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Tui Na auxiliary techniques


The main tuina auxiliary techniques, useful to improve its effect, are:

  • Unguents
  • Hot compresses
  • Gua Sha
  • Cupping glasses
  • Moxa
  • Hammer



We can use them when practicing tuina manoeuvres involving a brushing movement that could damage the skin. They are anyway applied only to the area intersted by this treatment. Usually oils are not used, exceptionally talcum powder or creamy unguents, or Shonghua powder; some operators use the water where sawdust has remained for some days, or fresh ginger juice.

Hot compresses

This technique consists into applying hot gauze or flax compresses, dipped into some hot water together with a small bag containing herbs, chosen on the basis of the symptomatology observed at the moment of the tuina treatment. The compresses are placed on the patient's skin and changed when cold. Their temperature must obviously not be excessive. This technique is generally used at the end of a tuina massage practiced to cure rheumatic pains. .…to be continued in the TuiNa Video course. Click here!

Gua Sha

The technique consists into brushing a part of the body, sometimes corresponding with the line of an Energetic Channel, with a particular small spatule, to obtain the blushing of the area. The movment is light and rapid, one way, usually close-far. As well as the spatule, the rim of a coin or the back of a china spoon can be used; very important is the angle of incidence of the tool, about 30°, and the rim of tool itself that must not cause severe abrasions. According to some Schools, Gua Sha followed by cupping is a technique comparable, for its energetic effects, to bleeding. Do not brush wounds, naevi, abrasions, and in presence of severe deficits. This technique releases the esternal strata, gets rid of Heath and Cold and removes the Blood stases. .…to be continued in the TuiNa Video course. Click here!

Cupping glasses

To cup somebody means to apply on the skin a "cupping glass" where a void of air has been created, so to achieve the effect of recalling Blood to the surface. This technique seems to be derived from shamanic uses, with animals' horns used for this purpose. The cups must not be applied: on naevi, on the face, on cancer masses, on open wounds, on the abdomen of pregnant women. They must not be applied on abdomen and low back, during the menstrual period, to women with cycle troubles

There are two application methods for glass or bamboo cups that consider the use of fire. The first method consists into folding a small piece of paper as a right-angle, burning it and placing it into the cup (the fire at the bottom of the cup itself). As soon as the cup is placed on the patient's skin we'll have a void of air, the fire extinguishing for lack of oxygen.
The second method consists into holding in one hand (usually the left one) a tweezers with a cotton-flock imbued with ethyl alcohol, then fired (fasten the cotton-flock firmly around the tweezers, to avoid it falling on the patient's skin!!). The other hand inserts the fire inside the cup and then, quickly, places the cup on the patient's skin. Usually, the hand holding the fire is steady and only the hand holding the cuppet moves.
To remove the cupping glass lower the skin under the cup rim, to allow the air to go inside.

Fire cupping removes the Meridians obstructions and improves the body energetic circulation; eases the Blood circulation, removes Cold-Wind and Cold-Humidity, rebalances yin and yang. The cuppets act on skin and muscles by an irritative meridians stimulus obtained with micro-traumas at the capillary vessels that produce a therapeutic Blood stasis. We must avoid causing blisters .... …to be continued in the TuiNa Videocourse. Click here!

How to use them
The cuppets are generally used in four different ways:

Persistent application: the cupping glass is placed on the skin from 5-10 minutes up to 20, according to the patient's skin reaction.
Flashing application: the cuppets are applied, immediately removed and immediately re-placed; the best way to expel the cold wind.
Sliding application: grease with unguent or oil the area to be treated and the rim of the cuppet; then apply the cup, that will be moved forward and back, slipping, on the area to be treated (usually along a meridian's way); very good technique for old traumas.
Application of cuppets on the needle or after Y Zhi Chan Tui Fa or alike techniques.



The Artemisia vulgaris wool rolled as a cigar, or pressed in the shape of in small cones, then lighted, is used to vehiculate heat inside the body, warm the meridians and catch the yang; invigorates, and is used in case of Cold syndromes. Moxa is a Japanese word that indicates the technique (less used is the Chinese word, Jiu fa). "The technique consists not only into warming specific points; there is also the idea that the therapeutical properties of the plant are passed to the organism by fumigation or contact (...); in his treaty on "fever deseases caused by cold) doctor Zhang Zhong Jing in the II° century A.D. recommended to burn cinnamon sticks to warm some specific points, so as to expel from the organism the patogenous cold, stimulating sweating".
Moxa is not used in correspondence of main arteries, on sensitive areas and cancer masses; use very carefully on the face. It is absolutely forbidden on some acupuncture points and of course is not used in case of syndroms due to heat …to be continued in the TuiNa Videocourse. Click here!

Application methods:
Direct contact moxa: moxa cones placed on the skin, that could be stewn with oil. Excellent in case of cold-dampness.
Indirect contact moxa: interposing some ingredients that go deep inside thanks to the moxa action. We can use slices of garlic (for heat retention, antibacterial), slices of fresh ginger, previously pierced (cold-dampness) or salt.
Moxa in a shell: this method originally consisted into placing a moxa cone, or a piece of moxa roll, in a shell placed on the area to be treated. Today, we can either use a real shell or china tools, in case interposing a gauze, not to burn the patient. The lighted moxa must be placed in the shell at the beginning, to make the heat warm the shell gradually, to avoid termic shocks that cold break it.
Moxa stick: we use a moxa cigar, rotating it or bird-beak way.
Moxa on hot needle: insert the needle, then warm it with the moxa stick or placing some moxa wool, then lighted, around the needle itself.
Box: For great areas, place some wool inside the moxa box.
Moxa on the skin: this is a method not in use in the West; consists into causing scalds on the skin.


We have two kinds of hammer, the "Plum Flower" hammer, with five needles on the top (head), and the "Seven Stars" one, with seven needles. This technique consists into beating the skin with the hammer, with a rhythmic and perpendicular percussion movement. To invigorate we make a light percussion that blushes the skin, to reduce we have to cause minor bleedings. For this reason the hammer must obviously be sterilized after each use or, better, we can use the kind with replaceable one-use heads