When people think about massage services, styles like Swedish or shiatsu might come to mind. These are great modalities of massage, but there are also many varieties that are traditionally appreciated in China. If you're interested in the concept of Chinese massage, then here's what you can expect from three varieties of it.
Gua sha is a type of massage that gently scrapes the skin with a massage tool or piece of jade. The part of your body that needs the work has a lotion or gel applied to it so that the tool flows freely without any friction. The deep pressure of the scraping is believed to help stimulate blood flow and encourages muscles to relax fully. Some even say that it's useful in breaking up scar tissue and knots in muscles. The experience is said to be very relaxing, and the improved circulation causes the areas of the body worked on to feel warm.
Cupping is another type of modality that you may have heard of if you watch the Olympics. Cupping, like the name indicates, uses glass cups that are heated from the inside with a flame. This creates a suction reaction in the cup, and the practitioner uses that suction by quickly putting out the flame and applying the cup to your skin. This pulls on the skin, which can help to break up muscle tension, knots, and is also said to pull out toxins.
Apparently cupping is well-liked by athletes, as Olympic athletes used cupping themselves in order to help improve recovery time and reduce pain.
Tui na is the final modality to talk about. Tui na follows the same principles as acupressure, following along the energy meridians that flow through the body and applying pressure to them to stimulate that energy for a positive result. However, Tui na also calls for the practitioner to push and pull on the body to help relieve tension, loosen muscles, and bring general relief and healing to the area. It's also interesting in that it's a rare massage modality that allows the patient to keep all of their clothing on, which can make it a great choice if you're modest or don't feel comfortable disrobing with a stranger.
Chinese massage methods have been loved for years by the Chinese people, and they're gradually spreading their benefits to the west. If you've never had a Chinese massage before, talk to a professional masseuse about these modalities and the benefits that they can offer you.