Tuina massage for specific health problems is based on a full TCM case history using the four examinations to identify a complaint, an underlying pattern and treatment principles. This completely logical analysis is what gives the Tuina its power and raises it above other systems of massage. Based on the treatment principles, specific techniques are combined to treat the presenting complaint and underlying pattern.
Techniques are at the heart of any system of bodywork. They are what define its feel and therapeutic qualities. Most textbooks on Chinese Massage list between 30 and 70 shou fa or hand techniques. These cover not only a range of soft issue techniques, but also many percussion and joint manipulation methods. The massage therapist can apply hand techniques to particular areas, channels, or acupoints, achieving similar results to acupuncture needles.
Equally important is the way the techniques are carried out. Chinese sources say that the hand technique must be gentle and soft yet deep and penetrating. The strokes must be applied rhythmically and persistently. The controlled use of very deep, moving pressure is one of the secrets of Tuina massage. A Tuina therapist might spend the same time on one frozen shoulder as a western masseur would spend on an entire body treatment. The repeated application of a single technique many hundreds of times with deep penetration and qi communication is often termed “finger meditation”.
Acupressure is an ancient healing art developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago. It is a branch of traditional Chinese medicine which emphasizes preventing illness and treating the whole person. Acupressure uses the power and sensitivity of human touch to eliminate stress, relieve pain and alleviate acute and chronic conditions. It is a science that deals with the human body and the flow of natural energy within the body. Pressure is applied on different pressure points on the body, stimulating the corresponding glands of the body.
Fingers are used to press key points on the surface of the skin which stimulates the body's natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body's life force to aid healing. Acupressure uses the gentle but firm pressure of hands (and even elbows). Acupressure can be the most effective method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand.
Headaches, eyestrain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, and tension due to stress are all conditions acupressure can effectively help relieve.
Acupoints used in the acupressure treatment may be in the same area of the body as the targeted symptom, but it may not always be the same. The TCM theory for the selection of such points and their effectiveness is that they work by stimulating the meridian system to bring about relief by rebalancing yin, yang and qi.