Tui na – a traditional form of Chinese physical therapy
Tui na medical massage (or “Tuina” as it is sometimes spelled) is a specialised system of Chinese medical bodywork which uses strong, focused and effective techniques. It is not really a massage in the way we are familiar with relaxing massage in the West, as the emphasis of Tui Na (tuina) is to identify and change soft tissue that has become pathological or problematic as well as correct dysfunctional movement patterns. Because it relies on the same understanding of the body as acupuncture, it is sometimes called acupressure in this country. However, tuina is a far more developed system than simple acupressure.
Tui Na is growing in popularity in the UK and is widely used in China in modern hospitals and clinics for the treatment of many pain conditions that might be treated by a physiotherapist or osteopath/chiropractor in the UK.
Tuina specialists are highly skilled in using their hands to treat a great number of conditions ranging from back pain to arthritis and RSI, and may use additional modalities like traditional acupuncture, gua sha, moxa and cupping when appropriate.
Treatment is applied to the painful area itself, but also to many adjacent areas that have an impact on the injured area. Any condition is seen on the background of Eastern medicine and is therefore analysed using principles of posture, Eastern body movement, and a general Eastern understanding of personality type.
How will Tui Na help my pain condition?
Tui na is beneficial any injured tissue, but also to the way we move our bodies.
The human body is meant to move, if it was ‘designed’ you could say that it was in fact designed to move efficiently and powerfully. It is the case however that we do not move our bodies as they should be moved and so over time we develop muscle imbalances, dysfunctional joints and the inevitable tension build up from inefficient movement.
The more you move correctly, the more you are able to move…
Tui Na treatment doesn’t only just try to alleviate pain or help repair injured tissue. A good tui na therapist will also advise you how to correctly move your body, as moving or exercising in a dysfunctional way will not help you either. What is important is that you understand where and how your body is failing, and start changing it through focused Tui Na bodywork and correct body movement.
Another good reason to consider tuina is if you feel you would benefit from acupuncture, but are not keen on needles. As a form of acupressure massage, tuina can bring many of the benefits of acupuncture.