WHAT IS TUINA?
Tuina (pronounced “Tway-na”) is a medical procedure for treating various diseases, injuries, and disorders by manipulating the body and points along the channels with the hands to bring about health and wellness. Referred to as Chinese Medical Massage, it is a vital component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Originating in China, Tuina has influenced all forms of massage and manual therapies worldwide for the last 3,000-5,000 years. It can, therefore, be said that Tuina is the “Father” of all manual therapies that have been developed. The word “Tuina” is made up of two words, “Tui” meaning to push or stroke, and “Na” meaning to grasp or knead.
Originally, along with treating soft tissue injuries, diseases, and general disorders, Tuina is used in areas of gynecology, neurology, and pediatrics. Today, the field of treatment also includes orthopedics, traumatology, cosmetology, rehabilitation, sports medicine, and general health care.
HOW DOES TUINA DIFFER FROM OTHER MANUAL THERAPIES?
Tuina differs from other manual therapies mainly by the enormous scope of diseases and disorders it is able to effectively treat. Tuina uses techniques found in massage therapy, chiropractic, physical therapy, osteopathy, rehabilitation therapy, orthopedic manual therapy, physiotherapy, and sports rehabilitation therapy performed by sports medicine physical therapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers, and occupational therapists. If you were to merge all of these therapies together, you would come up with something that is very similar to Tuina. In addition to the techniques and procedures used in these other therapies, Tuina uses the theories and principles of TCM, which very few if any of the western therapies listed above use. And we shouldn’t forget the fact that Tuina has been evolving and developing for the last 5,000 years. A fact that the other therapies cannot claim.
WHAT IS SPORTS TUINA?
Sports Tuina for athletes is an expertise which constitutes an important part in sports medicine. According to different features of athletic sports and gymnastic events, on the basis of different constitution and neurological types of athletes, Tuina for sports health has been taking shape into a specialty. Founded on the concepts of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Sports Tuina has been developed over the past 45 years to deal with special types of injuries incurred by olympic level athletes.
Common injuries to athletes, which are experienced at a higher degree and frequency at the olympic level, such as joint sprains and dislocations, muscle strains, hematomas, fibrosis, adhesions from past tissue tears, inflammation of muscles, tendons, and joints, neurological and orthopedic trauma, all respond to Sports Tuina at a healing rate much faster than with traditional Western Sports therapies. This is mainly due, in fact, to working the channels and collaterals along with key acupoints, all of which is largely disbelieved and ignored in Western medicine.
In China, as in most other countries except the United States, massage is a vital component in athletic training, not only in the capacity of prevention, but also for treating chronic and acute injuries. In this country, athletes, coaches, and trainers tend to look upon massage only as a means for relaxation and not as a primary weapon in treating sports related injuries sustained by the athlete on a regular basis. Failure to use massage within the major protocol for treating athletic injuries often leads to a more lengthy rehabilitation. Sports Tuina can restore the athlete to as near 100% a state of health as possible, so he is able to push his body past the level he was at before the injury, and not suffer any hindrances or adverse reactions.
Sports Tuina is designed to repair the injury rapidly and to get the athlete back performing in the shortest possible time, and to avoid surgery. In China, surgery is looked upon as a "last resort" therapy, behind Tuina, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and therapeutic rehabilitation. Once the body is cut on, it's very difficult to establish a complete state of functional capability, especially within the athlete who must push his body far beyond that which an ordinary person would do.
Tuina and Sports Tuina as explained by my teacher, mentor and friend Terry Norman LMT, MTI