To complement the Research Reports in the June 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.

tuina therapy

Among healthy volunteers, a 10-minute session of Yi Zhi Chan Tuina therapy yielded significantly greater improvements in peripheral blood circulation than a two-minute session, and the use of medium and heavy pressure in these sessions had a significantly greater effect than the use of light pressure, according to recent research.

The study, “Optimization of parameters of Yi Zhi Chan Tuina manipulation promotes peripheral circulation,” involved 45 healthy male volunteers ages 18 to 40, with a mean age of around 26 years. Subjects were randomly divided into nine groups. Participants in all nine groups received Yi Zhi Chan Tuina on the Chengjin (BL 56) acupoint; however, the manipulation force and treatment time differed from group to group.


A Classical Technique

“Yi Zhi Chan Tuina manipulation is a classical Chinese Tuina manipulation technique,” stated the study’s authors. “It involves using the thumb to continuously apply alternate light and heavy forces to acupoints by swinging of the wrist joint to achieve a collateral dredging effect.”

According to the researchers, the aim of the study was to determine the most effective pressure and treatment time for improving peripheral blood circulation. The main outcome measures were changes in popliteal artery average volume flow, pulsatility index and vessel diameter. These outcomes were assessed at baseline and again after the Tuina manipulation.


Results of Tuina Sessions

Results of the research showed that, following the Tuina therapy session, each group experienced a significant increase in vessel diameter and a significant decrease in pulsatility index; seven of the nine groups experienced a significant increase in popliteal artery volume flow.

An analysis of the data revealed that a treatment time of 10 minutes was significantly more effective than a treatment time of two minutes, and that medium and heavy force were more effective than light force.

“In conclusion, manipulation force and treatment time directly influence the effects of Yi Zhi Chan Tuina manipulation in improving peripheral blood circulation,” stated the authors. “The use of medium and heavy forces, and longer treatment time, on limb acupoints produces a greater reduction in the resistance of local peripheral vessels, an increase in flow velocity and volume flow, and increase in vessel diameter.”


About the Study

Authors: Fang Lei, Fang Min, Jiang Shichao and Chen Hua.

Sources: Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, School of Rehabilitation Science, Shanghai, China; and the Department of Tuina, Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Shanghai, China. Originally published in October 2015 in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 35(5), 558-563.

For more massage-related research, visit the MASSAGE Magazine research archive.