acupuncture, without the needles. A tui na session is generally focused on a region, rather than a full body massage. I primarily use rolling style tui na with injuries, both acute and chronic, and musculoskeletal conditions, like neck, low back and joint pain.
There is also a pediatric style of tui na that is specifically for infants and children.
Jin Shin Do (pronounced gin shin doe) is a Japanese acupressure style of bodywork. It is somewhat similar to acupuncture without the needles. Pairs of points along meridians are held in sequence that facilitates release of tension and promotes energetic flow and balance. Points are selected based on the condition and assessment, utilizing the same energetic meridian systems used in acupuncture.
Compared to other modalities, like tui na, Jin Shin Do is a more yin approach – quiet, soft, still. Gentle, sustained pressure is used to connect with the point, meridian and energy in order to listen and follow whatever arises.
This can be a good method to facilitate exploration of body sensations and experiences. It can be useful to process emotional aspects that tend to be stored in the body or related to specific conditions or experiences.
My approach to using Jin Shin Do is to make simple and gentle contact with specific points and allow the natural wisdom of the body, mind and spirit to do whatever it needs. How this manifests can vary with each person and also with each session.