Tui Na 推拿, Gua Sha 刮痧 & Cupping therapy 拔罐

Tui Na: 推拿

Tui Na literally translated as “push and grab” is a therapeutic massage treatment which involves many techniques incorporated into a practitioner’s tuina treatment. With the specific techniques, the practitioner manipulates the joints, muscles, tendons and soft tissue of the body to elicit a harmonized fresh flow of blood and or interstitial fluid to such areas. A practitioner does this in order to help the body circulate healthy blood and fluid to the injured site which catalyzes a healing response. During a tuina treatment, movements such as rolling, brushing, kneading and rubbing are used from head to toe and especially in the areas between each of the joints, known as the eight gates, to attempt to open the body’s defensive qi (Wei Qi) and inherently forcing fresh blood to the massaged area.

This type of massage is again therapeutic and so not always relaxing, and gentle nor the least bit gentle. The movements and manipulation that are done by a practitioner may feel uncomfortable and even too much to bear. Most tuina practitioners in the occidental west know to temper their techniques so patients do not experience a great deal of discomfort during their massage. However if you’ve ever had the delight of receiving a real tuina treatment in China, although absolutely painful and unbearable at times, you should remember how you felt a few hours and even a few days after; sore, relaxed and refreshed.

In China as well as other countries all over the world, tuina massages are practiced on people of all ages, and mostly used for babies and the elderly. Pediatric units in China incorporate tuina as a standard for providing non-invasive yet highly effective treatments for babies suffering from disharmonies such as diarrhea, allergies, cholic and torticollis. What a great option for both parents and babies! Of course you should conclude at this point that the type of massage a baby is receiving and an adult is receiving are entirely different in terms of the pressure applied. Definitely babies love receiving tuina massages, just as we all (or mostly all) do.

Gua Sha: 刮痧

Gua Sha is a therapy that mixes the techniques of massage with the goals of acupuncture. Gua sha (see link: involves a scraping type massage with repeated pressure on the skin lubricated with a specific tool. The skin is typically lubricated with massage oil and commonly a ceramic spoon Chinese soup is used for scraping. On the physical level, it is used to move stagnant blood and lymph, which is very effective in cases of injuries, poor circulation, cold, migraine and others.

The smooth edge is placed against the surface of the skin with oil, pressed firmly to the skin and moved along the muscles. The spoon is scraped along the skin surface. During and after the treatment there is extravasation of peripheral blood capillaries which may lead to subcutaneous hematoma (bruising). The bruising usually takes 2-4 days to disappear. It is recommended to not swim or bath in deep water, as the skin is very sensitive and exposed. Always keep the area that has been treated covered with clothing.

Cupping therapy拔罐

It is a therapy used in Chinese medicine by which a suction cup is placed on the surface of the skin to cause a local movement of blood and lymph. This method serves to warm and promote circulation of qi and blood in the body, reducing swelling and pain, and disperse the cold and damp. In short, the application of the suction cups is used to move blood and lymph stagnant since the muscle and other tissues.