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Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage):
Chinese Medicine has several branches: acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietetics, exercise and Tui Na. Tui Na is a system of invigorating and energising massage and manipulation to relieve pain and release tension. Patients are asked to wear loose comfortable clothes for the massage, which can be applied to any area of the body including the head.

In China, it treats conditions that in the West would require an Osteopath, Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or Sports Therapist. Tui Na means “push and “grasp”, focusing on deep pressure and movement along the meridians and specific acupuncture points on them.

Tui Na is a complete therapy in itself and differs from western styles of massage in that it uses a traditional Chinese medical diagnosis to enable the practitioner to treat many problems in an holistic way. In fact the Tui Na practitioner must have a complete understanding of the principles of Chinese medicine and diagnosis.

Tui Na (pronounced as "Twee Nah") is a traditional medical massage based on the meridian system and TCM theory that guides acupuncture. It promotes the flow of our vital energy, 'qi' and blood, along the meridians thus nourishing our organs and bodies. Tui Na is much more then a typical relaxing or circulation enhancing massage.

Tui Na is not a mild, sedating and relaxing massage since it is focussed at targeting problem areas. However the practitioner adapts the amount of pressure and manipulation required by the patient. It often involves rigorous push-pull movements and deep tissue work but includes a range of different movements. It involves applying pressure to acupuncture points, meridians and groups of muscles. It is particularly well suited to rehabilitation of sports and other injuries.

I like to combine this style of massage with acupuncture, cupping and/or moxibustion when appropriate. It is especially effective in musculoskeletal problems to loosen up an area of stiffness before needling the appropriate points to also heal the condition. It is a very safe therapy which is excellent as an alternative for those frightened of needles.

Babies and young children also respond very well to tui na and parents can be guided as to how to continue treatment at home. Like acupuncture, tui na helps to nourish life by having a positive effect on a baby's physical and mental development.

Effects of Tui Na massage Physiologically:
Analgesic effects of Tui Na: one of the most renowned therapeutic actions of Tui Na is sedation and analgesia. According to the pain gate theory that was proposed in the 1960's, pain control exists in the posterior horn of the spinal cord. The mechanism of analgesia caused by Tui Na massage may lie in that the manipulation stimulates and activates the rough nerve fibre.

Effects on the composition of blood:
Through Tui Na there is an increase in the serum endorphin level with the increase of blood and plays an important role in the analgesic mechanism. Tui Na also causes changes to other blood constituents. There is usually an increase in red blood cells as well as histamine like substances were formed in the skin, promoting the release of white cells.

Effects upon circulatory system:
The influence of Tui Na on the circulatory system is first manifested in the reflexive increase of blood circulation in the area where massage is being administered. The increase in the number of blood capillaries promotes blood circulation and influences the redistribution of blood in the body as the skin temperature becomes elevated indicating the dilation of peripheral blood vessels. Tui Na not only accelerates blood circulation, increases the volume of blood flow, and dilate blood capillaries but also consumes a large amount of lipids on the vascular wall owing to the frictional force during the manipulation, meaning that the vascular elasticity may be restored.

Effects upon digestive system:
This style of massage is widely applied in the treatment of many digestive conditions by improving the absorptive function of the small intestine and increase appetite. Tui Na shows that it can strengthen the gastric peristalsis and relieve pyloric spasm in most individuals.

Effects upon the skin and motor organs:
Tui Na acts directly on the skin. It can eliminate the degenerated epidermic cells, improve skin respiration, benefit the secretion of the sweat glands and sebaceous glands and improve the lustre and elasticity of the skin. At the same time, it can also increase the oxygen needed by the local tissues and increase the excretion of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Such manipulations like plucking and traction can make the muscle fibres extend so as to relieve muscle spasm. The heat produced by the mechanic force applied by the manipulation, dilates the blood capillaries, increases the nutritional supply to the local skin and muscles and improves muscular atrophy and promote the repairing of injured tissues.

Tui Na (Chinese Medical Massage) - Sports Injury Clinic:
The prime purpose of tui na massage is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Above all, it can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often hinder performance and achievement, whether one is an athlete, ardent keep-fitter or a once a week jogger.

This treatment is not just for the sports person: anyone can benefit from tui na massage, including people in physically demanding jobs and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries).

Tui Na with regards to sports injuries tends to be deeper and more intense. It is based on the traditional techniques of tui na massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques.

The skilled practitioner brings together this blend of techniques, knowledge and advice during treatment, to work effectively with the client to bring about optimum performance and to provide injury-free training and minimise post event injuries.

Benefits of Tui Na massage for athletes and sports men & women:
In recent years, the benefits of tui na massage have extended to the Chinese Olympic Gymnastic Team, where tui na is used to the personal and professional benefit of their athletes.

There are three areas where tui na massage is used to benefit athletes.

Maintenance Massage:
A regular tui na treatment programme based on the practitioner's understanding of anatomy and of the muscles used in a given sport and which are likely candidates for trouble. By concentrating on particular muscle groups the practitioner can help the athlete maintain or improve range of motion and muscle flexibility.

Event Massage:
Pre-event and post-event massage therapies are tailored for distinct purposes. Pre-event treatment is used as a supplement to an athlete’s warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It is tailored to the needs of the athlete and his/her event and can be relaxing or stimulating as appropriate.

Post-event massage, on the other hand, is geared towards reducing the muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with rigorous exercise. Various tui na techniques enhance the body’s own recovery process improving the athlete’s ability to return to training and competition, and reducing the risk of injury.

Even with preventative maintenance, muscles cramp, tear, bruise, and ache. Tui Na massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process.

Soft tissue techniques employed by tui na massage practitioner are effective in the management of both acute and chronic injuries.
Trigger point techniques reduce the spasm and pain that occur both in the injured and "compensation" muscles.
Cross-fibre friction techniques can help with healing by improved formation of strong and flexible repair tissue, which is vital in maintaining full pain-free range of motion during rehabilitation. In all cases, such tui na techniques are employed in collaboration with other appropriate medical care.

Acupressure makes use of the system of acupuncture for its success.

The ancient Chinese considered that energy circulated in the body along channels (meridians) beneath the skin. This flow of energy "Qi" has a particular direction in the human body. This is of immense importance when using acupressure as the massage needs to be applied in the direction, with and/or against the flow of the meridian.

General principles of Acupressure:
Acupressure is normally applied to the local tender points which in TCM are called Ah' Shi points (literally translating as "Ouch points"). These can be by deep pressure over the painful area and noting especially those areas that show the most tenderness. From this, by pressing hard enough to elicit some initial tenderness is of great importance to the tui na practitioner as this will lead to a more effective treatment.

The use of acupressure allows the practitioner to stimulate points at which the energy "Qi" flow is blocked simply by applying deep massage to the particular point in the direction or against the direction of the meridian.

Acupressure techniques in Tui Na massage:
There are a vast array of techniques in which a tui na practitioner can stimulate acu-points with either their hands, forearms and elbows.

  • An Fa (Pressing Method): applied either with the thumb, finger(s), knuckles, palms or the heel of the palm. This technique is performed with an even downward pressure.
  • Roa Fa (Kneading Method): applied either with the thumb, finger(s), palms or the heel of the palm. Similar to An Fa except that it combines a circular action with the downward pressing movement.
  • An Roa Fa (Pressing and Kneading Method): this technique is a combination of pressing , kneading and round rubbing all the same time. It has a deeper penetration and is primarily applied using either the forearm or elbow.
  • Yi Zhi Chan Tui Fa (1 Finger Meditating Pushing Method): this is one of a few techniques that distinguishes tui na massage from all other forms of massage. The pressure is applied by the thumb and is used to activate specific acu-points and meridians, facial and neck areas.
  • Ji Dian Fa (Digital Striking Method): applied with the tip of middle finger or thumb, index and middle fingers or all 5 fingers together. Applied to selected points, meridians, joints and large muscle groups.
  • Ya Fa (Suppressing Method): this is similar to An Fa, though stronger and more intense. Usually applied either with the elbow, knee, and sometimes the heel of the foot for deeper penetration.


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