Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teaching and Tuina

Yesterday and today I gave exams for the Summer term at East West College of Natural Medicine where I am a faculty member. This term I taught some classes that I regularly teach, such as Anatomy and Physiology, Oriental Medicine Physiology, and Orthopedic Evaluation. The class I enjoyed teaching the most this term, however, was Tuina.

Myofascial Release to the Infraspinatus Muscle

Tuina is a Chinese system of clinical massage and manipulation/joint mobilization. This class allows me to draw on my clinical experience with structural integration, which I studied and practiced before going back to school for Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Many people know this work as Rolfing, as the original body of work was developed by Dr. Ida Rolf, PhD. This work uses deep tissue myofascial release applied to shortened, densified connective tissue and muscles (myo-muscle, fascia-connective tissue) with the goal of realigning the body and helping integrate movement patterns. This work is often performed in a ten-session series, with each session having a particular goal (opening restrictions in breathing, balancing the weight in the feet, etc.).

While there are many excellent schools that teach this work, many talented SI practitioners and Rolfers teach aspects of this work to therapists who want to apply it to their existing work flow. This has been my goal with teaching this work at a Chinese medicine and acupuncture program. I teach how strain patterns tend to manifest in the body, how to assess for them, and then some manual release techniques and how to include them in combination with a more integrated acupuncture treatment. What I have found is that this work syncs very well with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

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