What is Tui Na?

Tui Na is one of the major components of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary therapy and remedial exercises. Tui-Na refers to all massage and manipulation techniques used in Chinese medicine.  It has been practiced for over 4’000 years and uses the same meridians and points as acupuncture. Tui Na seeks to establish a more harmonious flow of energy (Qi) through a variety of massage and manipulation techniques, allowing the body to naturally heal itself.

Tui Na in itself is a vast field which covers a wide spectrum of specializations and skills, each emphasizing different aspects of the therapy. The main ones include:

  • The rolling method which emphasizes soft tissue techniques and specializes in joint injuries and muscle sprains
  • The finger pushing method which emphasizes techniques of acupressure and treatment of internal diseases
  • The Nei Gong method accentuating the use of Qi exercises and specific techniques for revitalizing depleted energy
  • The bone setting method specializing in joint injuries and nerve pain, stressing ligament and musculoskeletal manipulations.

Tui Na tends to be more task focused than most types of bodywork. It concentrates more on specific pain sites, pressure points, energy meridians, muscles and joints, and can be quite invigorating.


Tui Na dates from the Shang Dynasty of China, 1700 B.C. Evidence from bone oracles indicates that Tui Na massage was used to treat children’s diseases and digestive complaints in adults.

By 600 A.D., Tui Na was included in the Imperial Medical College as a distinct department in its own right. Tui Na flourished throughout China until the Qing Dynasty when it was suppressed along with many other Chinese cultural arts.

After the Communist revolution, Tui Na was reinstated along with other traditional medical practices and became one of the major components of the current Traditional Chinese Medicine system.

The Tui Na Treatment

Except for the very soothing head massage, oils are normally used for the other regions of the body, and therefore disrobing is usually required.

The client lies properly draped on a massage table. General protocols are used for each of the main regions of the body, namely: the head region, the torso, the back, the lower limbs and the upper limbs. Specific protocols can also be designed according to the problems and conditions to be addressed.

External herbal poultices, compresses, liniments and salves may also be used at times to enhance the massage techniques.

Sessions last between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Most conditions have a pre-set number of treatments to follow. The client usually feels very relaxed and energized by these kinds of treatments.


Tui Na has become increasingly popular as a powerful extension or alternative to traditional western massage methods. With its flexible time duration, it can be used in a variety of settings including: homes, offices, clinics or hospitals. It is well suited for both the professional body-worker and the active, health conscious individual.

Here is a sample of the most common conditions treatable with Tui Na:

  • Common colds
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Gastric disorders
  • Hypertension
  • Angina
  • Toothache
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Pharyngitis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Postpartum aches
  • Carpal/Tarsal tunnel Syndrome
  • Knee joint ligament
  • Stiff neck
  • Lumber sprain
  • Disk prolapse
  • Sprained ankles
  • and more…


Tui Na is not indicated in the following conditions:

  • Fractures
  • Phlebitis
  • Infectious conditions
  • Open wounds or lesions.