Tui Na – Chinese Therapeutic massage

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in Blog

Tui Na – Chinese Therapeutic massage

In October 2013, I went to Beijing for a month to further my knowledge of Chinese medicine. As well as studying with my mentor Dr. Wang JuYi, I also had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in an area which is of great interest to me, Tui Na. Tui Na means “push and grasps” and this term is commonly used when talking about Chinese therapeutic massage. I first discovered Tui Na when I was studying for my acupuncture degree at the University of Salford (UK). As part of my curriculum, I had a bodywork module on Swedish massage and one of our teachers demonstrated a few Tui Na techniques. This was nice but it remained too superficial for me to use Tui Na in my practice. In October 2013, I went to Beijing with two of my colleagues, Alex Brazkiewicz and Mairi Caughey. Alex, who has used Tui Na for years in his practice, organised the training for us at the Beijing Massage Hospital. At the Beijing Massage Hospital; photos of the tutors and myself. In China, Tui Na is very popular. At the hospital where we trained, there are inpatients and outpatients and the whole place is dedicated to Tui Na. Each doctor sees between ten and fifteen patients every day. The place is very busy because Tui Na is very effective at treating many problems. This includes sports and soft tissue injuries and many other musculoskeletal problems. It can even be used to help conditions such as insomnia, headaches or gastrointestinal disorders. For residents of Beijing, it is also incredibly cost efficient as treatments are very good value even by Chinese standards. Tui Na is no ordinary massage. It is one of the three branches of Chinese Medicine alongside herbal medicine and acupuncture and is recognised as such in China. As you may know, Chinese Medicine is holistic which means that body and mind are seen as a whole system where everything is interconnected and working together. This means that when treating a patient, a Tui Na practitioner uses acupuncture channels and points to diagnose and treat patients. The manipulation techniques used are also specific such as Gun Fa (rolling), Tui Fa (pushing), Rou Fa (kneading), An Fa (pressing), etc. Also, different parts of the practitioner’s body can be used to massage like fingers, hands, forearms and elbows. Finally, acupressure is used for the full benefit of patients. The massage, although holistic, is done with the aim of targeting and treating the patient’s main complaint. In my practice, a typical Tui Na session will last between 30 to 40 minutes. If it is your first session, I will establish a diagnosis to evaluate your problem (though it is not as detailed an assessment as for an acupuncture session). Once the initial diagnosis complete, the massage should last between 30 minutes to 1 hour and most patients report...

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An acupuncture seminar with Dr. Wang JuYi in Holland – 24th and 25th May 2014

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Blog

An acupuncture seminar with Dr. Wang JuYi in Holland – 24th and 25th May 2014

I recently went to Holland to attend an acupuncture seminar with my tutor Dr. Wang JuYi. In a previous post, I introduced Dr. Wang. He redeveloped a traditional skill called Channel Theory and Examination. This skill has been ignored for many years in China but it is the heart and soul of acupuncture and fundamental to understanding how and why acupuncture works. Using it helps practitioners to get more refined diagnoses and more efficient treatments.   Since it was probably one of the last visits of Dr. Wang to Europe, it was very important for me to attend. Organised by Qing Bai, a Dutch college of Chinese Medicine, it was held in a small town, Amersfoort, which is about 50 km to the East of Amsterdam. The seminar lasted four days but sadly, I was only able to attend two days. I arrived in Holland on Friday 23rd May in the afternoon and since I did not have time to attend the seminar, I chose instead to do a little bit of tourism. I took the train to the centre of Amsterdam and booked myself on one of the numerous cruise boats that bring you around the city through the canals. It was my first time in Amsterdam and what a great city it is! I definitely understand why it is called “The Venice of the North”. Beyond the architecture and canals, I also really enjoyed the quietness of the place. Having few cars in town brings a sense of peacefulness that can’t be found anywhere else, except for Venice.   But anyway, back to the seminar! It was an advanced course open to practitioners who were already using Channel Palpation and Theory and wanted to deepen their understanding of this classical technique. The days were divided between lectures with Dr. Wang in the morning and practical workshops with his apprentices in the afternoons. Dr. Wang came accompanied by three of his official apprentices: Jason Robertson, Nyssa Tang from the USA and Jonathan Chang, who is Dr. Wang’s current apprentice. They were in charge of the afternoons workshops with the support of two other colleagues, Michael Phoenix from the UK and Rodrigo Aranda from Chile. On the first day, Dr. Wang talked about the nature, structure and theory of acupuncture points and I would like to share with you a little bit of what Dr. Wang taught us. Acupuncture points are called ‘XueWei’ in modern Chinese. ‘Xue’ is commonly translated in English as ‘point’. This translation implies a precise location on the skin. However, in Chinese, ‘Xue’ is a little more detailed. ‘Xue’ is the pinyin of a Chinese ideogram and ideograms represent a whole concept or idea. The concept of ‘Xue’ implies a structure that is underneath the ground where people can live safely and protected from the exterior. This analogy provide us with a more visual idea...

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Dr. Wang Ju-Yi and Channel Examination

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Blog

Dr. Wang Ju-Yi and Channel Examination

On Friday 23rd May 2014, I am going to Amersfoort (Holland) until Sunday 25th May for an acupuncture seminar with my mentor Dr. Wang Ju-Yi. As I mentioned in my previous post, I first met Dr. Wang in June 2010 in Paris and I have regularly followed his teachings since then. Dr. Wang Ju-Yi is a Chinese Medicine doctor practicing in Beijing, China. During his over 50 years career, he has held many important positions such as Chief Physician of Acupuncture at the Beijing Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Director of the Xuanwu Hospital of Chinese Medicine and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. For me, what makes him one of the most interesting Chinese doctors to study with is not all the prestigious positions that he has held during his career, but his tremendous knowledge of Chinese medicine and his unique interpretation of the Chinese Medicine classics. Dr. Wang studied medicine during the late 50s and early 60s, and he was a graduate of the very first class at the Beijing College of Traditional Medicine in 1962. He had the chance to study with some of the great masters of the time whose knowledge was lost or modified during the Cultural Revolution that took place in China from 1966 until 1976. Nowadays, Dr. Wang is in some ways transmitting this lost knowledge to his students and apprentices. There is another treasure that Dr. Wang is sharing with us. Through his reading and interpretation of the classics, he redeveloped a lost skill, “Channel examination”. Channel examination is a diagnosis tool. In Chinese Medicine, when diagnosing a patient, acupuncturists use different techniques. Generally, they use tongue and pulse diagnosis and questioning to investigate a patient’s complaint. But, Dr. Wang has added another technique which is Channel examination. It involves looking, feeling and palpating the forearms and lower legs, along the acupuncture channels that run through the body, searching for abnormal changes. Not only can channels provide additional clues about a patient’s health, but they can also reveal which channels are diseased, allowing acupuncturists to refine their diagnosis and choose a better point prescription. Acupuncture treatments become more efficient and reliable. Channel examination allows acupuncture to reveal its true power. Without the perspicacity and lifetime research of Dr. Wang, acupuncture would be missing a fundamental tool. Only a few practitioners are using this skill in Ireland. Actually, we are only two who use it everyday in our practice – Mairy Caughey, acupuncturist in Navan and myself, Cyrille Bonnard, acupuncturist in...

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How I became an acupuncturist

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Blog

How I became an acupuncturist

How to better start this blog than by first telling you who I am. My name is Cyrille Bonnard. I practice acupuncture in Dublin at Morrison Chambers 32 Nassau Street. The name of my practice is Equilibre Acupuncture. ‘Equilibre’ is the French for equilibrium and I have chosen this word because the aim of acupuncture is to re-establish equilibrium in the body. I also kept the word in French as a wink to my mother tongue. Before becoming an acupuncturist, I was a professional musician. I started to play my instrument, the euphonium (a brass instrument of the tuba family), when I was 8 or 9 years old. After graduating from a music conservatoire in Paris in 1998, I moved to Manchester (UK) to study at the Royal Northern College of Music and completed my postgraduate studies. Moving and studying in England was very challenging for me as my English was very limited, but after gaining a postgraduate diploma and half a master of music, I established myself in Manchester as a professional musician and teacher. I quickly found myself in a position where I was teaching music most of the time, but I wasn’t performing as much as I wanted. Although I enjoy teaching, this was unfulfilling for me and I decided to change career. This was a crucial time in my life. I had a keen interest towards oriental philosophies and practices. I was doing some yoga regularly and had attended a few meditation courses. There was also something bothering me greatly. A lot of my musician colleagues were suffering with various musculo-skeletal problems and injuries and I was interested in finding a way to help them. One day, browsing the internet, I came across an acupuncture course at the University of Salford and everything became clear in my head. I remembered that one of my music tutors in France has had nearly miraculous results with acupuncture and also that members of my family have had acupuncture in the past and were full of praise for it. In October 2006, I dived into the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I had been accepted on a 3-year full-time degree in Chinese Medicine at the University of Salford, near Manchester. I have to say that this was probably one of the best decisions of my life. I loved the course and I graduated with a B.Sc (Hons.) in June 2009 and immediately followed this with a trip to China to study at the Guiyang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in August of the same year. Then in September, my wife and myself moved to Dublin. At the beginning, starting my practice wasn’t easy. Very quickly I started to feel that something was missing. I had good results but they were inconsistent. I knew that my diagnostic skills were good but occasionally acupuncture would not work. I found this very...

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Five Reasons Not to be Scared of Acupuncture

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Blog

Five Reasons Not to be Scared of Acupuncture

Acupuncture can sometimes be a little intimidating for people, mainly because it is not embedded in our culture like it is in China or other asian countries. But there is no reason to be afraid of acupuncture, it could really change your life and help you to see and understand your body from a different perspective. 1. Acupuncture is safe Over the past 20 years, the safety of acupuncture has been studied extensively. Most studies were conducted in Europe and all of the studies came to the same conclusion that acupuncture is a very safe therapy when performed by a qualified and competent practitioner. The most significant studies are found in the UK and in Germany. One study, which was commissioned by the British Acupuncture Council, comprised the audit of 34,000 treatments (Mac Pherson et al., 2001), another one was an audit of adverse reactions among 66,229 patients (White, 2006). Finally, in Germany, an observational study was carried out among 229,230 patients (Witt et al., 2009). These are the three main studies that are cited today and all of them come to the same conclusion: acupuncture is a safe therapy under the right hands. So, be sure to choose well your acupuncturist by checking that he/she is a member of a professional body as they only accept properly trained and insured members. 2. Modern acupuncture needles are safe Nowadays, modern acupuncture needles are as safe as they can be. In the past, acupuncture needles were re-usable and sterilised in-between patients. This presented some risks. Firstly, using an autoclave could not guarantee total sterilisation so a risk of cross-infection remained and secondly, when needles were re-used again and again, they could develop weaknesses and become brittle. Today, only single-use sterilised needles are allowed. Modern single-use needles are sterile, very thin, flexible and strong which greatly reduces the risk of adverse events and removes the risk of cross-infection between patients. 3. Your acupuncturist knows what he/she is doing Every acupuncturist who has been properly trained knows how to locate and needle points and the most commonly used points are perfectly safe. Sometimes I see patients who are at first worried that a needle could harm a tendon, a nerve, an artery etc. There are two reasons not to be worried about this. Acupuncture points lie in-between the structures in the interstitial spaces and that’s where the acupuncturist is aiming to insert the needles. Secondly, these structures are quite tough. Since the acupuncturist is inserting needles gently, in the event of coming close a structure, it will simply be pushed aside. Now, there are some areas of the body that demand more caution but a properly trained acupuncturist will know how to needle these points safely. Keep in mind that for an acupuncturist, your safety is always the primary concern. 4. The right sensation is a tingling sensation Sometimes I see patients...

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A Study Trip in China – Part 2

Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Blog

A Study Trip in China – Part 2

Since my first post about my trip to China, nearly a month has past. As you may have noticed, I wasn’t able to keep up with posting on this blog every week for the duration of my trip. To make up for this, I am going to write a long post about the three remaining weeks that I spent in Beijing. From the second week onwards, my colleagues and myself became very busy. On top of our already busy schedule came more tutorials and Chinese language lessons. We also had homework to do! At the end of each day, we would go over what we learned together to help us absorb the vast amount of information we had received in the day. This was especially important for our studies on Tuī Na since we were to have an examination to conclude our training. During the third and fourth week, our schedule remained much the same as the previous week. We were at the Beijing Massage Hospital (BMH) every weekday to study Tuī Na, clinical observation with our mentor Dr. Wang Ju Yi was every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, tutorials on acupuncture for orthopaedic problems with Yefim Gamgoneishvili was every Tuesday and Thursday evening (see Yefim’s presentation on You Tube for the 3rd International TCM Congress in Athens in 2013: http://youtu.be/ADb6Lgy-aNo) and finally, on Saturday afternoons, I had private Chinese (Mandarin) tuition to improve my spoken Chinese. Before going further, I would like to explain more about Tuī Na. In Chinese, Tuī means “push” and Na, “hold”. This is a therapeutic massage and, like acupuncture, is a main branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Tuī Na is primarily used for musculoskeletal problems, however it is also used for internal diseases such as headaches, insomnia and constipation. Various techniques are used such as rolling, pressing, rubbing, kneading and plucking. Used in combination with acupuncture, it makes treatments more effective. At the BMH we spent most of our time observing and treating patients. We were under the supervision of three doctors, Dr. Sun Yin, Dr. Tang Hongbo and Dr. Wang Xingchao. The doctors were very helpful and happy to share their knowledge with us. Each doctor would see between 15 and 20 patients a day. The doctors gave us the opportunity to treat some of their own patients. At the end of our 66-hour training here, we passed an examination and received a certificate. This experience has been really interesting for me on many levels. As well as learning a new skill, I also developed an area that I didn’t know too much about. Even if I’m primarily an acupuncturist, as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, it is important to know about other branches of this medicine in order to respond better to patient’s expectations. Bodywork and hand manipulation were an area that I needed to deepen so I could use it...

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