"The mind, the spirit, and the hands are the most fundamental tools of healing we possess. Tui Na makes use of all three to promote health and well being through the individual's muscular, skeletal, and energetic systems."
- Chirstopher Reilly, L.Ac., MSA
Tui Na is perhaps the oldest branch of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The first written record of Tui Na dates to 2700 B.C.E., and the official Tui Na department was established in the State Office of Imperial Physicians in China's Sui and Tang Dynasties (581- 907 C.E.).
Literally translated as "pushing and grasping," Tui Na encompasses an extremely broad set of hands-on techniques whose applications are guided by the same theory and physiological concepts that govern acupuncture and herbal therapy. Throughout the past five thousand years, Tui Na experts have developed methods of bone-setting, joint manipulation, trauma therapy, massage therapy, pediatric therapy, preventive therapy, and topical herbal applications.
The Tui Na form of bodywork differs from most Swedish and western styles in the speed and vigor with which certain techniques are applied, the TCM theory and philosophy embedded within the Tui Na, and an emphasis on the stimulation of acupuncture points and meridians. There are a variety of techniques, such as dragon and phoenix rolling, zhen's single finger pushing and trembling that are unique to Tui Na. In modern terms, Tui Na as it is practiced in America can be understood as a hands-on form of bodywork which uses acupressure and traditional Chinese medical theory to achieve a variety of wellness goals, including pain relief and muscular health.
Tui Na is often the treatment of choice for TCM practitioners, and is used in place of acupuncture in children. The first treatise on pediatric Tui Na in China dates to 1601 C.E. Areas of the body that are of particular relevance to pediatric sessions have been documented over hundreds of years with names such as sky river, wood gate, the three fences, and the six fu. During very brief sessions (about 5 to 10 minutes), gentle techniques are applied to the extremities and trunk to relieve poor appetite, loose stools, low-grade fevers, etc. Very simple techniques are taught to the child's caregivers, who can perform them at home to enhance and boost the effectiveness of the Tui Na. In the case of children and adults, Tui Na provides a non-invasive and well-tolerated means to apply traditional Chinese medical theory to contemporary health challenges.