Tuina is a form of Chinese Medical massage that involves not only manual manipulation, but also techniques such as Cupping and Guasha.
In Cupping, either glass cups, or more modern plastic cups, will be placed on the body at an area of pain. The Chinese definition of pain is stagnant qi, and when the qi stagnates, you often end up with stagnant blood also; thus we say you have “stagnant qi and blood“. In the traditional technique, flame will be used to create a suction on the cup, and it will immediately be placed upon the body. This does not hurt, nor does the patient feel much heat. Once the cups are in place with a satisfactory suction, they will be left on for up to 10 minutes, during which time it is said that they are “drawing out” the stagnant qi and blood. Afterwards, the patient should notice relief.
Guasha is commonly used when there is pain as well, and it is especially beneficial for stiff neck and upper back pain. It can be so effective that often times all it takes is a few minutes of “scraping” with the guasha tool to alleviate upwards of 75% of the discomfort and to increase the range of motion dramatically. In this technique, after the area to be treated is lubricated, the tool will be used to scrape with a fast back and forth motion. The area will become red, or even purple, and the more stagnation, the darker the color will be.