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Tui na

Literally meaning "push-grasp," this method of Asian bodywork unblocks the body's energy—and feels pretty good too.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 9, 2016

Tui na is a type of Asian bodywork bearing a resemblence to Western massage techniques. It includes many hand movements and body manipulations that are similar to those used in Swedish massage, including gliding, vibration, kneading, percussion and petrissage. Tui na, however, is meant to manipulate and unblock the qi and energy of the body, not merely reposition and knead muscles, though this is the method by which the qi unblocking occurs. Tui na simply means push-grasp.

The origins of tui na: Tui na has a long history in China. It may actually predate acupuncture. There is evidence of therapeutic massage being used in China as long ago as 2,300 BC. By 300 BC, it was a major course of study in Chinese medical schools.

Benefits Of Tui Na

Tui na might feel like a classic Western massage, but it works on Eastern medical principles. It aims to balance the yin and yang energy forces in the body through body manipulation, allowing the body's energy, also called qi, to travel smoothly through the energy meridians of the body. Tui na is classically used as a form of medicine and can be used to treat or alleviate ailments like gastric issues, muscular pains, premenstrual pain and asthma.

What To Expect

During a classic tui na session, you will typically undress down to your underwear and drape yourself with a sheet or towel, then lie down on a massage table. The tui na therapist will apply oil to the body. The session is typicaly stimulating and not painful. Clients generally feel thirsty and calm afterward and may experience muscle soreness akin to a hard workout.

Recommended sessions: Have as many tui na sessions as you find helpful.

Preparation: Let the therapist know if you are seekingtui na for any particular medical complaint, and what level of pressure you prefer on the body (light, medium, strong)


Tui na is a very low risk form of massage, though in some cases the skin may be left bruised after treatment.

Who wouldn't benefit: Tui na is generally not a relaxing form of massage. Those seeking general relaxation might be better served with Swedish massage.

Find licensed and certified experts who offer tui na near you