Tui Na massage: Qi-flow balancing through a Chinese ancient healing art
As many sedentary workers know, sitting all day in front of a computer can be very tiring and, absorbed in our work hour after hour, we can easily keep bad positions for our spine. Add this to a couple of weeks overwork and a stressing routine, and the result is a general sense of tiredness, lack of energy, back-aches, neck and shoulder pains. I was looking for an effective remedy to this problem without recurring to a western practitioner as an osteopath, a chiropractor, a physiotherapist or a sport therapist, when I discovered the benefits of Tui Na massage thanks to Santosh, a martial artist I met at the Shaolin Temple UK in London, who is also a professional registered practitioner with over 4 years experience of treating clients using acupuncture, Tui Na massage and a range of other methods such as manipulation, cupping, moxibustion, auricular acupuncture and guasha. After a first consultation in her studio, Santosh explained to me that my condition could be effectively and quickly treated by a combination of treatments, involving acupuncture, Tui Na massage and cupping. I was already familiar with acupuncture, and I already knew about cupping as well – even if I had never tried it. But Tui Na massage was completely new to me, so, I booked my treatment for a first trial.
WHAT IS TUI NA MASSAGE?
As Santosh explained to me, Tui Na massage is one of the ancient healing arts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture and herbal medicine. The earliest writings on Chinese medicine are in the Nei Ching, translated as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, dating back to 2300BC. This monumental treatise has several chapters on massage. Although Tui Na has been practised in China for more than 4,000 years, and is available today in hospitals and clinics throughout the country, it is only now becoming known in the West. Tui Na massage is performed by the use of trigger points to reverse blockages of qi along acupuncture meridians: the pushing and pulling of various muscles, tendons and bones re-establishes or redirects the flow of Qi and re-creates bodily harmony.
HOW TUI NA MASSAGE WORKS FOR STRESS RELIEF
The name Tui Na comes from the Chinese and conveys the vigorous nature of this hands-on healing system: “Tui” means “push” and Na” means “grasp”. Tui Na is more effective than any of the above quoted Western practices since it works not only on the muscles and joints, but also at a deeper level, affecting the flow of vital life energy in the body. In Chinese theory, this vital energy, Qi, permeates the whole universe, and in the body it flows in channels, called Meridians, supplying energy to all the organs and body tissues, and the mind. Tui Na applies pressure to the Meridians and specific points on them, affecting the flow of Qi so that it moves freely and evenly through the body. The distribution of Qi within your body has profound effects on all aspects of your well-being – the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual, as well as the physical. Chinese medicine views all diseases as caused by imbalances and blockages in the flow of Qi. When your Qi-flow is balanced you feel relaxed, confident, and full of energy and enthusiasm. Your are free from stiffness or aches and pains, and are full of vigour – you “sparkle” with energy. Most of us know this feeling, but experience it only rarely. For much of the time we operate below optimal energy level.
FACTORS AFFECTING QI-FLOW
Many physical and emotional factors impede the flow of Qi in the body and these can be divided into two broad categories: excesses of deficiencies. Excesses common in the Western life-style include stress, overwork, and overheating, while common deficiencies are poor diet, insufficient exercise, and lack of sleep.
ANTI-STRESS TREATMENT WITH SANTOSH
Santosh advised me to eat something a couple of hours before my treatment and to wear comfortable clothes. Then, in her studio, she asked me a range of questions about my health and lifestyle, making careful observations to discover where Qi was imbalanced. This is necessary to indicate the Meridians that need to be treated to restore harmony, and the specific points on those Meridians where treatment will be most effective. The active communication between the giver and receiver, and an awareness between them, is a fundamental part of Tui Na. Pulse taking and tongue diagnosis are altogether part of the free consultation before Santosh’s treatment.
After that, the patient is invited to sit or lye on a massage couch, according to the condition which must be treated. Santosh gave me acupuncture treatment first, Tui Na massage and cupping in the end. The whole treatment was very pleasant and relaxing. During the massage, feedback from the patient on what feels good, or painful, guides the practitioner to the points to treat and the amount of pressure to use.
HOW YOU FEEL AFTER A TUI NA TREATMENT
Tui Na provides complete stimulation of the body’s entire musculo-skeletal system, as well as all the internal organs. Since it rebalances Qi-flow the mind and the emotions will also be affected. In most cases – as it was for me – a Tui Na treatment leaves the recipient feeling enlivened, happy and sparkling with energy. However, Santosh warned me that, as in other forms of deep massage, Tui Na can sometimes release blocked emotional energy, with the effect that the recveiver may feel “weepy” or emotional after the massage, or perhaps a day or two later. If this should happen, the Chinese way is to acknowledge these negative emotions, and then let them go.
In my case, after an initial sense of well-being, I started to feel the real effects of my treatment the day after. All the back-aches had gone, my neck muscles were relaxed and soft, and now, at a 10-day distance, I’m still benefiting the positive effects of the whole session.
ABOUT SANTOSH AND AKESO ACUPUNCTURE
Santosh Kaur is a BSc Hons and MBAcC in Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture and Tui Na Massage, Biomedicine. She achieved further qualifications in different connected health studies and attained advanced training assisting Professors and Doctors in China’s major Hospitals. She was awarded ‘student of the year’ at Westminster University. She is lately attending a master in Herbal Medicine and she will soon be allowed to prescribe herbs as a complement to her treatments. Among the conditions she treats at Akeso Acupuncture there are Arthritis, Asthma, Anxiety, Stress, Depression, Cold & Flu, Cough, Disc related complaints, Digestive System Disorders, Diarrhoea, Gastritis, Heart Burn, Hair Loss, Headache Hypertension Insomnia, Infertility, Indigestion, Menstrual complaints, Musculoskeletal Pain, Menopause, Osteoarthritis, Oedema,Pregnancy related issues, Pre-menstrual Syndrome, PCOS, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Sports Injuries, Skin Conditions, Sex Drive Problems, Stroke, Vomiting, Weight Loss, Water Retention, Weak Immune System and many more.
Santosh has been practicing sports and martial arts for 12 years. She achieved the first Taekwondo Dan Black Belt in December 2005 and she has now been training at the Shaolin Temple UK in London for 4 years. Here, she is one of the few female students attending the traditional Gong Fu 72 styles, achieving the Iron Leg technique in 2009, with the 100-day challenge under Shifu Shi Yanzi’s direction. Following her 12-year practice in sports, Santosh also offers dietary and lifestyle advice drawing from her experience to promote health and vitality.