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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Massage, Culture, and China

I totally do not get the attraction of massage, and my trip to China did not illuminate the allure for me.  If anything, it left me more confused.  Massage in Mandarin is 'an mo' or 'tui na', and it is part of the much greater body of knowledge referred to as traditional Chinese medicine, and it works through 'jing luo' to improve the passage of energy throughout the body and improve or maintain health.  The earliest record on massage is in the inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty (16th -11th century BC). During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), a story that a miracle-working doctor Bian Que healed the faint prince through massage was written down, illustrating the amazing effect in such an early time. In the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386 - 589), six techniques of hand massage evolved and became more professional, such as to strand, shake, twine, twiddle, knead and roll, which are still widely used.  Acupoints are also involved.

And then there is the Sole Massage--where Chinese guppies with a voracious appetite for scaly skin eat away at one's feet in the open storefront pictured above.  I did not try this intervention, but knew that I was far from home when I saw it.  Just another great view from the Yunnan Province!

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