Those familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) know that it encompasses several modalities that have been trusted throughout the centuries. But did you know that alongside the commonly used Acupuncture, Gua Sha, Cupping, Moxibustion and Chinese herbal medicinal practices; that massage is also used to treat patients and their various ailments? These TCM based massage techniques are known as Shiatsu and Tui Na, which are both forms of Acupressure Massage. These two different styles of Acupressure therapy rely on varying rhythms, pressure and techniques to match a specific purpose.
Originally known as Anma; a Japanese form of massage developed in 1320, Shiatsu is the most well-known style of acupressure massage training based on ancient Chinese principles. Shiatsu literally translates to “finger pressure” and can be quite vigorous in practice, as the therapist applies firm pressure to acupressure points along body’s meridians, depending on the patient’s specific condition. Your practitioner will do a comprehensive diagnosis before treating you to understand your medical history, any pain you are experiencing and what underlying problems you may have. Oftentimes, Shiatsu massage therapy practitioners can detect the start of energy imbalances in the body before any negative health symptoms appear and will treat preemptively. Shiatsu massage therapy programs typically include comprehensive training in traditional Asian bodywork and treatments may also incorporate stretching, special breathing techniques and meditation.
Pronounced “twee naw” and meaning “pinch pull,” Tui Na refers to a wide range of TCM massage and body work techniques. Unlike other gentler forms of massage, this form of is not generally used for pleasure and relaxation, but rather as a therapeutic treatment to address specific patterns of disharmony. Practitioners use Tui Na for many of the same reasons as acupuncture and according to the same principles. Similarly to acupuncture, TCM uses Tui Na to harmonize yin and yang in the body by manipulating the Qi in the acupuncture channels. Acupressure points are massaged to release blocked or congested energy centers in the body, promoting unobstructed Qi flow for health and well-being. Tui Na is frequently used in the treatment of superficial trauma and injury and a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems. It is also often used when acupuncture is not the best option, such as with infants and those with bleeding disorders. Instead practitioners use their fingers to lightly stimulate the points in place of needles.
Many studies have shown that Acupressure Massage Therapy helps reduce the intensity and duration of episodes of pain, making it helpful for treating many conditions including headaches, insomnia, poor circulation, sinus problems, arthritis and shoulder and neck tension. It also helps improve blood flow and release chemicals within the body that reduce stress, anxiety and elevate your mood. Most importantly, Acupressure Massage is very effective in preventative health care maintenance.