A Tui na massage treatment

Tui na Chinese massage can be applied either lying down or sitting in a chair. You do not usually need to remove any clothing unless the practitioner needs to apply herbal liniment to your skin, or use moxa, gua sha and cupping techniques. Very often, you will be wrapped in a sheet or towel.

Chinese medicine is an holistic healthcare system that treats the underlying causes of pain and illness, not just the symptoms. Your RTCM registered Tui na practitioner will also take a full medical history, including examining your tongue and reading your pulse on both wrists.

The massage usually feels deeply warming, rhythmic and relaxing. It involves a wide range of specific manual techniques all of which have particular therapeutic effects.

Generally a treatment moves through three levels:

  1. Relatively gentle superficial techniques start to open the energy meridians and allow your muscles to relax.
  2. The heart of the treatment consists of stronger, rhythmic techniques and point stimulation, or deep subtle energy work. You may feel deeply relaxed and sleepy during this stage.
  3. Brisk sweeping techniques dissipate any stagnant energy that has been stirred-up during the treatment. Passive movements of joints and stretches can be incorporated at this stage.

In addition to the massage, your Tui na practitioner might also use other Chinese therapeutic techniques including -

  • Moxibustion Moxa is a dried herb related to Mugwort. Burnt like incense to warm and relax muscles and energy meridians
  • Cupping glass cups with a vacuum seal are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and clear stagnant Qi.
  • Gua Sha vigorous rubbing of the skin to increase blood flow and clear stagnant Qi.
  • Herbal liniments, oils and lotions applied directly to the skin to prevent chaffing, stimulate the flow of Qi and enhance the energetic effects of the massage.

Cupping and Gua Sha may leave superficial red marks or small bruises, but these are painless and quickly fade.