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.
Different types of tui na have developed over many centuries and practitioners are considered physicians. There are many styles or schools of tui na practice, each with a specific lineage, teacher, technique or focus. For example, tui na in Beijing is different than that practiced in Shanghai.
tuina rolling techniqueMy 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 a wide range of application of tui na techniques, from very gentle to quite strong. This allows for adapting the technique intensity to match the condition. For example, with an acute ankle sprain that is swollen and painful, very light applications can be done without increasing pain symptoms.
My approach with tui na techniques is to allow the natural rhythm of movement to generate an energetic vibration that can penetrate much more deeply and effectively than sustained pressure. This typically allows for penetrating depth without resistance or discomfort.
Within the general field of tui na, there is a specialty practice for infants and children. Click on Chinese Pediatric Massage (pediatric tui na) for more information.
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