Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tuina Massage

About 5 years ago I broke my wrist and needed a surgical procedure to attach metal rods to hold it in place while it knit together. Because I was immobile (I elevated it 24-7), when the rods were finally removed, my hand was unable to grasp or clench. I couldn't make a fist.

Of course I saw a physical therapist and worked with her for several months. I also worked with an occupational therapist. However, the disability remained and this set me on a course to find alternative treatments that could help me regain the use of my hand.

One approach that seemed to make a big difference was the Graston Technique, which addresses soft tissue injuries. It's quite painful. Although I progressed, I still had residual disability.

Massage was another therapy I employed. In selecting a practitioner, I'm concerned not only with their credentials and experience, but more so with their energy.

I believe that the body knows how to heal itself when given the raw resources. Energy is one of those invaluable resources. Each of us is an energy field and I've discovered that some people's field touch me in a positive way and promote healing. Others have less of an impact.

My massage therapist was excellent. Unlike the physical therapist and occupation therapist who focused exclusively on my wrist and hand, she worked on my shoulder and arm, even my back. She suggested that I might benefit from acupuncture, so off I went to see if this treatment would improve my condition.

Acupuncture had some effect. It's based on the concept that life force, energy, chi, gets blocked, which results in symptoms. Most practitioners who study acupuncture also learn about Tuina, Chinese massage. It too identifies and relieves energy blocks. Rather than needles to open the channels, Tuina practitioners use their hands, arms to "roll" and knead the body.

The Tuina Therapist I'm seeing teaches others and is highly skilled. At times the massage was quite painful, which happens when energy cannot flow freely through a channel. However, despite the momentary pain, this treatment has been extremely effective in restoring my health. I still have some disability (can't bend the last digits on my fingers to make a complete fist), but I can do everything (hold a hairbrush, a pen, turn my wrist over to receive change) so that most individuals are unaware of any limitations.

Two days ago I suddenly found my salivary gland swollen on the left side. It occurred as I was eating a piece of fruit. After reflecting internally on what was happening and then doing some homework on the internet, I concluded that it was the salivary gland and not some other condition. As it turned out, I was scheduled to see my Tuina Therapist yesterday. So I presented the situation to him.

Rather than work directly on the area, he rolled on my chest and arm and other body parts. Sure enough the channel opened and the energy flowed easily again. My symptom was relieved.

If you have some kind of health issue, consider alternative treatments. There are many types available and each has its benefits. If one doesn't work, continue to explore and try another. If you're open, you'll find the right one for you. I did.

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