What is Tui Na?
Tui Na (pronounced “Twee-Nah”) massage has been practised for over 4,000 years and is thought to be the world’s oldest form of bodywork. It forms one of the four branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), alongside Acupuncture**, Qi Gong and Chinese Herbal Medicine, and is still practised in Chinese hospitals to this day. Tui Na was introduced to Japan around 1,000 years ago where adaptations to the original techniques used resulted in the creation of Shiatsu.
Injury, overuse, repetitive movement, poor posture, stress, sedentary lifestyle and age-related wear and tear all take their toll on our joints. Joints become stiff and painful and so range of movement is impaired. In turn, problems in the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons may arise if they have had to compensate for the joint’s impaired function in an attempt to stabilise and protect it from further harm.
Tui Na therapeutic Chinese massage is a suitable form of massage for most people as a safe and highly effective therapy to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by a variety of muscular, joint and nerve-related problems. It can also be used to bring relief from other acute and chronic complaints. But it is important to bear in mind that Tui Na is a complementary therapy and so must not be considered in the same way as a standard Western medical diagnosis or treatment.
What can I expect?
Literally translated, Tui (push) Na (grasp), uses a variety of soft tissue massage techniques that differ in pressure and speed. Kneading, palpation, rolling, squeezing, rocking, plucking, vibration, and rubbing across the muscle fascia can all be used in a gentle way; similar to the techniques used in Swedish massage. Or, a more dynamic approach can be taken for a stronger deep-tissue massage.
Tui Na is intended to be invigorating and rejuvenating, but also deeply relaxing. It can be used for overall wellness and wellbeing, as well as to bring relief from the pain and discomfort caused by many common conditions affecting the physical body such as: low back, neck & shoulder pain, headache, tightness and associated pain in the jaw, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
A massage table is used, along with a chair for certain therapeutic massage techniques for the neck, shoulders and arms.
No oils are used in Tui Na massage (with the exception of the facial massage where a small amount of oil might be used).
Tui Na is undertaken with the recipient remaining fully clothed. Light, loose and comfortable – ideally cotton – clothing should be worn.
Joint manipulation and muscle stretching techniques are also sometimes used, similar to those used in chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy. They are intended to improve the function and mobility of joints and their connective tissues.
What are the benefits of Tui Na Massage?
Here are just some of the benefits of Tui Na Therapeutic Massage:
- Deeply relaxing and improved sense of wellbeing to relieve stress & anxiety
- Helps boost energy levels to relieve symptoms of fatigue
- Relief from the pain caused by a variety of musculo-skeletal conditions – ie Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
- Treat and alleviate muscle spasm & strain
- Relief from the symptoms of arthritis & joint pain
- Improved joint function and range of movement.
- Reduces stiffness
- Reduces stress & tension and relieves pain caused by associated conditions – i.e. Tension Neck Syndrome
- Improved blood circulation, lymphatic system function, energy flow throughout the body
- Improved sleep
How does Tui Na differ from western massage therapies?
Unlike western massage therapies, Tui Na goes further than treating just the physical body.
TCM is founded on the philosophy that optimum health and wellbeing – what we in the west might refer to as homeostasis – depends on harmony and balance in all things. True health is attained when equilibrium within the body, the self and the environment all coexist. Thus, the concept of health is looked at in the round and with a wide focus lens, if you will, rather than the narrower ‘zoom lens’ approach that is perhaps more characteristic of western medicine.
Tui Na, as a branch of TCM, is faithful to that overarching principle, as a means of maintaining harmony in the body. This is where the concept of Yin and Yang comes into play.
A word about Yin and Yang
We are possibly all familiar with the symbol for Yin and Yang. But what does it actually mean? It’s a way of describing the principle of duality or opposition that underpins all of creation and how we experience the Universe. How things relate to one other and how nothing can exist entirely on its own.
So where we have feminine (Yin), we necessarily have masculine (Yang) as its opposite. Darkness and night (Yin) relative to light and day (Yang); cold (Yin) and hot (Yang); winter (Yin) and summer (Yang).
We even see how the different techniques used in Tui Na massage might be categorised in terms of Yin – gentle, soft and soothing – and Yang – active and dynamic with deep tissue stimulation.
The causes of illness in TCM are distinguished in terms of how the delicate equilibrium between Yin and Yang has become compromised.
What is Qi?
In TCM theory ill health originates from weakness, deficiency, stagnation and blockage that interferes with the flow of our vital Life Force, or “Qi” (pronounced “chee”), eventually resulting in imbalance. In India, Qi is known as Prana. In Japan, it is Ki. The ancient Greeks called it Pneuma. The Mande peoples of West Africa knew it as Nyama, while the Mayans regarded it as Chu’lel.
Qi is the same as the chemical energy we see in western medicine and is responsible for growth, reproduction, repair and our ability to fight disease. Problems with the optimum flow of Qi can, ultimately, lead to us being affected physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
With all of this in mind, the aim of Tui Na is to help rid the body of these imbalances, weakness, and blockages. Tui Na uses the application of pressure to more than 130 specific points on the body. These points, sometimes called acupressure points, ‘acupoints’ or ‘Qi-points’, are located along the 12 primary meridians – or invisible energetic pathways – that criss-cross the body, through and along which Qi flows. They are the same points into which TCM acupuncturists** would insert needles and Tui Na is often used in conjunction with acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion and cupping to enhance and amplify the therapeutic effects on the recipient.
Tui Na Pricing Tui Na Massage (60 minutes) – £45 OR Tui Na Massage (90 minutes) – £65
SPECIAL OFFER! Wellbeing package – 45 minutes Tui Na & 45 minutes Reiki – £70 Digital gift vouchers now available!
**TCM acupuncture should not be confused with “dry needling” or what is sometimes called “medical acupuncture”. Dry needling involves the use of needles to attempt to release tension from knots and trigger points in muscles.