What Is Tui Na Bodywork Therapy?

Tui na or Tuina is a Chinese Bodywork Therapy that’s been practiced for over 2,000 years. It utilizes the classical Chinese medical concept of Chi or energy flow energy channels (called meridians) as its fundamental healing orientation. Via the application of manipulation and massage techniques, Tui Na aims to bring about a more balanced flow of Chi through a system of collaterals and channels, giving the body the means to heal itself naturally.

The procedures used in Tui Na include bone setting or manipulation procedures to realign the ligamentous and musculoskeletal systems, acupressure methods to directly impact Chi circulation, and the use of massage manual techniques to the tendons and muscles and the other soft tissue in the body. To augment the treatment, external herbal salves, liniments, compresses, and poultices are also used.

Tui Na therapy uses a diverse range of systems that espouse certain elements of these healing principles. In China, the major medical schools have integrated the rolling method which specializes in muscle sprains and joint injuries, advocated soft tissue procedures, promoted the one finger pushing method that stresses techniques for the treatment of internal diseases, and the use of acupressure. These schools also promote the Nei Gung method that emphasizes the practice of Nei Gong Chi energy generation exercises and certain massage techniques for refreshing exhausted energy systems, the bone setting technique that advances manipulation procedures to realign the ligamentous and musculoskeletal systems and specializes in nerve pain and joint injuries.

During a Tui Na Therapy Session

The client wears no shoes and loose clothing in a typical session. He is told to lie on a floor mat or table. The client’s specific problems are then examined by a practitioner who starts to apply a certain type of treatment protocol. Areas targeted for treatment include the joints and muscles, acupressure points, and specific areas of pain. To facilitate faster healing, practitioners of advanced Tui Na may also utilize Chinese herbs. A treatment session may from 30 minutes to an hour. The client may need to come back for additional treatments based on the type of problem he’s suffering from. After the treatment, the client usually ends up relaxed and energized.

Growing Popularity

Tui Na therapy is fast becoming a popular form of treatment in the US. It is a powerful complementary treatment for conventional western massage procedures. Its focus on specific problems instead of being a more generalized therapy and its simplicity make it both an ideal extension and/or alternative of Swedish-style massage. By using shorter treatments, Tui na can be used in a lot of settings, including hospitals, clinics, or homes. It is an appropriate form of treatment for both the active, health conscious person and for the professional massage therapist.

You can search for a Tuina practitioner near your area by calling or going online and searching for the Acupuncture Colleges of the American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association.


The history of Tui Na therapy goes as far back as 1700 B.C in China to the Shang Dynasty of China. Oracle bones suggest that tui na massage was used for the treatment of children’s digestive complaints and diseases in both adults and children. It was integrated as a separate department in the Imperial Medical College Imperial Medical College by 600 A.D. The therapy prospered all over China until the Ch’ing Dynasty where along with other Chinese cultural arts it was strictly restrained. After the Communists came into power, tui na, along with other classical medical arts, was reestablished and integrated into the current system of Traditional Medicine Colleges.

Today, tui na is taught in the important traditional Chinese medical schools as an equal but separate field of study. Tui na physicians acquire the same rigorous training as herbalists and acupuncturists in Fort Lauderdale and garner the same degree of professional respect.

This entry was posted in Acupuncture and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.