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Tui Na: Massage To Awaken Body And Mind
This clear, step-by-step guide introduces Tui Na, a Chinese system of therapy that uses massage and manipulation to relieve pain, release tension and treat common ailments.
Clear illustrations outline the meridian energy channels and qi (life energy) points, while step-by-step photographs demonstrate each technique. Ideal for improving sporting performance, alleviating executive stress or simply invigorating body and mind, Tui Na can be used on friends, family or colleagues, at home or at work, and is suitable for any age, young or old.
A Note From The Author
I discovered Tui Na during my own personal quest for a therapy to relieve crippling pain.
As a child I suffered from a degenerative disease that affected my hip. While living in Indonesia for four years, I discovered the healing powers of deep oriental massage, and trained as a massage therapist. As the years went by, standing and walking even for short distances caused me pain. In 1987, Western medicine could only offer me painkillers and a hip replacement operation.
But instead of going to hospital for surgery, I travelled to China to learn Tui Na. The skilful, patient doctors of traditional medicine gave me the treatment and tuition that I needed and opened a wonderful new chapter in my life.
At that time, few people in the West had heard of Tui Na, although acupuncture and herbal medicine were available. So extraordinary was Tui Na’s effect on me, it became my mission in life to bring it within the reach of everyone in the West. I studied, worked and travelled back to China time and again to learn Tui Na and acupuncture from Chinese doctors in hospitals and clinics in Shanghai, Weihai, Xi’an, Beijing and Jinan.
In response to a growing interest in Tui Na and acupuncture, I established the teaching side of the BODYHARMONICS® Centre, where we run regular training courses. Over the decades, I have trained hundreds of students in Tui Na and acupuncture (www.bodyharmonics.co.uk).
I have treated many people with disabling conditions where other forms of medicine could do little to help and have found that there is a real alternative to living on painkillers or having surgery. Tui Na has changed my life and the lives of many of my patients, and also my students and their patients. I hope that it can do the same for you.
Maria Mercati is an internationally renowned teacher and therapist in Tui Na, Thai massage, acupuncture and Indonesian massage. Having trained extensively throughout Asia, she founded BODYHARMONICS®, an integrated approach to therapy which blends Chinese, Thai and Indonesian treatment methods to promote health and harmony.
Tui Na massage applies pressure to the meridians and specific points on them called ‘qi-points’ or acupressure points. Acupuncturists call them ‘acupoints’. Tui Na affects the flow of qi so that it moves freely, evenly and powerfully around the body. The distribution and intensity of qi within your body have profound effects on all aspects of your well-being – the emotional, intellectual and spiritual, as well as the physical.
Chinese medicine views all disease as caused by weakness, imbalances and blockages in the flow of qi. When your qi-flow is balanced you feel full of energy, stress-free and able to cope with the pressures of daily life. You will be free from stiffness, aches and pains, and so full of vitality that you ‘sparkle’. Hopefully, most of us have experienced this wonderful feeling of well-being at some point in our lives. The secret of Chinese medicine is how to maintain it.
FACTORS AFFECTING QI-FLOW
Many physical and emotional factors disturb the flow of qi in the body, and these can be divided into two broad categories: excesses or deficiencies. Excesses, common in the Western lifestyle, include stress, overwork and general overindulgence, while common deficiencies are poor diet, insufficient exercise and lack of sleep. Pressure to cope with deadlines, be successful and achieve status within a peer group can create an imbalance between the output necessary to reach your goals and the input that will restore mind and body. Such an imbalance can lead to overconsumption of sugar-rich foods and stimulants such as coffee or fizzy drinks to enhance the ‘output’. Alcohol, recreational drugs and even too much sex can be substitutes for relaxation.
In the Chinese view, extreme emotions negatively affect organ function and qi balance throughout the body. It’s healthy to experience emotion, but too much excitement can overstimulate the flow of qi, causing feelings of restlessness and insomnia, for example, while holding on to worry, feelings of anger and frustration can lead to depression. These relationships are explained in chapter 2.
All excesses and deficiencies are disruptive to the qi-balancing process. In contrast, good sleep, relaxation, regular exercise, good diet and happy relationships all promote and strengthen the smooth flow of qi.
Although the ideal is to create balance and harmony in every aspect of our lives, this can be extremely difficult to maintain. Tui Na is a powerful way of helping to achieve that balance and harmony.
HEALING POWERS IN PRACTICE
Tui Na works holistically to promote qi-flow throughout the body. A practitioner will ask questions about a patient’s health and lifestyle, while observing their physical condition. This will reveal their qi, jing, shen, blood, body fluid and yin/yang status (see pages 16–17) so that appropriate meridians and qi-points can be the focus of the Tui Na treatment.
For musculoskeletal pain, the practitioner palpates the painful areas to identify the most affected meridians and the qi-points that must be used for the treatment. During the massage, feedback from the patient on what feels good, or painful, guides the practitioner to the qi- points and the amount of pressure to use.
TUI NA FOR EVERYONE
Throughout China, Tui Na is practised from cradle to old age. Babies and younger children do not have fully mature meridian systems, and additional points and techniques have been developed for them. It is a very safe therapy: if pressure is applied in the wrong place, for example, it may not achieve the desired results
but no harm will be done. Massage treatment may not be suitable, however, for people with certain serious health conditions (see page 62 for contraindications).
In this book, wherever a treatment described is contraindicated for certain conditions, it carries a caution note.
Tui Na’s unique techniques that focus on the meridians and specific qi-points make it particularly effective for treating muscle and joint pain resulting from sports injury, wear and tear, arthritis or any other cause. All massage therapies aid relaxation, but, in addition to relaxing the muscles, Tui Na also manipulates qi-flow in the meridians and their qi-points to balance the underlying energetics of the body to achieve healing and regeneration.
Tui Na has the power to boost energy where there is qi and blood deficiency, as well as to clear blockages that have caused qi and blood stagnation.
Tui Na is excellent for a variety of ailments and conditions, including stress-related disorders. It also boosts vitality and well-being, which in turn stimulates the immune system and improves general health.
This book shows you useful techniques to help relieve pain and the symptoms of many common ailments. However, it does not replace professional healthcare and you should always consult a qualified practitioner or doctor if symptoms persist.
A TUI NA TREATMENT
The massage is best given through cotton clothing to facilitate its effectiveness. Traditional Tui Na techniques do not require the use of oils. The room should be warm. During the massage, the receiver either sits on an upright chair or lies on a massage couch, depending on which part of the body is being treated. Chapter 5, page 82, explains preparing for treatment in more detail.
To be effective, many Tui Na techniques are vigorous and need to be applied with reasonable pressure. If there is a significant problem, they will initially feel slightly uncomfortable or even painful. This discomfort will ease as the massage progresses and more qi and blood are brought to the affected area to remove stagnation. After the treatment, the tissues and muscles should feel relaxed, invigorated and less painful.
Uniquely, Tui Na, with its focus on meridians and qi-points, stimulates the entire musculoskeletal system, while also supporting healthy function of all the internal organs. Since Tui Na rebalances qi-flow, the mind and the emotions will also be affected. In most cases, a Tui Na treatment will leave the recipient feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. The massage can sometimes release blocked emotions, with the effect that the receiver may feel ‘weepy’ or emotional after the treatment. If this should happen, the Chinese way is to acknowledge these emotions, and then to let them go.
This book explains the Chinese view of health and the causes of disease, and shows you how to give a holistic whole-body Tui Na treatment to a partner, as well as techniques for treating common ailments and conditions. Chapter 2 explains the theories of traditional Chinese medicine and how these differ from the Western medical approach.
In Chapter 3, the twelve meridians and their energetic relationships (and the two ‘extraordinary’ ones used in Tui Na) are illustrated and explained, with clear descriptions to enable you to find the qi-points – the points on the meridians where qi can be most easily manipulated.
Chapter 4 concentrates on the basic techniques used in Tui Na massage. It starts with soft tissue techniques: applying either static pressure or pressure with movement to the body tissues, in order to improve qi and blood flow to strengthen the body and remove stagnation. These soft tissue techniques include pulling, pushing, squeezing and kneading. The second part of chapter 4 deals with joint manipulation techniques, which are similar to those used in osteopathy and chiropractice but give the added benefit of regulating qi and blood flow. You will need to familiarize yourself with all the techniques so that you can apply them when they are used in the treatments in chapters 5 and 6.
The whole-body routine presented in chapter 5 provides step-by-step instructions for giving a Tui Na treatment to a partner. The routine starts with treatments on the neck and shoulders, and then works on the arms, back, legs and feet, ending with Tui Na on the trunk and head.
One of the strengths of Tui Na is its application to muscle and joint injury, as described in chapter 6. This chapter also presents treatments for some common ailments and conditions, and Tui Na that is particularly suitable for infants, adolescents and the elderly. There are some techniques and qi-points that you can use effectively on yourself. These are described in a self-massage routine, which, used daily, will increase your energy levels, boost your immune system and promote health and well-being.
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Tui Na: Massage to awaken body and mind
This clear, step-by-step guide introduces Tui Na, a Chinese system of therapy that uses massage and manipulation
to relieve pain, release tension and treat common ailments. Clear illustrations outline the meridian energy channels and qi (life energy) points, while step-by-step photographs demonstrate each technique. Ideal for improving sporting performance, alleviating executive stress or simply invigorating body and mind, Tui Na can be used on friends, family or colleagues, at home or at work, and is suitable for any age, young or old.