With so many different kinds of massage offered today, one can get lost trying to remember what they’re all specifically useful for and which each one is. Like most other forms of massage, Tui Na therapy works by applying pressure, kneading, or rubbing your muscles, in order to bring about a therapeutic effect. The difference with Tui Na and other kinds of massage is that it is based on TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine which makes its approach a bit different from other types of massage.
A branch of TCM, Tui Na was developed about 5,000 years ago in China. Today, the Chinese use it as a primary form of medicinal treatment, and is seen as the basis for other modalities used in western society like acupressure and shiatsu.
TCM considers your body as a whole; not distinct isolated parts separately working with each other but instead is one continuous being that’s connected not only to itself in every way, but also to the universe and everything existing in the universe as well. Tui Na therapy applies massage to the same parts of your body and muscles as do other massages, but the person can start to experience how a holistic approach quickly makes the therapy even more unique. In addition, TCM is viewed in part by energy channels (meridians) and in theories like the 5 Elements Theory that help determine a person’s diagnosis for therapeutic purposes.
In order to underline the differences, an example might be in order: if you’re suffering from shoulder or neck pain, the energy channel or meridian that’s probably affected is your Gall Bladder meridian (we capitalize ‘Gall Bladder’ to differentiate from the organ’s Western scientific definition). Understanding the meridians in TCM will tell your Tui Na practitioner that some acupuncture points on your lower legs or feet may help with the treatment. Also, knowing the Five Elements Theory may tell your practitioner to use one or a couple of points on your hand and wrist. Other forms of massage would never consider treating the same points, and certainly would not use the same reasoning.
Tui Na therapy may not be necessarily superior to other massage approaches, just simply different in its use. This TCM massage is often used in the West, as an adjunct to herbal medicine, qi gong, cupping therapy, and acupuncture, and so a licensed or qualified TCM Practitioner in Maitland may integrate some form of Tui Na in your treatment. Make sure to seek treatment from a qualified therapist who is familiar about the wide range of different TCM treatments.