The origin of the word “massage” is derived from either the Arabic word “mass,” meaning to touch, or the Greek word “massein,” to knead. In traditional Chinese medicine, massage is known as anma or tuina, which literally means pressing or rubbing.
The picture on the right, which was printed in Korea during the Joseon dynasty (AD 1392-AD 1897), shows the meridian system in the back, where our vital life energy (Qi[chee] ) flows up and down, intersecting, stopping and moving like a very complicated road system.
In traditional Chinese medicine, disharmony within the energy system causes pain. A good, constant flow of energy will leave you pain free. It is because of this concept that massage or body work is so popular in Asian countries. These therapies are considered an important part of treating and preventing disease and staying fit, and further the primary treatment of pain by alleviating the physical and emotional tensions of daily life.
In particular, the Urinary Bladder is the longest meridian and runs through the whole back; from the eyes and the head, through neck and down to the feet. There are points on the back, named feishu (lung), ganshu (liver), danshu (gall bladder), pishu (spleen), and weishu (stomach), which at times show the condition of each organ. They can be tender to palpation, red and swollen, and therefore many acupuncturists use these points to address not only the local muscular skeletal disorder but to also identify the internal disorder. Theoretically, if you have a healthy meridian in the back, you are healthy overall.
The question is then, how do we apply massage therapy to our daily lives in order to improve our overall health and wellness? My wife and I just started using our Human Touch® massage chair and have been so impressed with the way it operates. I have never seen such a variety of massage techniques and capabilities in any other massage chair. It really understands the human body and addresses the right areas with the proper amount of pressure to be effective. It is extremely knowledgeable of professional massage techniques and intuitive to how the human body responds to massage therapy.