History of Tuina

It seems likely that therapeutic touch is the oldest form of medicine. It requires no tools, and as most folks can attest to after stubbing their toe, rubbing the injured area makes it feel better.
Tuina is the massage therapy/body work found in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Although it shares the same theories and meridians, it is older than acupuncture, and can be used as a stand-alone therapy to prevent and treat disease.
The first mention of a tuina-like therapy dates to the Dragon Mountain (龙山文化) culture period (around 2,700 BCE) (1). During this era, each emperor set up their own arbitrary time names, so it is difficult to correlate to western dates. Ancient descriptions of tuina come from two main sources. Unearthed oracle inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells from the Shang Dynasty (1766 BCE to 1122 BCE) and 2. Records from medical books found in tombs at the Mawangdui (马王堆) burial site located in Changsha, China.
Although there were many records of diseases in the oracle inscriptions, there were few mentions of how these diseases were treated. However, in these inscriptions were indications that a tuina-like therapy was used. Among the books written on silk unearthed at the Mawangdui site was a book called “Fifty Two Medical Prescriptions” which showed treatments with tuina and medicated ointments.


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