Tuina (Tui Na) is a bodywork therapy that has been used in China for 2,000 years. Tuina 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. Tuina seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of Qi through the system of channels and collaterals, allowing the body naturally heal itself. Tuina 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 therapeutic methods.
In a typical treatment, the client, wearing loose clothing and no shoes, lies on a table or floor mat. 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. Advanced Tuina practitioners may also use Chinese herbs to facilitate quicker healing. Treatments may last from 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Depending on the specific problems of the client, they may return for additional treatments. The client usually feels relaxed but energized by the treatment. Tuina is now being popularized in the United States as a powerful therapeutic extension of traditional western massage methods. Tuina's simplicity and focus on specific problems, rather than a more generalized treatment, make it both an excellent alternative and extension of the Swedish-style massage.
Tuina is well suited for the treatment of specific musculoskeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems. Tuina is not especially useful for those seeking a mild, sedating and relaxing massage since it tends to be more task focused than other types of bodywork. Contraindications include conditions involving fractures, phlebitis, infectious conditions, open wounds, and lesions.