Tuina Explained

Errol Lynch, Touch Tuina Founder

Tuina Explained

Tuina, or Tui-na (pronounced twee-nah) originated in China and dates back to around 2300 BC. It’s the oldest known form of massage and is one of the four main branches of traditional Chinese medicine, the other three being acupuncture, Chinese herbs and qi gong, which uses exercise to optimise energy within the body, mind and spirit.

Tuina is based on the theory that imbalances of qi, which focusses on the body’s vital life force of energy, can cause blockages or imbalances that can lead to pain or illness, so Tuina massage helps to stimulate the flow of qi to aid balance and harmony within the body.

Inside Touch Tuina Kentish Town

How does it work?

Literally translated, Tuina means ‘pinch and pull’ and generally follows the body’s acupuncture points, targeting specific channels and looks at the underlying causes of pain and illness as well as the symptoms. Although the massage principles focus on deep tissue and as such can sometimes be a little painful, Tuina massage can also be very relaxing and can be very effective in relieving anxiety and stress, promoting relaxation and ultimately aiding sleep.

As well as being very effective in relieving pain through the application of massage and manipulation techniques, Tuina can also be used as a maintenance tool, preventing problems before they arise by encouraging the movement of energy and blood and keeping muscles supple and free in their movement. It’s often used in conjunction with the other branches of Chinese medicine such as acupuncture and herbs in order to promote a complete spectrum of health within the body, promoting the means to naturally heal itself.

Chinese herbs are part of the Tuina therapeutic treatment

What is it like?

Tuina is similar to traditional massage techniques in that it focuses on manipulating and repairing the areas of the body that are causing pain, however, as well as addressing the immediate issues, Tuina also identifies the root causes in the body, mind and spirit and works on these too.

So although the core of a treatment will revolve around massage and manipulation, it may also include acupuncture, stretching of the body, head massage, heat cabinet treatment, cupping and the prescription of traditional herbs.

During a treatment session, a practitioner will use oscillating and pressure techniques that will vary in force and speed, according to the patient’s specific needs, so you may experience a stronger deep tissue massage or a more gentle, energetic treatment. The practitioner will massage the muscles and tendons, use manipulation techniques to realign the body and passive joint movements to restore correct function to muscles and joints.

Tuina massage uses techniques such as acupressure, myofascial release and reflexology and sometimes techniques that are common to osteopathy and chiropractic, such as stretching and joint mobilisations.

As with some other forms of treatment, such as Shiatsu, Tuina is traditionally practiced on fully-clothed patients. For the best results, patients should wear loose, comfortable clothing so that the practitioner can easily move all joints through their full range of motion.

Practitioner Adrian Skervin treating a patient at the Touch Tuina Kentish Town clinic

What can Tuina treat?

Although Touch Tuina is well-known for treating sports injuries and enhancing athletic ability across a wide range of disciplines, such as football, tennis and boxing, Tuina massage can be used to treat injuries, pain and strains across all areas of the body for people from all walks of life.

Some of the specific areas Tuina can effectively treat include neck and back pain, muscle strains, postural misalignment, knee joints, sports injuries, tennis elbow, ankle & wrist strains, sciatica, carpal tunnel, headaches, migraines, arthritis, osteoporosis, stress, digestive conditions and respiratory conditions. Administering the correct blends of herbs can also be very effective in tackling the effects of long covid.

As one of the main functions of Tuina massage is to boost blood flow and circulation, it’s very effective in producing and maintaining a greater feeling of health and well-being, enabling the body to function better on all levels. Most patients who experience Tuina massage for the first time will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly their particular body issues will start to improve and how long-lasting the effects can be.

Acupuncture is just one of the treatments on offer at Touch Tuina Kentish Town

Next steps

If you’re experiencing any of the issues mentioned above and seeking effective and long-lasting treatment, why not book an appointment to come into one of our clinics to see a practitioner. You’ll find a relaxed and welcoming environment, where you’ll be made to feel like one of our family.

In the first instance, we’ll sit down with you and go through the history of your issues and any other issues you’ve been treated for previously and devise the best course of treatment to suit your needs. We’re confident that once you visit us you’ll leave feeling much better and very happy that you did!