Part 2: The Main Schools of Chinese Massage

3. Internal Kung Fu Massage

Internal Kung Fu massage is mainly based on palm-pushing (including flat-pushing, thenar-eminence-pushing and side-pushing). It requires that massagers should be well-trained in Saolin internal Kung Fu exercise. During the course, the operator should direct Qi inside but produce power outside. The manipulation should be vigorous and powerful but soft, with yin-yang in good order and gentleness and strength running parallel. Academically, with guidance from the TCM theory, it emphasizes the concept of wholism and follows the principle of strengthening the body's immune system and eliminating pathogen factors. Clinically, it emphasizes outside treatment with internal exercise, that is, the patients should, while being manipulated, practise Shaolin internal exercise so as to strengthen the immune system and keep fit. The manipulations of internal exercise massage are: flat-pushing, thenar-erninence-pushing, side-pushing, five-finger grasping, tri-finger grasping, lifting-grasping, digital-pressing, pressing, adhesion separating, joining, sweeping, arching-pushing, motioning, crossing, restoring, shaking, foulage, traction and counter-traction, palm-striking (shaking), fist-striking (shaking), stick-striking, and so on. This whole set of manipulations looks vigorous, smooth, penetrating, and imbued with typical Northern China style.

The clinical manipulations follow these procedures: pushing Qiaogong (the left side first and right side next for males, and reverse for females), separating Yintang and supra-orbital (bone), sweeping across Taiyang, five-finger grasping the top of the head, tri-finger grasping the big tendons at the neck, flat-pushing or thenar-. eminence-pushing against the chest and back, flat-pushing against the hypochondriac regions (but no pushing in the liver region), pushing-scrubbing and lifting-grasping at the upper limbs (front wrist to shoulder), foulaging the upper limbs (from shoulder to wrist), arc-pushing the shoulder joints, pressing-gripping the five fingers, splitting the finger seam, palm-striking on the fist (from the forefinger to the medial of the little finger), foulaging and shaking the upper limbs, patting on Jianjing points of both shoulders (patients in standing position, and the same for the following position), patting on the two legs (from the base of the thigh to the shank), then again five-finger grasping the top of the head, and finally tri-part striking, i.e., fist-striking Dazhui (promoting yang Qi of the whole body), fist-striking Mingmen and the Baliao to invigorate the kidney-yang and premordial Qi and conduct the fire back to its origin, palm-striking Fengan point on top of the head (like striking water with stone) for tranquilization.

The entire regular practice covers the head, face, waist, chest, abdomen and the lower limbs, involving twelve channels and eight extra-channels. It is effective in dredging the channels and collaterals, regulating Qi and blood, strengthening the body resistance and nourishing the viscera. Based on this regular practice, massagers can have their own decision, increase or reduce the manipulations to form different prescriptions. Internal Kung Fu massage is good for the treatment of internal diseases attribute to deficiency, overwork and diseases of the surgery and gynecology.

4. Finger-Pressing Massage

Finger-pressing massage is also called "digital point pressing massage" or "finger-pressure therapy" — a massage therapy used clinically to prevent and treat diseases chiefly with digital pressing, pressure massage or nipping manipulation upon the channel and collateral points. The basic manipulation is “finger-pressing" which mainly uses the finger tip to press the points. When applying pressing, the fingers either remain unmoved, or press side-wise, or knead lightly, vibrate slightly, move along or press-and-lift heavily. Besides, there are also manipulations like finger-nail-nipping, both elbow-pressing and tapping, and so on.

Because the above manipulations offer the patients a point-pressing stimulation, they should be performed on selected points along the channels and collaterals, Aslui points or tenderness points and other point-like parts. Finger-pressing manipulation has combined the therapeutic functions of acupuncture and massage, so its treatment induction is powerful, safe and comfortable, with quick effect but little damage. In the clinical practice, under the guidance of the Chinese medical theory concerning viscera, channels and collaterals, and jing, wei, qi and xue, massagers should select effective points on the channels to form a prescription based on the different syndromes. And then, they should follow prescription and perform finger-pressing massage in proper order. Mainly based on pressing and on-the-point pressing, finger-pressing is an ancient massotherapy. Many years before, The Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic described the curative effect of pressing because it can resolve blood stasis, dispel Qi and relieve pain, produce heat that can relieve pain. Therefore, this therapy is effective in regulating Qi and blood, dredging the channel, adjusting the viscera function and dispersing cold and relieving pain. It has wide application in treating the very common diseases in the departments of internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, pediatrics and eyes, ear, nose and throat.

5. Digital Point Pressure Therapy

Digital point pressure therapy, which is popular in Oingdao, Laoshan and the whole Jiaodong peninsula in Shandong Province, China, evolved from digital acupoint pressing, point-hitting, point-capturing, point-kicking, point-opening and other Kung Fu forms of the Chinese martial arts. All such digital point pressing methods serve simultaneously as means for striking skills and as therapy for injury treatment.

Drawing nutrition from striking and point-hitting techniques in Kung Fu, and based on the summarized practical experiences of its own in treatment, digital point therapy has become a well-known school of massage in preventing and treating diseases under the guidance from theoretical principles of channels and collaterals, Qi and blood of traditional Chinese medicine. Its main manipulation is digital-hitting therapy. The other important manipulations are patting, tapping, pressing, nipping, clutching-grasping, thumping and orthotherapy. The whole set of manipulations take the various ways of digital pressing, hitting, patting and thumping as its basic forms which are vigorous, swift and energetic.

During the performance, massagers are required to use forceful fingers and arms as well as the supporting power of the whole body. That is why beginners should first practice digital point pressing skills by frequent training such as squating-standing-up, strength directing and patting, contra-pulling, lying-on-the-back, back bumping, sentipede-jumping, eagle’s claw-power, paper-thumping, hill-pushing, waist-picking and so on. It is theoretically believed that any flaccidity and arthralgia generally mean the imbalance of yin and yang due to the struggle between the pathogenic factor and vital Qi, the disorder of channel Qi and blockage of ying, wei, qi and xue's circulation. Therefore stronger digital hitting manipulations are to be used on the relative or opposite acupoints in order to make the nearby ones feel shaking and open gradually so as to let the blocked Qi and blood slowly restore normal circulation.

It is also pointed out that when the channels are free of any obstruction, the diseases will disappear gradually. This shows digital point pressing therapy plays a curative role in dredging the channel, promoting the flow of Qi and blood circulation, regulating ying and wei and strengthening the vital Qi to expel external pathogenic factors. Digital acupoint pressing therapy has obtained remarkable effect in its clinical treatment for various types of paralysis, numbness and obstinate rheumatalgia.

From the introduction above, it can be seen that each massage school has formed its own special system from different origin, history, theory, main manipulations, training methods, therapeutic style and adaptable sphere. This contributes to the variety of Chinese massage schools and enrich their contents.

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ChangChou Chinese Tuina (TCM) Hospital
ChangChou, Jinan, Shandong Province, China 321503
Phone:0086-139-9820-6370 (foreign)
Phone:(0)-139-9820-6370 (domestic)
Email: Dr. ZhangLie