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Have you ever tried any traditional Chinese therapies? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-3-20 21:59:21 |Display all floors
Traditionally, in western medicine the focus is very much upon treating illnesses rather than preventing them.
Do you wait until you are sick, then you visit the doctor?

The Chinese, however, have a very different perspective on staying healthy.

In fact, Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of non-invasive therapies that are just as focussed on preventing future illnesses as curing one that has already developed.

You must’ve all heard of the benefits of acupuncture, but here are three other traditional therapies that can help you stay healthy.



1) Tui Na – 推拿
Tui Na is a form of Chinese massage related to Shiatsu and bone setting. The technique involves pressing, kneading and twiddling the body at and around the acupressure points. A great deal of attention is also given to the vertebrae and other bones in the back. This treatment can be quite different to Western ideas of massage. For a start, you remain fully clothed throughout with a sheet draped over your body. The practitioner will then work on specific areas through the sheet. This is a dry massage, so no oil is used, but heated bean bags are laid on top of whatever body part is not being massaged at that time. Bearing this in mind it’s best to wear light, loose clothing when going for Tui Na, lest you find yourself slowly cooking beneath the sheet.

It’s also important to bear in mind that Tui Na is much rougher and deeper than most massages. The aim here is not solely relaxation, but is rather to get the chi energy moving through your muscles and meridians. If you are skinny, like me, you will find your body rocking around on the bed as your practitioner vigorously kneads your spine. Some people find Tui Na painful, while others find it extremely relaxing and will fall asleep while the treatment is being administered. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear someone snoring from the next bed. Regardless of this, all seem to agree that the after effects are great, and that all the knocking, rocking and kneading is undoubtedly worth it.

Tui Na can be used to treat muscle or joint pain, but if you have a specific condition you should inform the practitioner of this before the treatment. It has also been said to alleviate headaches, migraines, IBS and constipation. You can have an hour long session for around 60 RMB, but price may vary from place to place.


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Post time 2014-3-20 21:59:48 |Display all floors


2) Fire Cupping – baguanfa – 拔罐法
During the sweltering Chinese summer when people wear lighter clothing, you will often see the unmistakeable red and purple circular marks on the backs of more sparsely-clad followers of traditional medicine. These discolorations, which often have the same colour as love bites, are the after effects of fire cupping, a treatment which involves creating vacuums against the skin using a series of glass jars, or cups, of various sizes. Fire cupping has a long history in Asia and beyond; it has even been recorded in ancient Greek writing and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The process begins with a gentle oil massage moving up and down the length of the spine. Next, one cup is attached to the skin at the top of the vertebrae and this is moved up and down the length of the back dragging its vacuum as it goes, sucking the skin and separating your fatty tissue from the muscle beneath. This is the most painful point of the therapy and if you can bear the pain at this stage then the rest of the process should be much easier. Once the spine has received its attention all 18 cups are attached onto the back. As each is suckered into place the flesh becomes more and more numb, the skin increasingly taught, until with the added weight of the glass and the numbness and immobility of the vacuums you begin to feel like you are wearing a turtle shell on your back. The cups are left in place for 10 minutes, then each is removed with a hissing noise and the treatment is completed with a short massage.

Cupping can be used to treat many conditions, I know veteran expats who swear by the treatment to stop an approaching cold or flu, but the therapy is also said to treat arthritis, swollen limbs, migraines, and even anxiety and depression. Bearing in mind the breadth of ailments cupping can improve, a 20 minute treatment is a bargain at around 50 RMB.

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Post time 2014-3-20 22:00:32 |Display all floors


3) Gua Sha – 刮痧
Gua Sha seems the most intimidating of these three therapies, but it also sounds much worse than it actually is. The technique involves scraping the back with a ceramic spoon, an old coin, worn animal bones or horns, or a smooth piece of jade. The process begins with a light oil massage; then, the scraping begins. Though your back is being scraped with a hard object, it’s important to remember that the object is smooth and blunt and that your back is lubricated with oil, making its passage across the skin much lighter. Still, the process lasts for around 20 minutes and this length of repetitive scraping will leave a mark no matter how blunt the spoon or well lubricated the back is.

Different people react to different therapies in various ways. For me, Gua Sha was more relaxing than either Tui Na or fire cupping; I left the massage bed feeling light and relaxed and practically floated along the road home. That said, for others it is a painful process. Of course, this not only depends on your body and how it reacts, but also on the practitioner who is carrying out the treatment. Some are rougher than others.

Gua Sha literally means ‘to scrape away fever’ and it is often used in the same way as cupping to purge the body of an oncoming cold or flu. It is claimed that the technique can also be used to treat muscular pain, asthma and bronchitis. Gua sha is also very cheap: you can have a 20 minute treatment for around 50 RMB.

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Post time 2014-3-24 01:01:53 |Display all floors
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Post time 2014-3-24 03:28:10 |Display all floors
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