Alternative Massage Medicine

Brian Carter, acupuncturist, herbalist, and author

Alternative Massage Medicine
By Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine. He teaches at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and maintains a private acupuncture and herbal practice in San Diego, California, and is the author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

You may have only experienced the most common types of massage- circulatory or Swedish, deep tissue, maybe even shiatsu. But you should also know about a more powerful form of alternative massage medicine you can practice on yourself at home.

Tui Na, The Chinese Alternative Massage Medicine

Tui Na, pronounced 'twee nah', literally means 'push grasp'. The push and grasp refer to two techniques you do with your hands (and there are at least six different hand techiques). Tui na is a sophisticated form of acupressure, a true alternative medicine massage style, because it can be used to treat all manner of disease.

In my new book, I spend an entire section (several chapters) talking about acupressure and how to use it as one of the tools in your healing toolkit. Whether it's short-term to relieve a headache, or long-term to improve your energy level, you can use some of this alternative medicine medicine yourself. In fact, if you're seeing an acupuncturist now, they can guide you even more specifically about what acupoints to massage.

Simplifying the Alternative Massage Medicine

It takes thousands of classroom hours to learn all there is to know about Tui Na. That's probably not practical for you. So, the simplest hand technique to use is just to push on a point. You can rotate your finger or knuckle on the point (in a circle while pushing in), or just push in, release, push in, release, etc. You can even just clamp down on a point and hold it.

The key, the thing you can't avoid, and which I can't go into in this small space, is knowing which points you should massage on yourself. The reason it's complicated is the same reason we can call this alternative massage medicine something like a real medicine- because it's personalized to you and your imbalances, and it heals rather than just making you feel better for a little while.

Alternative Medicine Plus the Massage

If you have a minor problem, massaging yourself may be enough. Or it may be something you use only when circumstances dictate- even if you're used to taking herbs or pharmaceuticals, you may find yourself somewhere out of reach of your normal remedies. In this case, it's good already to know some massage medicine you can do on yourself.

But I would emphasize overall that you should work with a professional of some sort - acupuncturist, naturopath, chiropractor - while you learn to take care of yourself. I say this because even as a professional myself who has spent many hours learning healing and trying it out on myself that it is a process... wisdom and knowledge help, but trial and error still plays a role, and real life has so many variables that you never know what you'll need...

So I urge you to add this form of alternative massage medicine to your healing knowledge database (in your brain)... the only hitch? You'll have to buy my book to learn how!

In the meantime, to get a visual idea about this alternative massage medicine, look at this free acupressure chart.

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor