Tuina massage, sometimes referred to as Acupressure massage, is part of the Chinese medical manual therapies and has been used in health care in Asia continuously for over 4000 years, and is well documented. It uses numerous techniques of the hand, elbow and wrist to tonify, sedate, move or manipulate the channels and organs of the body.
During a Tuina massage the practitioner will often massage specific acupuncture points in the same way needles are used. The practitioner may move along the meridians conducting clearing of the channels, which clears stagnation in preparation for needling.
Often points of particular tenderness are located and worked on continuously to break long-standing knots; this can be painful and the patient is asked to breathe and consciously relax the area.
Tuina massage has many similarities to Nuad Thai, lymphatic drainage, and Swedish massage.
Nuad Thai, commonly known as Thai Massage, is also a comprehensive medical system with thousands of years of documented history. It shares many ideas with numerous Asian medical modalities, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan medicines.
Nuad Thai is mainly performed on a low broad bed allowing the practitioner to use his own body weight to exert considerable pressure on tense muscles. Nuad Thai practitioners use a range of methods on a similar meridian system to that of the acupuncture system. The practitioner will use various body parts, such as the hands, elbows, knees and feet to exert just the right force and hardness. A Nuad Thai treatment will directly address tensions throughout the body including the extremities, the joints, muscle tissue, the head and even the organs – after a number of treatments.
In advanced Nuad Thai, performed when the patient has reached a high level of muscle tone and joint flexibility, some stretching methods are applied to enhance the results. The practitioner will not perform these, however, until the patient can comfortably do them.