Dr. Gerardi’s mentor Dr. Xie (above)
Tui-na is a manual therapy or medical massage that is one of the four branches of TCVM and uses Chinese medical theory as the basis for its application and actions.
From a conventional medicine perspective, Tui-na can be thought of as corresponding to a combination of acupressure, conventional massage and chiropractic techniques. It can be used to regulate the Channels, soothe joints and sinews, promote circulation of Qi and Blood, strengthen the immune system and promote normal function of the Zang-Fu organs.
Tui-na is most commonly used to treat acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and is also useful as a preventative medicine therapy, because it promotes balance in the body. It can also be used in conjunction with and to enhance acupuncture and herbal treatments. Small animals, large animals, and exotic species all respond well to Tui-na, and it can be administered on animals that will not allow the insertion of acupuncture needles.
It is safe and effective with no known side effects. Although veterinarians, such as Dr. Gerardi must receive specialized training in the techniques and applications of Tui-na, once mastered, several Tui-na techniques can be taught to caretakers for home treatments. Mo-fa (touching skin and muscle), Rou-fa (rotary kneading), Ca-fa (rubbing), Tui-fa (pushing), An-fa (pressing), Nie-fa (pinching), Dou-fa (shaking), Ba-sheng-fa (stretching) and Cuo-fa (kneading) are techniques that caretakers can learn and use to accelerate the healing process and deepen the connection with their animals.