Tuina can be translated as push/pull or push and grasp in Chinese. It combines both massage and medical theory and practice that includes the modern Swedish massage we commonly know today. In China, Tuina practitioner’s study for over 7 years to learn more than relaxing massage techniques. They are the equivalent of our massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, and osteopath combined. Tuina is based off of the 5 element theory and the concept of chi energy used in Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. However instead of using needles to stimulate chi flow the Tuina practitioner uses manual pressure on the meridian point with a combination of joint range of motion techniques and manual therapy. Tuina practitioners commonly incorporate nutrition and lifestyle as an integral part of their treatment.

Learn more about Tuina here.

I use Tuina as a full massage therapy session, tracing along each meridian kneading and pressing several acupressure points to balance energy and release myofascial tension. I also employ Tuina techniques within a deep tissue session especially when Western techniques such as Trigger Point Release aren’t showing results. The great thing I love about Tuina is that it can be performed through clothes. I’ve been able to use techniques during training sessions for a specific body part or region for quick effects. If a client has decreased range of motion or describes an issue I can use Tuina to assess and treat on-the-fly.

Tuina has also blended well with Fascial Stretch Therapy sessions. Both styles work with the whole body as a system, Tuina the meridians and FST the fascial lines or myofascial web. Each has its differences but they both agree that the root cause(s) of a particular issue often exist distant from the site where symptoms present. My favorite analogy is that of 4 construction workers working on a job. One worker takes a break and the 3 remaining have to work harder to pick up the slack. The 3 workers show signs of overuse such as tension, pain, inflammation, whereas the 1 worker lies dormant under the radar. He is often weak and deactivated possibly from a previous injury, trauma, or movement dysfunction. By discovering the weak link in the chain the 3 workers can be toned down and a new equilibrium reached.

Tuina can be a 90 minute full-body session or a 5 minute ritual in your day to promote energy balance, decreased tension, and overall better health.