Tuina update

I haven’t written about what’s going on in the tuina course…

In lessons 3 and 4, we spent most of the time on practical applications of the massage techniques. We learned a few new points, though:

All of these are on the shoulders, arms and hands.

Last night, we started work on the lower back and waist, which actually extends down to the buttocks. We learned a lot of new points:

Phew! What a lot to remember!

So far, we have also been introduced to a number of different massage techniques:

  • One-finger meditation pressing;
  • rolling
  • kneading
  • scrubbing
  • rubbing
  • pressing
  • grasping
  • patting
  • knocking
  • tapping
  • pecking
  • shaking
  • rotating
  • stretching

That looks a lot, but really we’ve only had a quick introduction to most of them; we’ve only used a very few with any regularity. Having said that, the knocking, patting, pecking etc are very similar to martial arts techniques, with much, much less power behind them, of course!

The term for pressing the acupuncture points is dian xue, which I’d only heard before in the context of attacking these points – so it is the same term for both healing and fighting. I begin to see how that would work. Of course, knowing the points isn’t enough on its own; you also need to know the times of day at which specific points are strong and weak. (If you’re interested in pressure-point fighting – and I know some of you are! – remember that gekiryudojo‘s channel on YouTube has some interesting videos).

It turns out that there are several applications for the iPhone that deal with acupuncture points; I’ve bought one which is really useful – it shows photographs of the points’ locations, gives their names in Hanyu Pinyin and English, shows the meridians, explains the treatments which each point is useful for and a whole bunch of other stuff including setting up self-test quizzes and the ability to add your own notes for each point. This is going to be really useful. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show the difference between the meridians that are on the surface of the body and those that are internal, but I guess at my level that’s not so important – plus, I can learn that elsewhere. There is also an application in the iTunes store that seems to show how the qi flows from point to point at different times of day, so I’ll get that as well at some point!

As you can see, I’m really getting into this, and enjoying the course still. It is of course only a super-basic introduction. We’re not taught the points’ numbers or their specific functions, nor are we looking at the meridians at all – but I can start researching that on my own. I asked the teacher about that, and he said that in practice TCM doctors don’t use them, remembering the names instead. Our numbers are starting to drop – there were only five of us last night – but that doesn’t make much difference to me! The teacher is really good and hands-on in his instruction, and the interpreters are really good (and pretty knowledgeable in their own right).

I mentioned that I would be interested in studying this further, with immediate results: the centre has been lending me lots of books to read, and will be giving me some VCDs about the techniques – they’re really keen to get me learning more! The I Ching is suggesting to me that this isn’t the time to enrol in formal courses, but the teacher suggested that I meet a friend and colleague of his who has good English and could teach me TCM basics (though she’s a specialist in acupuncture as opposed to tui na), and that sounds interesting.

So, the classes continue; three more to go. Really glad I signed up.

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