Chinese massage is valued in Chinese culture the same way that acupuncture is. Modalities of massage can give you some variety in your massage treatments and potentially introduce you to something you've never tried before that works well for you. Here are three Chinese varieties of massage and what you can expect from them.
Acupressure is perhaps the best-known variety of Chinese massage out there. It follows the same general principles of acupuncture — the idea is to stimulate meridians and specific spots on the body that encourage energy to flow. The thought is that when energy flows freely through the body, healing improves and inflammation diminishes. People who experience acupressure often find it to be quite relaxing and enjoyable without the pain of acupuncture needles.
Tui na is another form of Chinese massage that's a bit closer to what you might expect from western styles of massage. Tui na is unique in that it's one of the few massage modalities that lets clients keep all their clothes on, so it's a great choice if you're modest or don't feel comfortable being undressed in front of a near-stranger.
Tui na, like acupressure, focuses on the meridians of the body. But unlike acupressure, it goes beyond just pressing on certain points. Tui na focuses on stretching the limbs and muscles to help relieve tension and encourage energy to flow freely. It's extremely relaxing and can help with muscle pain, tightness, stress, and anxiety.
Cupping, the last form of Chinese massage on this list, is a little different from what you might expect from a massage. However, the method is well-loved enough that even Olympians have tried cupping to improve their healing time and recovery during the games.
Cupping uses super-heated cups (or cups with suction attached) to create a small vacuum against the skin. If your massage therapist uses traditional cups, they'll wave a match or lighter inside the cup just before sealing it over your skin. This doesn't heat up the cup enough to make it hurt but creates a small vacuum inside of it that causes the skin to be pulled up and into the cup once it's attached. This is said to help to remove toxins and improve circulation and generally feels very comforting.
These types of massage are something new for you to try. If you haven't tried any of them yet, give them a shot and see which one you like the most. To learn more, companies like Miami Massage Therapy can help.