What is Tui Na?
Tui Na (pronounced ‘twee-nah’) is probably the oldest system of bodywork still practised
yet is still relatively unknown in the UK. The techniques of Tui Na and details
of its uses in treating a range of health problems are already documented in a vast
treatise – The Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine, written about 2500
years ago. After such a lengthy period of development and evolution, modern Tui
Na is probably the most tried and tested hands-on therapy in the world.
How is it done?
In the first consultation, patients are asked an in-depth series of questions to
ascertain all the variables that are causing the current state of dis-ease. Tui
Na is applied to the clothed body.
Depending on the treatment that is to be given, patients then sit on a chair or
lie on a couch while the practitioner works.
A typical Tui Na treatment will work on the affected area, if it’s a physical problem,
before working on the relevant acu-points as diagnosed by the practitioner.
How does it work?
Tui Na works in accordance with the complex theory of TCM. Fundamental to this theory
is the life powering energy that the Chinese call Qi (pronounced ‘chee’). Every
aspect of bodily function depends upon Qi and its flow through the tissues.
At irregular intervals along the meridians there are specific Qi points (the acu-points
of acupuncture) where pressure, needles or heat can affect the way Qi flows through
the meridian. This effect can manifest itself on some part of the meridian quite
distant from where the stimulus is applied. When Qi flow is disturbed anywhere in
the body the Qi imbalance that results can cause pain, stiffness, sickness – even
emotional pain. The Chinese believe that health and vitality depend on Qi balance
in the body. Tui Na is one of the best ways of achieving this and it uses an array
of techniques to do it.
A casual observer watching a session sees what appears to be a thorough workout
for the soft tissues and joints, but the practitioner aims to do more than this.
Attention is focused on meridians and selected Qi points. They are massaged in different
ways to remove all blockages to the flow of Qi.
What Does It Feel Like?
It is a very vigorous massage; every technique requires movement as well as pressure.
After the first session you may feel a little sore but after two or three more most
people adjust to the deep pressure.
Depending on the type of Tui Na treatment you have, you might leave feeling a bit
light headed. Some patients experience sleepiness while others feel supercharged.
Almost always, everyone feels better after Tui Na.
What Does It Treat?
Tui Na treats chronic pain, especially that caused by musculoskeletal conditions
and injuries. Neck, shoulder and back pain and immobility, sciatica and ‘tennis
elbow’ all respond very well. It is, however, impossible to treat a specific condition
with Tui Na without improving the overall Qi status of the body. This means
that headaches, migraines, IBS, constipation, PMS and a whole range of emotional
problems can also be treated.
In China, Tui Na is used for conditions that, in the West, would be treated by osteopaths,
chiropractors and physiotherapists or with drugs.
Why Is Tui Na Different?
Tui Na is a complete body treatment therapy. Unlike many other systems, Tui
Na is rooted in TCM and therefore does not just treat the symptoms of the
problem but addresses the underlying energetic imbalances as well as the underlying