What is Tui Na?

Tui na is an ancient form of medicine that we all perform, to some extent. When you get a headache and rub your temple, you are performing tui na. You might not know which acupuncture points you are activating, but you are definitely utilizing the local and superficial energetics of your body in order to inspire relief at a biochemical and structural level. Your body is instinctually programmed to self-heal and rejuvenate!

Tui na is similar to massage, but has a greater tradition and assortment of techniques. It uses a lot of theory and methodology derivative from Tradition Chinese Medicine. Meridian theory is something I use a whole lot in my Tui na practice. Meridian theory exposes the trajectories of qi, the body’s life force energy that can be subdivided according to its relationship to yin & yang, as well as each individual organ in the body. Think of it this way: there are many rivers and wires in your body that work together, and when they become blocked, tangled or withered: pain and disorder result.

For example, the stomach meridian begins beneath the eye, centered with the pupil, then descends along the nasal cavities. It is often implicated in nasal allergies, as the stomach mucosa is prone to inflammation (think: crohn’s / gluten intolerance). This can manifest as what modernity refers to as allergies, with swelling and fluid accumulation in the body. When treating such an issue, I might go toward the calf to a point called Zusanli or ST-36. The stomach meridian descends through the anterior body all the way down the leg into the second toe. By utilizing these lower points, we can positively affect the flow of qi which may have coagulated in the upper channels of the body.

Combined with herbal medicine to address deficiencies and excesses, these therapies can lead toward a complete elimination of allergies! Next time you have allergies, try rubbing the tender points along the zygomatic bone, and the muscles of the front calf. A great way to promote self-healing.

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