During the course of any Non-Tantra, Certified Massage Therapy Treatment, regardless of the length of treatment itself, 3 main types of massage techniques can be used: Tui Na [ Chinese Meridian Massage], Gua Sha [Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization] or Cupping. These varied modalities are rooted in 3000 year old practices and rich history of Traditional Chinese Medicine¹.
Tui na is a form of manual therapy that closely adheres to principles of healing rooted deep — as mentioned above — within the rich history of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This modality relies heavily on knowledge of the various acupuncture meridians within the body and systems of differentiation and diagnosis utilized by TCM Practitioners and Doctors of TCM alike to provide relief from both chronic and acute pain.
Manual techniques employed will vary from rolling to kneading to plucking to the use of friction to release patterns of gross tissue dysfunction and return the body to a state of function and unimpeded, balanced and harmonious movement.
Gua Sha, literally means: “to scrape wind”. Often referred to traditionally as “coining” or “scraping” it is a modality that is employed to treat deep tissue dysfunctions that arise from Qi Stagnation or Blood Stasis. The belief, is that, in scraping the tissues, circulation of new blood is encouraged and that blockages to vital Qi are alleviated or eliminated altogether.
In the west, this practice has gained popularity and evolved into what was once known as Graston Technique and what is now, more commonly known as: Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. Scientifically, it’s still unclear as to how exactly this modality works and the vast majority of the results obtained are being dismissed simply as the results of a “placebo” effect.
Cupping is a modality of therapeutic treatment that is used to provide relief to superficial tissue dysfunctions within the fascia where tissue no longer has a glide to it. Unlike Western versions of cupping, Traditional Chinese Medicine uses fire to exhaust the air out of glass cups.
The belief is that, in using fire, vital Qi – – life force energy — is transferred into the glass cup first then, in turn, to the body during application thereby reinvigorating the tissues and restoring function. The glass cups in contrast to the silicone cups used by a majority of Western Clinicians maintain their shape during application and form a more complete seal as result.
In the formation of a better seal, negative pressure is created between the cup and the dysfunctional tissues. This negative pressure gently pulls and separates the varied layers of the dermis and allows the unobstructed flow of blood to the surrounding tissues. It’s the combination of unobstructed new blood flow and negative pressure that provides the relief and restoration experienced through this modality of treatment.
Regardless of the length of session you book, you can typically expect the session to adhere to the following format: intake, opening, treatment, closing, follow up recommendations and the scheduling of your next appointment.
The intake portion of your treatment is your opportunity to express what your chief concerns are and the reason for seeking treatment. It could be a specific issue or it could simply be that you are looking to relax – regardless, we’re here to help you create the exact experience you’re seeking.
At this point, once the practitioner is sure that s/he understands your concerns they will excuse themselves from the room while you disrobe and prepare for the treatment by climbing under the sheets — once disrobed to the level with which you are comfortable — and positioning yourself in the manner requested prior to the practitioners having left the room.
The opening of a massage treatment is like a good handshake …not too firm, not too soft; just the ideal amount of pressure needed to provide the relief you seek. This is also an opportunity for the practitioner to get a general overview of your overall tissue health and level of function.
The treatment itself will move from a general total body global approach to a more specific localized focus on the exact tissue from which the pattern(s) of dysfunction originate. Depending on the nature, depth and extent of the dysfunction the practitioner may opt to switch to a different modality of treatment.
Regardless of whether the practitioner utilizes manual therapy, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or cupping the transition is seamless, done with informed consent and with the ultimate aim of providing the greatest amount of relief possible from the root cause of the issues as opposed to topically treating just the symptoms.
As the session nears completion the practitioner will strategically close the session in such a manner that leaves you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, reinvigorated and looking forward to your next treatment. The practitioner will once again excuse themselves from the room while you redress.
Follow Up & Scheduling your next appointment…
Upon exiting the treatment room your massage therapist may have some homework or suggestions to follow prior to your next appointment. It’s at this point that they will schedule your next visit depending on whether the issue being treated is chronic or more acute in nature.