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Tuina FAQs

Tuina, Massage and Shiatsu

In ancient China, medical therapy was often classified into "external" and "internal" treatments. Tuina was one of the external methods, especially suitable for use on the elderly population and on infants. Today it is subdivided into specialized treatment for "infants", "adults", "orthopedics", "traumatology", "cosmetology", "rehabilitation", "sports medicine", etc. Tuina has been used extensively in China for over 2,000 years.

Tuina has no side effects unlike many modern drug-based and chemical-based treatments. It has been used to treat or compliment the treatment of many conditions, especially specific musculo-skeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.


History of Tuina

Tuina dates to the Shang Dynasty, around 1700 BC. Ancient inscriptions on oracle bones show that massage was used to treat infants and adult digestive conditions. In his book "Jin Dui Yao Lue", Zhang Zhongjing, a famous physician in the Han Dynasty (206 BC), wrote, "As soon as the heavy sensation of the limbs is felt, "Daoyin", "Tuina", "Zhenjiu" and "Gaomo", all of which are therapeutic methods, are carried out in order to prevent... the disease from gaining a start." Around 700 CE, Tuina had developed into a separate study in the Imperial Medical College.

The first reference to this type of external treatment was called "Anwu", then the more common name became "Anmo". It was then popularized and spread to many foreign countries such as Korea and Japan.

As the art of massage continued to develop and gain structure, it merged (around 1600 CE) with another technique called "Tuina", which was the specialty of bone-setting using deep manipulation. It was also around this time that infant "Tuina" became popular, with its own set of rules and methods.

Today, the term "Tuina" has replaced "Anmo" within China and in the West. The term "Anmo" is still used in some surrounding countries such as Japan.

It is not unusual to see practitioners working on street corners and parks in modern China. Tuina is an occupation that is particularly suitable to those with physical disabilities and in China, many blind persons receive training in the art of Tuina, where their heightened sense of touch is a great benefit.


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