Chinese Remedial Massage (Tui Na) – Benefits & Precautions

Most people are familiar with the Chinese massage shops that are readily accessible in many shopping centres but did you know that a practitioner of Chinese Remedial Massage must actually hold a diploma to practice? This article will explore why it is important to find out if your practitioner is registered for this service along with the history, standing and benefits of this unique style of massage.

Tui Na translates to push and grasp respectively and is the term used to describe a massage in the Chinese language (though the complete term is Tui Na An Mo). Tui Na (often combined as Tuina, both are acceptable) is believed to be the precursor to Acupuncture and shares an identical system of diagnosis and foundational knowledge. Tui Na works upon the same channels and meridians that acupuncture does with the omission of needles, there are certain techniques that garner the effect of a needle such as Yi Zhi Chan Tui Fa (one finger meditation) however since there is no actual penetration – it is ideal as an introduction to the Chinese Medicine system fo those who are afraid of needles.

In China Tui Na is a field of specialisation for a doctor and one must first achieve a four year degree in medicine before being allowed to practice within the hospital system. The rules are a little different here in Australia as a Tui Na practitioner requires a minimum diploma (1 year study) and registration with an association to practice. A few universities that offer a degree in Chinese Medicine provide in-depth training in Tui Na to students however legally one must hold the diploma in order to practice. This means an Acupuncturist who holds a Bachelor Degree does not automatically hold the knowledge, skill or right to practice Tui Na.

The reason it is important to stress the point of qualifications is that there are many unregistered practitioners out there that actually have no training. This becomes problematic if a patient is seeking medical intervention (more than just a relaxing massage) as it can lead to even more injuries. There is often a correlation between a Chinese massage being overly aggressive and leaving bruising – this is usually a sign that the practitioner was unqualified and practicing illegally. Tui Na has several techniques that are stronger in nature however they should never leave bruising. It is also generally done with the patient fully clothed as no oil is required for a therapeutic effect.

Many shops will get away with the topic of registration as they provide health fund rebates however it is generally given under the name of the shop owner who often holds the qualification – not the practitioner doing the therapy.

Tui Na is unique in regards to the massage spectrum of therapy as it is a way to balance the internal health (restore homeostasis) through external contact. This means that it can not only assist with muscle pain but it can be used to assist with digestion, boosting the immune system, regulating emotions and assisting with fertility much like acupuncture.

If receiving Tui Na as a primary and solitary treatment then the most effective time frame is thirty minutes. Any longer and there is no therapeutic effect though it is possible to get a longer lasting effect if combined with other treatments.

Generally speaking a Tui Na session should both relax and assist with any injury however for maximum effect it is recommended to combine it with acupuncture. As mentioned above, just as an Acupuncturist is not automatically trained and registered in Tui Na – not every Tui Na practitioner is trained and registered to do acupuncture; always make sure your practitioner is properly trained.

In conclusion Tui Na is a unique form of massage therapy that can help with internal organ disorders. A practitioner must hold at least a Diploma in Tui Na to practice and receiving a therapy from an untrained practitioner will likely lead to injury. It is an excellent way to introduce someone to Chinese Medicine if they have a fear of needles though for maximum therapeutic effect it should be combined with acupuncture and always performed by someone that is fully registered.

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1 thought on “Chinese Remedial Massage (Tui Na) – Benefits & Precautions

  1. andrewevolutionmccomau August 22, 2019 — 12:38 pm

    Wow! I didn’t realise that TuiNa was so broad and also an alternative to needles.
    Thanks Dr Le!


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