Chinese Culture >> Chinese Medicine Health >> Oriental Therapies
Oriental therapy finds its genesis in the concept of the flow of
'Chi' or energy through the body. Working simultaneously on the body, mind and
spirit, it believes that this universal energy pervades within all living
beings. A body is said to have ailed when the free flow of this energy is
blocked within the body for some reason. Oriental therapy uses conventional
techniques to release the obstruction in the flow of chi with the help of muscle
treatment, finger and palm pressure, and a range of stretch exercises. The
oriental techniques first flush out the toxins, and then build up and maintain
the energy flow of the body. At the same time, diet and lifestyle modifications
are necessary to enjoy complete benefits of this therapy.
Oriental therapies can be broadly classified into acupuncture, acupressure, massages, Chinese herbal formulations, exercises and lifestyle alteration.
Acupuncture is puncturing of specific points in the body with thin, solid needles to stimulate body's immune system to a point of self healing. It can be performed with or without moxibustion and electro stimulation. Moxibustion is the burning of specific herbs and special acupuncture points or along specific meridians. Performed with or without needles, it helps in bringing the therapeutic goodness of the herbs into the body. Electro stimulation, as the name suggests, uses micro or milli ampere power to stimulate specific points and meridians of the body. The latent electromagnetic nature of the body is aroused through electro stimulation to cure ailments, lessen pain and induce healing of tissues.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture except for the fact that instead of puncturing specific points of the body, pressure is applied on them or along meridians, which sets in the healing process. Cupping and oriental massages are also a part of acupressure. Open ended glass balls applied with suction to the body comprise cupping, which improves blood circulation and, in turn, healing. Massages such as shiatsu and tui na are also popular oriental therapies.
Chinese herbal formulations
An assortment of Chinese herbs are combined in a particular proportion according to individual requirement, and are made into pills, capsules, dissolvable powders, tinctures, or boiled decoctions. Creams and other applications for the skin can also be made from these herbs.
Among the abovementioned, oriental massage is one of the most popular techniques to maintain good health. Massage improves blood circulation, activates the hormonal and immune systems, flushes out toxins and releases tension from the muscles. Not to mention the effect it has on the emotional and mental well being of the recipient. Touch is the medium of communication between the recipient and the practitioner of massage, and it is up to the practitioner to determine the right amount of pressure required for a particular body through his experience and intuition. Expert in massage techniques, the practitioner establishes a bond of care through touch which marks the beginning of the healing process.
Choosing Tui na to relax and pamper yourself would prove to be a wrong choice because of its vigorous nature. It is a comprehensive and serious healing therapy. The first session of Tui Na often leaves the body aching or sore, but subsequent sessions are increasingly less painful and more advantageous. Tui Na gives you a feeling of lightness and energy so much so that it becomes easily addictive after initial sessions. The success of the Chinese Olympic teams can be attributed to Tui na bodyworks.
The shiatsu massage originated in China and revolves round the hara diagnosis. Located in the abdomen, hara is considered to be the energy centre of the body, and reflects the condition of the body on a whole. Original shiatsu comprised of fewer methods which led to the borrowing of some stretches from Thai massage. Apart from pressure application, stretches and joint rotations are involved in this massage. A hyperbolic sense of touch is required on the part of the practitioner to read the body's clues guiding the course of massage. A thoroughly relaxant massage, it is more effective in treating stress and emotional ailments than physical ones.
With one movement seamlessly and rhythmically merging into another, the Thai massage pressures all energy channels known as 'Sen' and the muscles through which they pass. Sustained pressure relaxes the muscles allowing free flow of energy and setting ground for the impending stretches. Treatment of injuries is enhanced by this massage. An advanced yoga type workout is then given to the patient, after which a feeling of being lifted in the air is common. For truly discovering the real meaning of flexibility, it is necessary that everybody try the Thai massage at least once in a lifetime.
Centered on the spine, the Indonesian massage is oil based one. A bit more brisk than a characteristic Thai massage, it typically comprises of spinal twists. It is particularly effective in treating abdominal ailments including constipation, indigestion, bloating, heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome.
About the Author:
Ashish Bhattacharya is an exponent of oriental and alternative medicine. Armed with a degree in East Asian Therapies from China, he is a proponent of alternative healing techniques, which aim at holistic well being.