What Is Tui Na?
To those who’ve experienced both acupressure and Shiatsu, a Tui Na session may seem like a cross between the two. Like Shiatsu, Tui Na uses rhythmic compression along energy channels of the body, as well as a variety of techniques that manipulate and lubricate the joints. Like acupressure, Tui Na directly affects the flow of energy by holding and pressing the body at acupressure points.
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.
One of Tui Na’s advantages over simple western stylings is its ability to focus on specific problems, especially chronic pain associated with the muscles, joints, and skeletal system. It’s especially effective for joint pain, muscle spasms, and pain in the back, neck, and shoulders. It also helps chronic conditions such as insomnia, constipation, headaches (including migraines), and the tension associated with stress.
Tui Na does not simply work on the muscles, bones, and joints. It works with the energy of the body at a deeper level. As the practitioner senses the client’s body with her hands, she is able to assess the distribution of energy and affect its flow.
As with other styles of Asian bodywork, Tui Na is designed to prevent problems, not just correct them. By keeping the body’s energy in balance, health is maintained. This is true not just for physical health, but for mental and emotional well-being as well.
Tui Na, which dates back to 1700 BC, is the parent of most modern Asian bodywork.Tui Na survived as a popular form of healing among the general Chinese population, who have long practiced Anmo. Anmo is the general term for the western stylings in Chinese, whereas Tui Na is a more specialized term indicating practices based on the theories of Chinese medicine.