The literal translation of Tui Na is “Push and Grasp”.
Designed to help to promote circulation and relieve pain, this category of physical therapy includes acupressure, massage, stretching and manipulation. Techniques of pressing, rolling, grasping and rubbing are used, and even gentle pounding to encourage the release of tension from myofacial tissue. Manipulation is used to restore structural balance.
Other physical therapy techniques grouped in this section include two widely practiced techniques called Cupping and Gua Sha.
These are time-tested Traditional Chinese Medical treatments to release adhesions, reduce excess fluids, loosen connective tissue and release stagnant blood trapped within tissues:
Gua – translates as rub or scrape, Sha – a term used to describe the substances released to the surface of the body after the rubbing or scraping occurs. Using specialized instruments made from plastics, metal, bone or jade, the practitioner uses repeated strokes over specific areas to produce a redness (the sha) that by its presentation, will have both diagnostic and prognostic value for the therapist.
In cupping therapy, cups of glass, bamboo or plastic are applied to areas of the body. A vacuum is created within the cups, either prior to, or after application, thereby producing a suction force on the tissues directly beneath the cup, creating the therapeutic effect. Other cupping techniques include “massage cupping”, which involves dragging the cup over oiled skin to release tension in a larger area of the body.
With both techniques, the patient is left with a variety of marks resembling bruising and injury. While the marks look painful, the experience of cupping and gua sha is mostly pleasant, providing an immediate change in pain, mobility and tension. The redness often dissipates within two to five days and is a natural positive response to the therapy.
Your practitioner will choose to add Cupping or Gua Sha as a part of an integrated strategy of techniques geared towards both resolving pain and restoring health.