Tui-Na, which literally means "pushing (and)
grasping", is an Oriental Bodywork Therapy that has been
used in China for 2,000 years. Tui-Na uses the
traditional Chinese medical theory of the flow of Qi
through the meridians as its basic therapeutic
orientation. Through the application of massage and
manipulation techniques Tui-Na seeks to establish a more
harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and
collaterals, allowing the body naturally heals itself.
Tui-Na methods include the use of hand techniques to
massage the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the
body, acupressure techniques to directly affect the flow
of Qi , and manipulation techniques to realign the
musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships
(bone-setting). External herbal poultices, compresses,
liniments, and salves are also used to enhance the other
Tui-Na has a variety of different systems that
emphasize particular aspects of these therapeutic
principles. The rolling method which emphasizes soft
tissue techniques and specializes in joint injuries and
muscle sprains, the one finger pushing method which
emphasizes techniques for acupressure and the treatment
of internal diseases, and the bone setting method which
emphasizes manipulation methods to realign the
musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships and
specializes in joint injuries and nerve pain.
In a typical session, the client, wearing loose
clothing and no shoes, lies on a table. The practitioner
examines the specific problems of the client and begins
to apply a specific treatment protocol. The major focus
of application is upon specific pain sites, acupressure
points, energy meridians, and muscles and joints.
Sessions last from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Depending on
the specific problems of the client, they may return for
additional treatments. The client usually feels relaxed
but energized by the treatment.
dates back to the Shang Dynasty of China, 1700 B.C.E.
Oracle bones show that Tui-Na massage was used to treat
children's diseases and digestive complaints in adults.
By 600 C.E. Tui-Na was included in the Imperial Medical
College as a separate department. Tui-Na flourished
throughout China until the Qing Dynasty where it was
suppressed along with other Chinese cultural arts.
in China now includes the art of bone-setting,
one-finger mediation, Tui-Na for the internal organs and
the acupuncture channels, Tui-Na incorporated with
physical exercises, Tui-Na for beauty, Qigong Tui-Na,
self Tui-Na (self treatment with massage), and many
more. The indications for Tui-Na therapy are quite
broad, including most of the diseases covered by
internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics,
sports medicine, etc.
How Tui-Na works
3.1. Regulating Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang are a pair of concepts in
the ancient Chinese philosophy, representing
respectively "exposure to the sun" and
"facing the opposite direction of the sun",
the former situation being yang and the latter yin.
Tui-Na treatment follows the principle of Yin and
Yang so as to get them in relative balance by according
to differential diagnosis, use different manipulations
with stimulations of different degrees which may be
mild, powerful, slow, quick, vigorous or soft in order
to treat the illness of deficiency type by tonifying
3.2. Regulating the Function of Channels and
Collaterals, Qi and Blood and Viscera
The function of the channels and collaterals is to
propel the circulation of qi and blood in order to
nourish yin and yang, and facilitate the
bones, tendons and joints.
Qi has the function of promoting metabolism
and transformation, consolidating the liquid substances
and the organs in the abdominal cavity and warming the
body. Diseases in the qi system are chiefly manifested
in the three forms: stagnation, deficiency, and reversed
flow of qi.
Blood is a red nutritious liquid which flows in the
blood vessels. Circulating throughout the whole body
along the blood vessels, it provides the viscera,
tissues and organs with nutrition to maintain their
normal physiological function.
The modulation of channels and collaterals, qi, blood
and viscera function is accomplished by Tui-Na massage
therapy on the channel and collateral system through
manipulations. Because, in Tui-Na therapy treatment, all
manipulations are used firstly on the superficial
portion of the body to "push the points along
channels and collaterals"; secondly, massage is
directed to the projected superficial portion of the
body corresponding to a certain organ of viscera, thus,
on the one hand, the local effect of manipulation can
produce a direct curative effect on the diseases of
channels and collaterals, qi, blood and viscera
at the manipulated location.
3.3. Recovery of the Function of Tendons, Bones and
In TCM, soft tissues and joints include fascia,
muscle, muscle tendon, tendon sheath, ligament, joint
capsule, synovium, fibrous ring of vertebral disc,
articular cartilage disc and other soft tissues of the
body. Any direct trauma, indirect trauma and long-term
strain can cause them a series of pathogenic changes.
Their injuries can be local bruise, muscle sprain,
fibrous rupture, tendon avulsion, slipped tendon,
ligament rupture, laceration of joint capsule,
semi-dislocation of bones, joint dislocation,
chondroclasis and joint or soft tissue strain, etc. Tui-Na
therapy has quite a good curative effect on all the
above mentioned illnesses by (a) relaxing muscles,
tendons, dredging the channels and collaterals; (b)
restoring, treating injured soft tissues, reducing
dislocated joints and (c) tripping adhesion, dredging
3.4.The Tonifying and Purging Function of Massage
Tui-Na massage treatment takes manipulation as the
most important means. In the course of diagnosis and
treatment, according to the deficiency and excess of the
patientís condition of constitution and illness, Tui-Na
therapist can make choice among such manipulations as
tonifying, purging, mediating, exciting or restraining.
all those manipulation mentioned above concerning
tonifying and purging are relative and changeable in
their clinical practice, so flexible application and
differentiation should be made in accordance with the
specific conditions. This will be decided by the
experiences of practitioner
is well suited for the treatment of many disorders. The
major benefits from Tui-Na include improvement of the
circulatory system, flexibility to the muscular system, relieving pain and
enhancing bodyís energy, regulating the nervous system
functions, increasing the functions of immune system,
improving quality of sleep, and relief of stress,
depression, anxiety and irritation.