Walking around the stands at Camexpo this year was eye opening as always, but I was particularly intrigued by a group of people delivering massages over a cotton sheet.
The group was Touch Tuina, and they were providing five minute taster sessions of Tuina (pronounced twee-nah) massage. I sat down to enjoy my five minute shoulder and neck massage before asking a few questions.
To onlookers, the technique looks quite ferocious, and a colleague of mine did say she felt slight discomfort at points, but I honestly didn’t (and I’m usually a wuss when it comes to strong massages!). It was firm, yes, but in the best way.
The techniques used were different to any massage I had before and I really felt it working to ease my tense muscles. It also felt a lot more ‘direct’ than other massages, like it was really targeted.
My first question was, why do you use a sheet? The practitioner told me that the main reason is due to the moves used within Tuina. When used with greater force, the moves actually mirror those used in martial arts, so the cotton sheet acts as a barrier. He also explained that the sheet helps to regulate temperature.
My next question was about the ‘direct-ness’ of it, the practitioner explained that Tuina targets specific points on the body to stimulate qi (in a similar way to acupressure). He said the points, pressure and techniques used will depend entirely on the client and their specific needs.
Used to help with pain and general well-being, it is a treatment that anyone would benefit from. After a good few hours on my feet I welcomed the treatment with open (sheet covered) arms and came away feeling relaxed from head to toe.
My last piece of advice from my practitioner was to be more like a cat. They do what they want, when they want, rest a lot and stretch a lot. They have subtle muscles and incredible felxibility, so they are obviously doing something right! And with that in mind, I’m off for a quick stretch!