Combining massage with
herbal medicine has great benefits. Massage can enhance and speed up the
action of herbal remedies. Our hands can detect a wealth of diagnostic
information, and touch adds a deeply compassionate level to the act of
healing. Furthermore the liniments, oils etc. used in massage provide an
additional channel for herbs to work.
Chinese massage is a sophisticated ancient but
living tradition rooted in Yin-Yang, five elements, qi-blood-fluid etc.
with a unique power to heal disease rather than simply relax the body
and relieve tension.
Chinese massage is closely related to acupuncture
in its use of the meridian system and is considered to be effective for
a similar range of health problems. However, it should not be seen as a
poor relation to acupuncture. It is an effective and comprehensive
therapy and is regarded alongside herbs, diet, qigong and is one of the
fundamental arts of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Massage is, of course, as old as human kind. However,
even with this perspective the pedigree of Chinese massage is
impressive. There are massage textbooks as far back as the Nei Jing
(722-481 BC), the most ancient medical texts. In the Tang Dynasty
(618-907 AD) it is recorded that there were 56 massage doctors in the
imperial hospital -- more than the total of herbalist and acupuncturists
around this time.
Chinese techniques were imported to Japan and
eventually gave rise to Japanese Shiatsu. Later still Peter Henrik Ling
learned from Chinese masters before developing Swedish Massage, the
origin of Western bodywork.
|The development of the
Chinese tradition came from the synergy among four groups: doctors who
brought the sophisticated medical theories of TCM to massage, martial
arts who combined deep experience of qi with great ability to heal
injuries, Bhuddist and Taoists who used massage as an essential
support to their spiritual yoga and laymen -- often blind practitioners
-- offering massage for pleasure and relaxation.
Since the time of the Mao Zedong, massage has
continued to develop absorbing western ideas into the traditional
framework. It is widely practiced and taught in hospital and medical
schools and is an essential part of primary healthcare. The astounding
success of China’s athletes and gymnasts is due at least in part to
the use of old traditional massage in their training. Chinese massage is, in
fact, not a single therapy but encompasses five related and overlapping