The Definitive Guide To Oriental Chinese Massage


Chinese Massage techniques


Compression consists of pressing and twisting motions that apply direct pressure to a patient. This pressure can alleviate muscle spasms, and work out knots or stiffness. Compression also promotes blood circulation.


Friction is a technique similar to other massages. It involves rubbing or gliding motions, to realign muscles and dissolve knots or tension. Massage therapists may create heat, by rubbing in circular motions on the area to warm the muscles up.


A therapist will rock, shake, or vibrate an area to create force. This releases tension, improves gastrointestinal function, and removes stagnation, allowing the Qi to resume proper flow.

Pinching and grasping

A therapist will focus on areas of soft tissue, kneading, pinching, and twisting the area. Usually applied to areas such as upper shoulders, this removes tensions and allows Qi movement through the meridians.

Joint manipulation

Focusing on the axis of body parts such as shoulders and hips, joint manipulation includes rotating and pulling motions to increase joint range and flexibility. It also promotes flexibility of the spine and limbs.

What can I expect from my first Oriental massage appointment?

As Chinese massage is not designed purely for relaxation, but realignment, you may feel tender after your first appointment. While you will reap the benefits of the massage treatment, there are a few things it is useful to know before your first session.

  • Inform the therapist that it is your first massage. If they are aware, they can explain techniques to you as they are performing them, and help to avoid excessive discomfort.
  • Depending on the length of your massage the therapist may request you remove your clothes (if you are having a short 20-minute session focusing on the neck and shoulders, this will not be necessary). For an Oriental massage, it is beneficial to remove clothes down to your underwear. The therapist will leave the room, and knock to see if you are ready, and already lying under the towel on the massage table.
  • Your therapist will work on your jin, the soft tissue which connects the body. They will work through the acupressure points of the body, starting at the head, using alternating techniques, discussed above.
  • Chinese massage therapists are more likely than other therapists to encourage talking during the session. Talking can help release emotions, which is important to the Qi flow. It is up to you how comfortable you are doing this, or if you would prefer quiet.
  • There will be a certain level of discomfort during the massage, particularly if it is your first time, as your Qi may be blocked, and your body will be holding tension. Excessive pain is not to be expected, but a high level of discomfort can occur. You always have the option to ask your therapist to pause, or use less pressure in certain areas. There is also the option to ask the therapist to change the music, the oil, or the incense.
  • The therapist will tell you to drink a lot of water after your appointment, and to avoid alcohol and cigarettes for a day or so. This is to ensure the toxins released from your muscles during the massage are flushed out of your system properly, and don’t build up.
  • It is normal to experience soreness, stiffness and tender areas a day or two after a Chinese massage. Like any massage, as blood circulation increases, nutrients are delivered to your muscles. This can cause a type of inflammation, especially if you are not used to Chinese massages. Soreness is a physical response to the inflammation this stimulation can cause. You may also experience emotional release, as Chinese massage is about healing your entire body, not just the physical aspect.
  • As this style of massage is about healing the body, and the way it works through your Qi, you may not find yourself feeling relaxed after just one session. Physical and emotional pain can be repressed within the body, and when you begin working on it, it tends to get worse before it gets better. There are, however, plenty of benefits to this therapy, which has thousands of years of experience behind it.


  1. 2020, Traditional Chinese Massage, Australian Traditional Medicine Society.
  2. Alexandra Engler, 2019, What Can Chinese Massage Therapy Do For You?, MindBodyGreen.
  3. 2019, An Overview of Basic Techniques for Traditional Chinese Massage Therapy, Fremont College.
  4. 2011, What is Chinese Acupressure Massage?, Natural Therapy Pages.
  5. Dr. Jimmy Le, 2019, Chinese Remedial Massage (Tui Na) – Benefits and Precautions, Chinese Health Institute.
  6. 2020, Chinese Massage, Massagetique.