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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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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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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5 Tips for a Healthy Post-Summer Time

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Blog

It’s September and for a lot of us summer holidays are already behind. The days are slowly getting shorter, it’s getting progressively colder and happy days with family and friends are now images fading away as we are getting back into our normal routine. So, how can we live this transitional time happily without feeling too depressed and keeping our energy levels up? 1 – Keep eating healthy: Summer is a rich time of the year when fruit and vegetables are abundant. Our body needs all these vitamins and minerals to keep healthy and to prepare for the winter ahead. But towards the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, there are still plenty of great healthy foods available. Among the seasonal fruits are grapes, apples, plums and pears and among vegetables, we still find courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes as well as carrots, leeks, kale, celery, fennel, chicory, artichoke and baby squash. As we move towards the autumn and colder days, eat progressively less raw food and add more cooked food to your diet to avoid exhausting your digestive function. 2 – Exercise: During summer, the body receives a lot more oxygen than rest of the year. This is because there are leaves on trees and therefore more oxygen is produced, but also because we are enjoying nicer weather and summer breaks, inciting us to get outdoors more and be more active. Even though the days are getting shorter and cooler, keep getting outside and exercising in order to benefit from the increased level of oxygen in the air. You will have more energy and a better mood. Even mild exercise is enough. This leads me to the next tip… 3 – Enjoy walking in nature: Exercising doesn’t have to mean exhausting yourself at the gym, it can also mean going for an enjoyable walk in the countryside. In Chinese Medicine, breathing primary Qi (primary oxygen) is essential for staying healthy, which means walking in the woods, on the hills or by the seaside can be very nourishing and beneficial to your health. Also, in many medical systems, including Chinese medicine and Ayuverdic medicine, nature colours have healing properties. 4 – Sleep a little longer: Good sleep is very important for our health and to be active physically and mentally our bodies needs appropriate rest. Summer can be a time to “reload our batteries” but we also tend to sleep less due to longer days and being more active. Now with the days getting shorter, we will also need to rest slightly more. From mid-September, sleeping around 8 hours a night should be adequate rest to keep our batteries up. 5 – Get acupuncture: Now, maybe you are thinking that all of the previous tips are making sense but you feel that you are lacking the motivation or the energy to apply them. Or maybe you simply feel...

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