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February 1, 2012

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TCM treatments

WESTERN spas are said to have originated in a small town of Liege in Belgium and then spread to the rest of Europe, North America and Asia.

China has a long traditional of massage therapies, reflexology and various water therapies and these therapies are increasingly popular, as are spa settings and other therapies.

In Shanghai, locals are fond of foot reflexology sessions and Chinese massage. Bathhouses are open 24/7 where one can spend hours in water therapy and immersion in ponds of different temperature and mineral content. They can receive massage and other treatments and then tuck into health food. All for the sake of good health and longevity.

The health goals of Western spa therapy and traditional Chinese medicine are the same. Many Chinese spas cooperate with certified TCM professionals for Chinese massage, reflexology and other treatments.

"I am not sure how to define a TCM spa, but proper massage on the energy channels in the back can definitely benefit health. Regularly soaking feet in hot water activates blood circulation, which is good for health, without or without massage," says Jiang Zaifeng, physician of the tuina (Chinese massage, literally "push-pull") department of Liangcheng Community Hospital.

The TCM theory of energy channels and acupuncture points are the most commonly adopted TCM elements for spas.

Apart from traditional types of massage to sooth muscles and tendons, TCM massage on certain energy channels and acupuncture points can also soothe nerves improve energy and blood circulation and accelerate metabolism.

Heads up

The brain has around 100 billion nerve cells that influence other parts of the body. Head massage can help reinforce the yang (hot energy) and blood circulation in the head, help relieve fatigue and refresh the mind. It's food for the scalp and hair.


The governer meridian that travels through the spine is one of the most important energy channels and other important organ-related acupuncture points, such as shen shu (kidney point), gan shu (liver point), fei shu (lung point) and xin shu (heart point) are positioned on the back. Careful back massage parallel to the spine is recommended to ensure healthy energy circulation, active metabolism and eliminate toxins. Keeping the back warm is important to prevent "pathogenic energy invasion."


TCM theory holds that each organ has a corresponding spot on the sole of the foot, so massaging these regions can improve organ health. Rubbing soles can help prevent and relieve certain discomforts. Customers usually soak their feet in hot water to increase blood circulation and open pores. Herbal ingredients can also activate circulation better than hot water. They include danggui (angelica), saffron, pseudo-ginseng and dangshen (root of red-rooted salvia or red-root sage).


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