Mahayana Internal Energy Massage

            Massage, also known as tui na, known in ancient times variously as jiao ma (矯摩), an qiao (按蹺) was first mentioned in huangdi neijing (黃帝內經).

Internal qi massage (內功按摩) is one of the chief components of the great treasury of Chinese medicine.  It occupies a pre-eminent position in the field of medicine.  In modern day naturopathy, the study of tui na theories and their use in the treatment and prevention of illnesses are universally highly esteemed.  As a therapeutic method, tui na massage has a very long history and can be regarded as the fount of much medical knowledge.  By the Ming Dynasty, after thousands of years of constant study and refinement by medical practitioners, it had already developed into a medical science with well-tried, systematic theories and practices.  Its significance as a treatment continues to grow.

Tui na massage uses a number of massage techniques and manipulative movements on specific parts of the human body to treat illnesses and to enhance their prevention.  Tui na massage opens up the meridians, restores flexibility to the joints, improves the circulation of blood and qi in the body and adjusts the functioning of the human organs, and, in general, raises the body’s ability to resist all kinds of illnesses.  It is often used in the treatment and prevention of internal and external complaints of a gynaecological, paediatric, ophthalmological or laryngological nature.  Over the years, other derivative forms such as healthful massage, total massage and paediatric massage have also grown in importance.  The benefits of tui na massage are not immediately felt.  Its efficacy is also in part determined by the ability of the practitioner.  The Chinese sayings, “one cannot create the shape without following the rules” and “ability comes naturally with study” are equally true of tui na massage.  Years of study, practice and research go into the making of an effective tui na massage therapist.

Chinese tui na massage differs from western style massage in its adherence to the Chinese theories of the meridians.

Chinese tui na massage has been, from the earliest times, a major building block in Chinese medical practices.  Long before Chinese medicine became a systematic study, the ancient Chinese were already using tui na techniques for the treatment of illnesses.  By the time of the Qin and Han Dynasties, tui na massage theories were already recorded in Chinese medical texts.  Medical texts entirely devoted to tui na massage were in publication from as early as the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  It was only after the Opium Wars, when western thought and technology came to be highly regarded in China that Chinese medicine came to be overlooked.  Consequently, in the minds of the public, tui na massage became a form of quack medicine practiced by charlatans.  It turned into a kind of folk medicine with few followers.

Mahayana Internal Energy Massage  (大乘內功按摩) is a branch of Chinese tui na massage.  Because it was practiced mostly by the common folk, it has not been given much attention and study.  The focus of its study is the use of internal energy through massage to build internal strength; as well, the practitioner’s own constitution and ability, his understanding of and skill in manipulation, persistence, standard, internal qi all have a bearing on the effectiveness of the treatment.  It is also a branch of study that seeks to determine the influence of internal energy exercises on the human body as a whole and in part. It is an important component of the theory and application of massage in Chinese medicine practiced and studied by all Chinese tui na therapists from the earliest times.

The term “gong” (功) refers to internal energy exercises which aim to, through persistent training in specialized exercises of the limbs, focussing the mind, and directing the breathing, bring about the improved functioning of the body overall.  “Fa” (法) is the methodology employed in training. The goal of internal energy massage is to strengthen the body and channel the qi.  Through the process conscious conditioning of the body and mind, one is able to improve the functioning of the internals, prevent and treat the loss of balance, while at the same time building up the lower back, arms, legs and fingers.  To ensure that one is in possession of a good store of vitality, a strong physique, good skills, enduring strength in both the wrists and fingers, flexible joints, and a sensitive touch, tui na massage therapists must look towards persistent training.  Only then can one become thoroughly grounded in the techniques of massage and become an effective healer.  Because tui na massage is a form of total body training, some of the techniques are also effective for helping patients to strengthen their own bodies, restore balance of yin and yang, and clearing the qi channels and passages.  All of these will aid in recovery.

Following the principles of Chinese medicine tui na massage therapists use their hands to apply manipulation at appropriate parts of the body and certain points along the qi channels and meridians to bring about prevention and treatment of illness.  Whether tui na is an effective form of treatment depends very much upon the therapist’s constitution, technique and skill level attained, and the cooperation of the patient.

A good tui na therapist must have be strong both physically and psychologically.  As stated in huangdi neijing (黃帝內經), “one who speaks at an unhurried pace, has hands that are sensitive and keeps the mind tranquil, is the ideal acupuncturist who can relief the pressure on the joints and tendons and restore calmness of the mind.  He is also the right person to practice qigong massage,” This ancient text is a discussion of how to select candidates for the medical profession.  It maintains that a person who has flexible joints and tendons, and is emotionally calm and composed, is a suitable person for practicing qigong medicine (including acupuncture, tui na massage and internal energy healing).  To attain these qualities, it is important for one to have had the training.  The study of tui an massage techniques is a required course for those who aspire to be specialists in massage and qigong healing.

Mahayana Internal Energy Massage  (大乘內功按摩) is a branch of study in which the practitioners, through consistent internal energy training to improve their own constitutions and skills, seek to provide the best treatment for the patient.  Internal energy training and massage therapy are inseparable, To better treat his patients, the practitioner must become an expert in the internal energy training exercises.

Mahayana Internal Energy Massage  (大乘內功按摩) is a key component of ancient Chinese tui na massage study.  It is based on dissection, physiology and the principles of Chinese medicine.  It studies the influence internal energy training has on the human body, the impact on the human body structure and its mechanics while training is in progress, as well as massage techniques.

Chinese internal massage comprises the following two components:  internal energy training for the therapist and treatment for the patient.  Internal energy training includes active exercises and static exercises.  The active exercises include Internal Hand Technique and Lao Zi Restorative Massage and Hand Training.  The static exercises include Five Organs Re-Balance Training, Breathing Exercises and Foundation-Building Breathing Training.

Mahayana Internal Energy Massage  (大乘內功按摩)is an external healing technique.  It is a substantial branch of learning with many different treatment features used in a range of internal and external illnesses.  Some of these include Main and Collateral Channels Medicine Massage, Small Heaven Massage Treatment, Abdominal Organs Rubbing and Massage Treatment, Chinese Osteopathy, Tendon Rubbing and Slapping Treatment, Meridian Massage, and Tendon Massage and Acupressure Treatment.

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