Tuina massage is an important component of the treatment that I offer at my clinic in Bristol. It is a form of Chinese manual therapy that comprises one of the four main branches of traditional Chinese medicine. In tuina massage we use the same channels and points that are stimulated with acupuncture, but use our hands rather than needles to do the work. Tuina is used to help with issues of an internal nature as well as musculoskeletal problems.
Depending on your situation, tuina massage treatment may focus on the local area that you need help with, or it may focus on the channels as they run through larger areas of your body. During these sessions I use fingers, knuckles, palms, and elbows to apply pressure to the channels and points indicated by your condition. I may also talk you through ‘sinew stretches’ that aim to release deeper blocks, or simple breathing exercises that can help with relaxation and release.
We will start with a general assessment of your health which will include:
Prior to treatment I will discuss my initial findings with you, and explain where I intend to perform tuina techniques. With your consent, I will then begin to work on these areas.
If ancillary treatments such as guasha or cupping are needed, these will be performed before any massage work begins. If it is needed, moxa will generally be applied towards the end of a treatment session. Tuina sessions may also end with gentle stretches that help to open the areas of the body that have been treated.
When your treatment is finished, I will advise when to book a follow-up appointment in line with your treatment plan.
I am always happy to offer a complementary consultation over the phone, or you can book a time to come and visit me in the clinic. If you’re in Bristol and not sure if tuina massage is right for you, I am here to answer any and all of your questions.
Tuina operates on the same fundamental principles as acupuncture and so can be used to help with many of the same conditions. In my own training I have studied methods for helping with aches and pains, headaches and migraines, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, asthma, period pains, and menopausal issues.
In addition to acupressure techniques, you might also receive some of the supplementary treatments associated with acupuncture. This could include moxa, cupping, scraping, qi transmission, dietary advice, and qigong exercises. I will always discuss my treatment plans with you, and ensure that you are happy before we proceed with anything.
When called for, and if you are happy to do so, I will often combine tuina and acupuncture. This is an excellent way to improve the efficacy of your sessions, and should lead to faster and better results. For those not interested in needles, acupressure alone still offers a wonderful opportunity to benefit from traditional Chinese medicine.
Tuina massage is performed through clothing so there is no need to remove your clothes. It is best if you can wear a single layer of thin clothing and avoid denim jeans as it is very hard to feel anything through this thick fabric. Supplementary techniques such as therapeutic oils, acupuncture, moxa and cupping may require access to more of your body, but here we can use a gown or sheet as needed.
This Healthline website summarises research into conditions that may be benefited by tuina massage. Their list includes blood circulation, neck pain, low back pain, depression, lactation, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, musculoskeletal disorders, foot issues from diabetes, and quality of life in cancer patients.
This Acupuncture Massage College website describes some of the different methods used in tuina massage, as well as some of the health benefits.
This University of Minnesota website gives a brief introduction into the therapeutic nature of tuina massage, and also discusses when it might be used.
Acupressure is performed through clothing, so it is best to wear a layer of light clothing during treatment. Please avoid wearing denim jeans as it is difficult to work through this thick fabric and may effect the quality of treatment you receive.
Please try to eat a light meal about two hours prior to treatment, as it is best to avoid feeling too full or too hungry when on the couch. Please also avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol for at least two hours before your session, as these can interfere with your treatment. Finally, please avoid brushing your tongue, wearing strong perfume, and wear only minimal makeup, as this will allow for more accurate diagnosis.
Acupressure is a form of therapeutic bodywork, and as such not generally sought out solely for pleasure. Sessions involve a combination of strong and gentle techniques. Whenever strong pressure is required, I will always work with you to find the appropriate level. At no point will you be pressured to accept techniques you are not comfortable with.
It is hard to be specific about how many sessions you might need, as there are numerous factors that can play a part in this assessment. Some things to consider will be your age, the length of time you’ve had your problem, and whether it comes and goes or is always present. Then, another equally important variable is the extent to which you are able to make lifestyle changes that will support your treatment.
It is helpful to think of tuina massage as supporting your body’s own natural healing function. This means that once you’ve received the required “dose” of treatments, we will have given your body the support it needs to tip the balance in favour of healing. Of course, lifestyle changes will be necessary to ensure that you aren’t slipping backwards between each treatment session.
In general, clients often feel positive changes after their first few treatments. Then, depending on the seriousness of the problem, it can take from 5 to 10 sessions to achieve maximum benefit.
Many people in Western countries expect to come for acupressure massage once a week, and this works well for the most part. There are, however, some cases where more frequent sessions may lead to better results and I will discuss this with you if I think it is the case. Generally, once an issue is under control, sessions can become more spaced out. I also recommend quarterly visits to ensure that you are staying well.
Most patients report feeling much more loose and energised after their sessions.
If you are receiving acupressure for the first time then you could feel a little light headed or tired directly after treatment. This is a normal reaction and is not something to be concerned about. It should pass quickly, and leave you to appreciate the otherwise positive benefits.
Acupressure can also cause the body to become a little dehydrated so it’s good idea to drink some water before and after your session.
Tai Chi and Qigong provide a gentle physical exercise which medical studies have shown to be beneficial for the health of the heart, bones, nerves, muscles, and immune system. They are a great way to support your acupuncture and tuina-massage treatments.