Tui Na Chinese Massage

Last Updated: Tuesday 18th November 2008

©Neil Kingham

Print Version

It is strange that not many of us in the West have heard of Tui Na, as it is one of the main branches of Chinese medicine, alongside Acupuncture and Herbalism. It is some 3000 years old, and many modern massage styles such as Swedish massage and Shiatsu are derived from it. In China hospitals have whole wards devoted to treatment by Tui Na, and it is a very commonly used therapy.
The theory of Tui Na is the same as that of Acupuncture, so it has the same detailed diagnostic methods and complex understanding of the body and mind. This is what marks it as separate from most other massage. In Tui Na, the therapy is inseperable from the theory.

Tui Na therapists use their hands and arms to work with the muscles, joints and energy meridians, affecting both the physical structure of the body and the Qi. As well as what you would recognise as massage techniques, various types of 'acupressure' are used to stimulate the acupoints. As with all the Chinese arts, styles of Tui na range from Yang (strong, vigorous and penetrating) to Yin (gentle and relaxing). A good therapist will work at different places along this range depending on the person and condition being treated.
Tui Na excels in the treatment of physical problems such as back-ache, sciatica, frozen shoulder, RSI, tennis elbow, whiplash etc. and can also be successfully used for a wide range of internal conditions. As a kind of 'acupuncture without needles' it is suitable for respiratory, circulatory, digestive, mental-emotional and hormonal problems to name a few. It is also of great benefit in maintaining health and dealing with stress.
Tui Na is very pleasant to receive, and should never be unduly painful, even when working deeply. Normally the techniques are performed through cloth, though you may be asked to partially undress if oils or lotions are to be used. Treatments are often scheduled weekly for chronic conditions, though you can also benefit a great deal from a one-off treatment.

Neil Kingham

Neil Kingham has been involved in the Chinese healing arts for over 12 years. Neil holds Acupuncture and Tui Na qualifications from prominent British colleges, and a certificate in Traditional Chinese Nutrition from Yao San university in Los Angeles. He has also completed an advanced clinical internship in China at the Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
He practices in and around Bristol and South Wales: Central Bristol, Portishead, Chepstow, Usk and Crickhowell.

Neil can be contacted via his website at