Tui Na massage works on balancing the body’s meridian system, by first identifying and then unblocking the vital meridians (the flow of Qi or chi) within the body. Once the meridians are balanced, proper health and harmony are expected to follow.
Even though Tui Na is similar to acupuncture because it works to balance the Qi, needles are never used in this hands-on treatment. During a Tui Na massage the practitioner will first feel their clients pulse. This is done in order to identify the Qi that needs to be unblocked. Next the masseuse will apply their hands and massage key points on the clients body to unblock the meridians, and to encourage the free flow of energy throughout the body.
Chinese massage can be used alone or in combination with other types of holistic treatments in order to relieve pain, muscular tension and disease throughout the body. To a Westerner, Tui Na is the form of Asian bodywork most closely resembling conventional western massage. Many of the techniques are similar: gliding (known as effleurage or Tui), kneading (petrissage or Nie), percussion (tapotement or Da), friction, pulling, rotation, rocking, vibration, and shaking. Despite the similarities, the intent of Tui Na is more specifically therapeutic than the simple relaxation of a Swedish-style massage. Acupressure, a firm type of pressure applied to various meridians on the body, is applied in order to stimulate specific Qi during a Tui Na massage. Additional pushing or grasping strokes will encourage muscle relaxation, improve circulation, and encourage the healing of the meridians and the free flow of Qi.
Tui Na massage is still widely used in hospitals and rehabilitation centers throughout China today. Often Tui Na is used in combination with other forms of traditional Chinese healing and medicine. In fact, in China Tui Na practitioners are given the same respect that we bestow on our physicians.