Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Tui na

What is therapeutic massage (tui na)?

The term tui na (pronounced "twee naw"), which literally means "pinch and pull," refers to a wide range of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapeutic massage and body work.

Tui na is not generally used for pleasure and relaxation, but rather as a treatment to address specific patterns of disharmony. As such, practitioners use it for many of the same reasons and according to the same principles as acupuncture. Like acupuncture, TCM uses tui na to harmonize yin and yang in the body by manipulating the Qi in the acupuncture channels.

Tui na includes what is popularly known as "acupressure," where practitioners use finger pressure instead of needles to stimulate the acupuncture points.

When is tui na used?

Tui na is one of the most popular TCM treatment modalities and is frequently used in the treatment of superficial trauma and injury and a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems. Tui na is also often used when acupuncture is inappropriate, such as with children, when it is referred to as "Chinese pediatric massage therapy."

TCM practitioners will frequently encourage and instruct patients to do self massage and certain exercises at home. This solidifies and expands the benefits created during treatment sessions.

Self massage and stretching are considered important aspects of self healthcare.

Expert Contributor: 
Christopher Hafner, L.Ac.

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