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Essentials of Tuina Therapy (I)
Addtime:2016-12-17 15:55:33 Hit:484




Chinese tuina, or massage therapy, has a long history. It is a simple therapy which uses no medicine or medical instruments, but just various massage techniques to stimulate the body in order to regulate its functions and eliminate pathogenic factors. This therapy can cure ailments. However, its mechanism is still a mystery.


Clinical practice shows that tuina therapy brings about changes in the body through stimulation induced by the manipulation and movement of the body without using drugs or medical instruments. Experiments indicate that this therapy may decrease or increase the number of white cells in different cases. The nutrients in the body can be adjusted and the harmful agents can be eliminated by tuina therapy through strengthening phagocytes that destroy bacteria. Muscular pain is alleviated or eliminated when tuina therapy is applied, not only because the abnormal muscular condition is healed, but also because there is a change in the acidity and alkalinity in the muscles.



Tuina therapy has its own specific therapeutic principles and essential manipulations. Although the manipulations of tuina are various, they can be divided into two categories: reinforcing manipulations and reducing manipulations. Massage along the running course of the meridians with a light and slow touch covering a short distance is known as the reinforcing manipulation, while massage with a heavy and quick touch covering a long distance is called the reducing manipulation. Since tuina therapy uses specific manipulations to treat patients, it is undoubtedly important that only doctors can perform such a therapy.


It was believed that Bodhi-dharma from ancient India made a great contribution to the development of tuina manipulations. Bodhi-dharma came to China to study massage in 507 A.D. He stayed in the Shaolin Monastery with a veteran monk as his teacher. He meditated for nine years and learnt the manipulations of pressing, rubbing, pushing and pulling. Based on this knowledge, he developed ten manipulations, i.e, pressing, rubbing, pushing, pulling, kneading, jerking, rolling, twisting, shaking and rotatory kneading. He also invented the flicking manipulation.




An effective manipulation not only meets the demands of the body, but also exerts a specific effect on an ailment. The following is a brief introduction to some commonly used manipulations:


Pushing manipulation: this technique can be divided into three types, i.e., horizontal pushing, upward pushing on the back and lateral pushing. This technique is used to relax the muscles and adjust the temperature of the skin to produce comfortable and relaxing sensation. It is advisable to use talcum powder to avoid skin injury.


Stroking manipulation: This is done by passing the hands gently over a part of the body or the whole body from the upper part to the lower part, starting from the end of the limbs and performing three to five times. This technique is used to excite the peripheral nerves, dilate capillaries, disperse pain of the central nerves and relax the deep muscles.


Grasping manipulation: It is done by grasping and squeezing the affected muscles with the thumb and index fingers. It may be divided into two kinds: grasping and squeezing the affected muscles, and grasping and twisting the affected muscles. This technique is used to remove qi stagnation and blood stasis, and relieve pain.




Pressing manipulation: It is performed by pressing the acupoints and tenderness with the finger, palm, fist and elbow of the doctor. This technique is used to promote the smooth flow of qi in the meridians, stop pain or aid digestion. It can also regulate the nervous function, improve blood circulation, increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients and remove stagnation in lymph nodes. 


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