Tui na or tuina (pronounced (tōō·ē nä)) is a hands-on body treatment that uses the practitioner’s hands to diagnose through palpation and treat diseases and illnesses with a variety of manual techniques.
The Tui-Na practitioner will then tailor-make a treatment protocol to each individual patient based on the specifics of their particular situation to effect a cure. The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press, and rub the areas between each of the joints, known as the eight gates, to attempt to open the body’s defensive (wei) qi and get the energy moving in the meridians and the muscles. The practitioner may also use range of motion, traction, and massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points. These techniques aid in the treatment of both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Tui na is an integral part of TCM and is taught in TCM schools as part of formal training in Oriental medicine.
Tui-Na’s Chinese origins lie some two thousand years ago with the advent of the canonical texts Huang Di Nei Jing (a classical text we still study in California) and Huang Di Qi Bo Anmo Jing. At that time in Chinese history, manual therapy was known as “an-mo” [an – to press, mo – to grind]. The Huang Di Nei Jing made reference to some dozen or so manual therapy techniques as an effective treatment method for problems such as arthralgia (bi) syndromes, flaccidity (wei) syndromes, deviation of the eye and mouth, and stomachache.
During the Han Dynasty, the famed physician, Zhang Zhongjing, expounded on the idea of massaging patients with certain medicated ointments in his legendary text, Jin Kui Yao Lue (Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet). This type of manual therapy was called “gao mo”.