Massage Therapy: Tuina Massage

TuinaTuina (pronounced “Tway-nah”) is an ancient Chinese system of massage which uses Traditional Chinese Medicine’s theories of channels and collaterals (meridians) and the flow of Qi (vital energy) as its basic orientation. Utilizing a wide range of techniques including massaging, kneading, pressing, rolling, shaking and stretching the body, the focus of this therapy is on the regulation of Qi to recover functionality of tendons, bones and joints.

Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques, Tuina seeks to establish more harmonious and balanced Qi flow through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body to naturally heal itself. Tuina methods include the use of hand and arm techniques to massage the soft tissue (muscles, tendons, and fascia) of the body, and may also include stimulation of acupressure points to directly affect the flow of Qi (energy) through the system of channels and collaterals. External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments and salves are also used to enhance the therapeutic effects of the treatment.

While Traditional Chinese Medical precepts form its theoretical basis, clinical experience governs its application. Tuina techniques range from those that are light and soothing to those that are strong and invigorating. Refined over the centuries, Tuina facilitates healing by regulating the circulation of Blood and Qi, which controls body function and enhances resistance to disease. The term “tuina” combines the names of two of the hand techniques, “tui” to push, and “na” to lift and squeeze, which are used to represent the system.

Practitioners of Tuina claim there are more than 365 hand techniques, and Tuina was first recorded in 2300 B.C. in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine as one of the five major therapies of the time. Tuina is often used in hospitals and clinics in China, and is now taught by some of the best Oriental Medical Schools in the United States, including the Oregon School of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) located in Portland. Acupuncturists who have graduated from OCOM have received at least two years of instruction in Tuina, including advanced techniques taught by specialist Tuina physicians from China.