Manual therapies including Tui Na dates back to the Shang Dynasty of China, 1700 B.C.E. Oracle bones show that Tui Na massage was used to treat children's diseases and digestive complaints in adults. By 600 C.E. Tui Na was included in the Imperial Medical College as a separate department. Tui Na is based on traditional meridian concepts, i.e., the smooth flow of Qi through the meridian channels and collaterals. As with acupuncture, the clearing of Qi blockages will allow for the enhanced healing.
Tui Na does not simply work on the muscles, bones, and joints. It works with the energy of the body at a deeper level. As the practitioner senses the patient's body with his or her hands, the doctor is able to assess the distribution of energy and affect its flow. Tui Na includes many manual methods which are applied to the tendons, muscles, ligaments and joints. They are applied in order to influence the flow of Qi and are oftentimes combined with other manual techniques which mobilize joints and realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships.
Zheng Gu refers to mobilization techniques which quickly restore normal functioning and structural reintegration.
The style of Tui Na practiced in China today is closer to the work of chiropractors, osteopaths, and physical therapists than to that of massage therapists. Oftentimes following manual therapy, various ointments, liniments or creams are administered in order to maximize the results of treatment.
Tui Na is a very specific and focused approach, and is not a substitute for general full body massage. Tui Na is well suited for the treatment of specific musculoskeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems. Effective treatment protocols have been tested in a practical setting.
Please note there are many manual techniques used by acupuncture physicians that come from all over Asia and are a part of oriental medicine. Some of these include: the Kiso Method, acupressure, amma, anmo, shiatsu, sotai, seitai shinpo, Manaka's Hammer many others.