The “eastern” disciplines of Thai and Tui-na (Chinese) massage are effective, interactive treatments that can be conducted in any type of surroundings – be it upon mountain ranges or in a clinical environment.
No-one would deny the wonderful benefits of a relaxing oil massage. Quite often, when such a massage is completed, we feel as if we are floating on a cloud of fluffy white cotton wool- ready to be lulled to sleep at the drop of a hat. But sometimes, especially if we lead a busy life (as most of us seem to these days!) what we really want is to be relaxed and re-energised. Eastern bodywork concentrates on your life energy or “qi”. Special techniques are used to “empty” your mind and tonify or calm qi, thereby re-establishing order in your energy levels.
Tui-na (pronounced twee-nah) means “to push and grasp” and is an integral aspect of traditional Chinese medicine along with herbalism, diet therapy, moxibustion, acupuncture and therapeutic exercise. It is conducted through loose, comfortable clothing with the client seated on an upright chair and/or lying upon a couch, depending on the client’s needs. Soft tissue is softened and rejuvenated with various techniques including the unique, harmonious “rolling” action of the therapist’s hands, the pressure generally being quite firm and thorough! Other movements include vibration and harmonious body rocking. Qi is tonified or dispersed with the combination of these massage movements, joint release and stretching, and application of pressure to acupuncture points. These pressure points help facilitate neuromuscular tension and encourage the release of deep tension, together with aiding symptoms of a physiological order, making Tui-na a very powerful therapeutic tool.
Special techniques in Tui-na are particularly helpful in alleviating upper body trauma (neck, shoulders and arms), but just to receive a full body treatment lying upon a couch will give a relaxing and invigorating sensation – a definite “kick-start” to your energy levels!
Thai massage is truly holistic, the body being addressed both energetically and physically whilst also touching our psychic domain. As with Tui-na, the treatment is conducted through loose, comfortable clothing with the client lying upon a futon. Initially lying on your back, the therapist works rhythmically throughout your body by applying appropriate pressure along energy lines which will release and circulate dormant or trapped energy. The treatment includes joint mobility, stretches and awakening yoga postures, whilst also lying in the side position, face down and finally sitting up. The session takes 1½ hours minimum and works your entire body – with no effort from yourself!
Thai massage works well with its combination of pressure and stretching to relieve areas that may be chronically out of balance, whether physical or mental, and needing assistance in re-alignment. Tension originating from conditions such as excessive pronation of feet causing rotation of the hips and upper region can be eased with Thai massage. Also, the preparation and recovery from intensive training for competitive sports events such as skiing, dancing, high board diving etc. will be facilitated with Thai massage.
Both disciplines of Thai and Tui-na work well on their own for therapeutic purposes, or in conjunction with an osteopath to treat problems of a chronic nature.