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The Ultimate Guide to TCM Massage (Tui Na) in Singapore (2021)


Feeling lethargic and sore? According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), you may be lacking what is known as Qi (or Chi). [1] Qi is the life force flowing through your body that sustains you, keeping your body balanced and connected to the environment around you. When your Qi is disrupted, you may experience a myriad of emotional and physical problems.

TCM massage, or TuiNa massage, makes use of the principles of Qi and other elements in TCM to help with a variety of health conditions, especially pain management, such as chronic pain.

What is TCM Tui Na massage? 

In TCM, Tui Na is a form of therapeutic massage or bodywork that originated in China over 2000 years ago. [2] It is one of the five branches of TCM and is considered a type of External Medicine. [3]

It is performed using special massage techniques, where a TCM practitioner’s palms, fingertips and knuckles are used to knead, roll, brush, press or rub your body to remove blockages along the meridian acupoints in order to stimulate Qi and blood flow which promotes balance and healing.[4]

What are the principles behind TCM Tui Na massage? 

The improper flow of Qi in the body can result in blockages that in turn cause poor blood circulation, tension and soreness in the body. Over time, more toxins accumulate thereby leading to illnesses. Tui Na helps to release the bad energy and unblock the flow of Qi. This helps to relieve tight areas and tension in the body.[5]

To put it simply, Tui Na manipulates Qi and balances Yin and Yang by applying pressure onto the specific acupoints in our body which correspond to our 12 major meridians.

How is TCM Tui Na massage different from Western massage?

Tui Na is a form of Eastern massage where practitioners are trained using the holistic approach to view the body as a unified system that incorporates the physical body, mind and spirit. Meanwhile, Western massage separates the body by its different functions and only focuses on healing those areas where there are pain or disease symptoms. [6]

Both are massage therapies that use touch to heal injuries, relieve pain, and prevent and cure illnesses, derived from customs dating back to ancient history. As both a form of art and science, touch is the essential ingredient in both forms of massage therapy.

tui na for shoulder aches

What is TCM Tui Na massage used for?

There are various ailments and conditions that Tui Na can treat and they include:

  • Shoulder and back pain [7]
  • Neck pain
  • Acute torticollis — Stiffness on one side of the neck
  • Frozen shoulder 
  • Low back and leg pain
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Sciatica — Back pain due to the sciatic nerve
  • Knee pain
  • Heel pain
  • Acute sprain/strain
  • Joint misalignment
  • Post-stroke symptoms
  • Vertigo — Dizzy spells
  • Migraines — Intense headaches
  • Arthritis [3] — Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia — Inability to fall asleep
  • Constipation — Difficult bowel movements
  • Disorders of the digestive system
  • Disorders of the respiratory system
  • Disorders of the reproductive system

Read also: Can Tuina massage therapy help with pinched nerves?

What are the health benefits of TCM Tui Na massage? 

The benefits of Tui Na include:

  • Enhancing the immune system
  • Relieves pain and aches [8]
  • Relieves stress and tension in the body
  • Helps the blood circulate
  • Stimulates the body’s natural healing processes

What are the side effects of TCM Tui Na massage?

Tui Na does not usually have any adverse side effects. That said, some of you may find that you need to visit the washroom more often due to the effects of the treatment, or you may feel a little sleepy due to the relaxing effects of the massage. [3]

Tui Na massage should also not be painful.

Potential side effects include: [2]

  • Minor bruising
  • Transient increase in pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

can tui na be done for pregnant women

Can I go for a TCM Tui Na massage if I am pregnant?

Tui Na is generally not recommended for pregnant women. Although Tui Na can relieve stress and tension in the body, the pressure on the acupoints may affect the baby or the pregnancy.

We advise pregnant women to do regular exercises if they want to strengthen their back muscles and relieve backaches. [9]

Read also: Is Tui Na massage harmful to pregnant women?

What are some limitations of TCM Tui Na?

As powerful as Tui Na can be as a form of therapy, Tui Na isn’t a cure-all solution. There are some people with certain conditions who are unsuitable for Tui Na due to various reasons.[10] These include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Ligament tears
  • Fevers
  • Infections
  • Malignant tumours
  • Acute spine injuries
  • Spinal cord compression

What can I expect during a TCM Tui Na massage in Singapore?

Before the massage session, the physician will first obtain a detailed understanding of the patient’s condition during the consultation. [7]

Tui Na can be carried out sitting on a chair or lying down on a massage table. It can be performed in combination with acupuncture to maximise the results. Therapeutic oil is sometimes used.

The Tui Na session lasts about 30 to 60 minutes and the number of sessions varies depending on your needs. [11]

Do I need to remove clothes during a TCM Tui Na massage?

During the massage, you may be asked to expose the affected area as needed for treatment. In some cases, the massage can be carried out over clothing. [7]

What misconceptions are there about Tui Na? 

Contrary to what some of you might think, Tui Na is not a form of martial arts. Also, the efficacy of the treatment is not dependent on how much strength is used, but rather, depends on the control of strength and pressure based on TCM principles. [4]

Where can I find TCM Tui Na clinics in Singapore?

Here are some TCM clinics in Singapore offering Tui Na services, in no particular order:

  • Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic
  • Great Wall Acupuncture Clinic
  • Bao Zhong Tang
  • Pulse TCM Clinic
  • NovaHealth TCM Clinic
  • Long Zhong Tang Pte Ltd
  • Peace Family TCM Clinic Pte Ltd
  • Xin Hua TCM Clinic
  • NTU Chinese Medicine Clinic

What is the cost of TCM Tui Na massage in Singapore?

At Eu Yan Sang TCM clinics, Tui Na massage alone can range from $40 to $130, excluding GST. [12]

At the NTU Chinese Medicine Clinic, fees for Tui Na are $30 and above, depending on the treatment plan and duration, excluding GST. [13]


TCM Tui Na massage is an effective form of therapy and many have benefited from it. As with many other therapies, its effects are better enhanced when combined with a healthy lifestyle and other stretches and exercises that practitioners may recommend you to do in your free time.

TCM focuses on holistic treatments, so remember to take care of other aspects of your health, such as mental health and stress management, on top of your physical wellbeing.

If you’d like to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), read this guide on seeing a traditional Chinese medicine physician in Singapore.

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