An Mo - Tui Na:

I first started my Study of An Mo - Tui Na in 1994 at the College of Oriental Medicine in Sheffield in association with the Gansu College of TCM in Lanzhou, Gansu, China. At that time Tui Na was pretty much unknown in the west and to be frank the situation hasn't changed much. Traditional Chinese Bodywork has largely been overshadowed by Acupuncture. I don't think that this is due to any particular superiority of one method over another but more because Acupuncture is seen as a little bit exotic and different, whereas to the untrained eye Tui Na looks like just another type of bodywork.


While there are undoubtedly many overlaps with western bodywork, the true difference stems from the way a Tui Na therapist views the human body. As with all forms of Chinese medicine the Tui N therapist views the patient not only as a physical body, but also an energetic entity that is influenced by both internal (psychological, emotional and genetic) factors and external (environmental, dietary and lifestyle) factors.

It's not appropriate to to go into the entire theortical underpinings of Chinese medicine, but I'd like to use one concept to illustrate some of the core concepts that make Chinese Medicine what it is and why it is so differnet from western medicine.

Five Phase Theory:

Five Phase theory (Wu-Xing) is often referred to as five elements. They are exactly the same merely different choices of translation. In brief the five phases are metaphors to describe different aspects of Qi (Chi) energy. It's really important to understand that the descriptions and concepts are metaphors they should not be taken literally. The diagram below illustrates how various organs and physical functions are paired in relation to Yin and Yang, the Five Phases and to other environmental factors.

The Diagram next to it is called the Neijing Tu. This image illustrates how Daoists view the human body as a landscape, a microcosm of the natural world. Again these are metaphors to help understand and illustrate concepts.

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