Tui Na massage therapy is made up of two words meaning, Tui ‘to push’ and Na to ‘lift and squeeze.’ The history of Tui Na or Tuina dates back to around 1700 B.C. It is part of records from the Shang Dynasty. Its first specific and formal written address, however, is from the physician, Zang Zongjing (Daoyin), in the Han dynasty of 206. From its early beginnings, it began to evolve as a separate and distinct form of Chinese Traditional Medicine.
Many consider Tui Na the predecessor and progenitor of many modern Asian Massage Therapy and Bodywork. Others argue it is a derivative of Anmo, the practice of massage. Both are correct. Tui Na has fostered many types of Chinese and Chinese derivative forms of massage therapy. Tui Na is also a specialized form of Anmo or massage.
Anmo was once the most popular form of Chinese MassageTherapy. Today, it is not as common as Tui Na. The exception is in Japan. There, Anmo is the form of Tui Na practiced by the population. Anmo is but one variation of Acupressure in Japan and China.
Tui Na is also the one Chinese Traditional Massage Therapy that contains similar motions to Western Traditional or Classical Massage Therapy. In addition to Acupressure, Tui Na practitioners utilize tapping, vibration, rubbing and kneading. These methods are all part of Swedish Massage Therapy. Only the names differ.
There is also some resemblance to Deep Tissue Massage and Rolfing. Furthermore, traditional or classic Tui Na utilizes some orthopedics and chiropractic-type techniques. There is some bone setting and manipulation. This is not common to modern and Western variations of Tui Na.
Yet, Tui Na is definitely Asian in its mind-body set. It is Traditional Chinese Medicine. Integral to the implementation of this type of massage is a comprehension of the concept of Qi or Chi. The understanding of energy and meridians is essential. A practitioner of Tui Na must free and alter the flow of energy while relaxing the muscles and manipulating joints. It is 2-prong practice using the various techniques of physical massage as a therapeutic device.
Using his or her senses, the practitioner notes the energy flow and any blockages. By balancing the body’s energy, Tui Na therapists work to prevent future health problems and correct current ones. While focusing on specific problems, Tui Na stimulates the flow of Qi and blood, promotes healing and realigns skeletal structural problems. Clients turn to Tai Na Massage Therapy to relieve chronic pain in muscles and joints. Practitioners use the various techniques of Tui Na to help sufferers of constipation, insomnia, headaches and stress.
Spiritual, Psychological and Emotional Needs
Being true to its origins, Tui Na does not restrict its concerns to the purely physical. It also addresses the spiritual, psychological and emotional needs of its clients. By using the requisite techniques and manipulating the energy balance, Tui Na also influences the emotional and psychological well-being of its clients. It is all about balancing the Qi and maintaining balance between the different aspects of human personalities.
Tui Na suffered during the many changes over the years in China. The Cultural Revolution during the 1960s and 1970s was not kind to the practice. While many Westerners began to embrace forms of Complimentary and Alternative Medicines (CAM), China went in the opposite direction, condemning any “unscientific” practice. Tui Na has since become popular again. The country is now reviving many old traditions of Chinese Medicine.
As a result, Tui Na has become part and not apart from the realm of Chinese medical instruction. It holds a prominent place in schools of Chinese Medicine. Western schools of Massage teach it as part of courses on Acupressure and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It also features prominently in lectures and studies of Asian Massage Therapy. This includes a variation of Tui Na – Infant Tui Na.
Hospitals in Beijing and elsewhere in China routinely offer Tui Na as part of the healing process. It is part of the treatment of the mind and body of their patients. Several associations are forming around the world to regulate the practice and provide accurate information. These include the British Tui Na Association, dating from 2004 and the World Tui-Na Association. Tui Na is also included under the umbrella of the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It also receives some attention from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
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