Archaeological studies have unearthed evidence of Tuina massage dating back to around 2700 BC, making it the forerunner of all other forms of massage and body work that exist today, from shiatsu to osteopathy. The most famous ancient text on Chinese medicine‚ Huangdi Neijing‚ (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic) completed between the first century BC and the first century AD includes records of the use of massage techniques and how they should be used in the treatment of certain diseases.
During the Sui (AD 581-618) and Tang (AD 618-906) dynasties a department of massage therapy was founded within the Office of Imperial Physicians and the practice and teaching of Chinese massage therapy continued to blossom. Dr Sun Simiao introduced a further ten massage techniques and systematized the treatment of childhood diseases using massage therapy.
In the Song dynasty (AD 960-1279) and the Yuan dynasty (AD 1280-1368), an intensive analysis of Chinese massage techniques was undertaken and the therapy was further refined. It becomes the major form of treatment in the bone-setting and pediatric departments at the Institute of Imperial Physicians.
The Ming dynasty (AD 1368-1644) saw the next great flourish of massage therapy. It was during this time that it took the name Tuina. Many texts were written during this period, particularly on pediatric Tuina, which had become hugely popular.
In the early part of the twentieth century, traditional Chinese medicine began to suffer greatly. This was due to competition form the mainly symptomatic treatments of Western medicine. Between 1912-48, during the rule of Kuomintang, doctors trained in Western medicine, returned to China from Japan and recommended that traditional Chinese medicine be banned. Fortunately, this was rejected at the National Medical Assembly in Shanghai on the 17th March 1929, thanks to massive lobbying. This day is remembered each year and celebrated as Chinese Doctors’ Day.
Mao Zedong was also against traditional Chinese medicine until the Long March of 1934-35. There were no drugs, anesthetics or surgery available, and doctors of traditional Chinese medicine came to the rescue, achieving amazing results with vast numbers of wounded and sick soldiers.
From this time on, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) had its feet planted firmly on the ground of modern medicine and, under the People’s Republic of China established in 1948, all the departments of TCM were nurtured and encouraged to grow. In 1956, the first official training course in Tuina massage was opened in Shanghai; other hospitals followed suit, opening their own Tuina departments. By 1974 there were Tuina hospital departments all over China.
As Tuina massage developed over the centuries, several styles or schools evolved along the way. Tuina practitioners use different techniques for stimulating meridians, relaxing muscles, relieving pain and stretching joints. Generally speaking, Tuina techniques fall into two broad styles – Yin and Yang.
Tuina massage is effective at relieving a wide range of common health problems. It is a branch of Chinese medicine, which treats the underlying causes of pain and illness as well as the symptoms. Tuina massage can be very relaxing; it is particularly useful for stress related conditions. Like other forms of massage it can be used in a preventative manner, to encourage the movement of Qi (energy) and Blood. At our Worcester clinic it can also be used in combination with the other branches of traditional Chinese medicine such as Acupuncture and Exercise therapy.
Chinese ‘Tuina’ Massage is successfully used for a very wide range of conditions. Among the more commonly treated disorders are:
- Muscular/skeletal Conditions:
Lower back pain, disc problems, neck and shoulder pain, sciatica, soft tissue injuries, sports injuries, sprains, RSI, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscular and joint pain (including knee, ankle, foot), stiffness/restricted mobility and arthritis.
- Gynecological/Menstrual Problems:
Painful periods, Pre-menstrual Syndrome, Irregular periods, Menopausal Syndrome, Fibroids, ovarian cysts, fertility issues.
- Digestive Problems:
Constipation, IBS, bloating, abdominal, epigastric and flank pain, nausea.
Asthma, cough, sinusitis, common cold, hay fever.
- Neurological Disorders:
Headaches/migraine, dizziness, numbness, hemiplegia, MS.
- Post stroke Symptoms:
Weakness, numbness, tingling and paralysis of the limbs.
- General Low Immunity:
ME, post viral syndrome and general fatigue.
- Mental/Emotional Disorders:
Anxiety, depression, insomnia, poor concentration.
- Cardiovascular Disorders:
Hypertension (high blood pressure), palpitations, Raynaud’s syndrome and chest pain.
- Children’s Diseases:
Poor digestion, colic, poor appetite, constipation, diarrhea, frequent coughs and colds. Asthma, Infantile Eczema, Enuresis (bed-wetting), poor sleep, teething related problems, fever, infantile convulsions.
Chinese ‘Tuina’ 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 or cupping techniques. A sheet or towel is also used to cover the patient. We 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 techniques for which the practitioner may use their hands, elbows, knees and/or feet. In addition to the massage, at our clinic in Worcester we may also use other Chinese therapeutic techniques such as:
- Moxibustion: Treats and prevents diseases by the application of heat to points or certain locations on the body. The material used is mainly ‘moxa-wool’, which is a dried herb related to Mugwort and usually in the form of a cone or stick. It is mainly is used to warm, expel cold and damp and to keep good health.
- Gua Sha: A popular treatment in China whereby the patient’s neck, chest or back is rubbed vigorously to cause local stagnation which increases blood flow clears energy blockages and clears excess heat.
- Cupping Therapy: A jar is placed on the surface of the skin to cause local congestion, through the removal of the air in the jar. This method promotes the free flow of Qi and Blood in the channels, diminishes swellings and pains and dispels cold and dampness.
- Herbal liniments:These are applied directly to the skin in combination with Tuina massage to reduce swelling and inflammation. As well as restoring circulation to the affected area by dispersing any blockages of Qi or Blood.