Tuina literally translates as push and grasp and is a Chinese therapeutic massage closely related to acupuncture in its use of the meridian system. It is considered to be effective for treating a similar range of health problems, and is regarded alongside herbal remedies, diet, qigong and one of the fundamental arts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In practice it is the context and objectives which distinguishes these branches. In terms of theory and techniques they have much in common. Central to all is the idea that massage affects not only the physical body but also the Qi body (the network of meridians and points) and the mental body (emotions, thoughts and spiritual faculties).
Since both physical and mental health are dependants on a smooth and abundant flow of Qi, massage can effectively treat all three levels. Tuina is primarily focused on the meridians and points here qi gathers and can be easily manipulated. Tuina massage for specific health problems is based on a full case history using the four examinations to identify a complaint, an underlying pattern and treatment principles.
This full logical analysis is what gives Tuina its power and raises it above other systems of massage. Based on the treatment principles specific techniques are combined to treat the presenting complaint and underlying pattern. Tuina massage can help heal a large scale of conditions, especially musculoskeletal conditions. Chinese sources list over 140 medical conditions which respond well to tuina.
These include not only musculoskeletal problems but many internal diseases, for example in treating abdominal and digestive problems related to Spleen emptiness or Liver qi stagnation. Infant tuina is specifically good for infant diarrhoea which of course requires specific hand techniques. For more detailed list please refer to Conditions.