More info on Tui Na

Tui Na is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that promotes the healing of the body through hands-on bodywork, energy work using the meridians of the body, and by balancing your personal Qi (energy) with this process.  The purpose is to holistically heal you by balancing the Qi/energy within yourself, through hands-on manipulation of the meridians.


Think of our meridians like highways through our body; they support the movement of Qi and help balance our mind and body by keeping the flow of energy even and smooth.  To keep the 'highway' of Qi flowing smoothly, we have to work the Qi points to create harmony.  But life happens, and we can become emotionally, physically or spiritually out of balance.  The loss of a loved one, stress at work, even happy events like the birth of a child, can alter the balance of our Qi and cause issues that affect our daily life.  When you sign up for a Tui Na massage, you will be asked to fill out a form that will help us determine if there are any imbalances in your life currently.  When we determine where your life may be out of balance (through the questionnaire), we can then focus on the correct meridian(s) to help bring about balance.  For example, if I filled out the form and had recently lost a pet, I might check off "grief" on the form, since I've been experiencing it, and I might also be experiencing "shortness of breath".  During our intake interview we would talk about these issues in the sense of what is going on in your life, and these items would indicate that there is an issue with your Metal Element.  Therefore we would look at the Lung and Large Intestine meridians, which are guided by Metal; these meridian run along the arms.  You may be experiencing a physical manifestation of this imbalance of Qi in your arms/shoulder area, and we would add that as an area of focus for the massage.  As you can see in the chart below, Earth Element can affect the Metal Element, so we would look at your Earth Element responses and see if that could be affecting your inner balance.  Perhaps you feel weak and achy in your muscles, or you've been having upset stomach issues as well.  This could indicate that your Earth Element is also being affected; if your main issues are Metal, but your Earth qualities are out of balance, then we could focus our direction on the Earth Element meridians as well.  This would mean adding in the Spleen and Stomach meridians (located along the front of the body, including the legs), as areas to focus on.  But perhaps your symptoms are more indicative of the Water Element being out of balance; instead of the Earth Element being affected, you may be experiencing excess fluid (retention) particularly in the ankles and feet, you may be experiencing greater fear, and/or you've had some issues with your hearing (ringing or poor hearing).  These symptoms would mean we'd need to look at your Water Element, in which case we'd address the kidney and bladder meridians, which run the length of the body front and back (respectively).  A client with a sore back or calves would indicate that we need to work the Bladder meridian and check for imbalanced Qi along those lines.  Once we determine the meridians to be worked on and areas of concern, I would apply that information to our massage goals.


The key with Tui Na is to look at your needs from a holistic point of view, and address the issues in a way that helps you feel better physically through bodywork and the mobilization of Qi.  To do this, as a therapist, I would move through the meridians (see below) and palpate/feel for Qi points that are too energized/activated or feel weak and empty.  I would then use my massage techniques to balance those areas out; either the Qi needs to be disbursed to other areas because it's 'stuck' in one place (and usually blocking the flow of Qi), or that area needs to be stimulated to improve Qi flow through it.  During the actual massage, there is rocking involved, thumb-plucking, palm presses, percussion, compression, forearm kneading (my forearm applied to the client), rubbing (as in traditional Swedish massage), chafing and stretching, to name a few.  Generally, client issues line up with the 5 Elements, and we find that the body is manifesting pain/tension/discomfort in ways that correlate to the elements and helps us focus on the physical aches and pains in a more holistic manner.

There is more to know about Tui Na, including how the Yin and Yang of the Elements work together to build a balanced self.  For now, though, this should provide you with the knowledge necessary to decide if you are interested in a Tui Na massage.  I hope this also provides a jumping-off point for conversation, so that together, we can answer your questions and engage in a healing, relaxing massage focused on you!  Please contact me with any questions!

5 elements chart.jpg

The main meridian channels illustrated on the body.  The dots on the meridians represent Qi points; these are the spots where Qi can be palpated/felt to determine if there is an excess or deficiency.  Often these Qi points are noticeably troubled with physical pain or discomfort.  The Tui Na experience helps balance that energy to give you the harmony you need in your life to face each day as the best version of you possible!


This diagram is intended to be gender neutral in its representation.