Tui na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, fire cupping, Chinese herbalism and qigong. It is a hands-on body treatment that uses Chinese principles in an attempt to bring into balance the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press and rub the areas between each of the joints (known as the eight gates) to open the body’s defensive (wei) chi and get the energy moving in the meridians as well as the muscles. The practitioner can then use range of motion, traction, massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points; this is known to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions.
Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using fire. The air inside the cup is heated and the rim is then applied to the skin, forming an airtight seal. As the air inside the cup cools, it contracts, forming a partial vacuum and enabling the cup to suck the skin, pulling in soft tissue, and drawing blood to that area. It can leave temporary bruised marks on the skin.
Gua Sha involves repeated pressured strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge. Commonly a ceramic Chinese soup spoon. The smooth edge is placed against the pre-oiled skin surface, pressed down firmly, and then moved down the muscles or along the pathway of the acupuncture meridians, along the surface of the skin, with each stroke being about 4-6 inches long.
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