Tuina, or known as Chinese medical massage enjoys a long history in TCM, dated back over 2500 years ago. There are many famous schools developed and many of them are famous in recent history. It is the first time to disclose the specific schools with historic photos and record in English introduction. Schools are selected as the lineages I followed and teach in Tuina course.

Yizhizen – One thumb Meditation school of Tuinapushing with thumb

Yizhizen is the Chinese name for One thumb pushing meditation school of Tuina. The name is taken from the Buddhist zen school meditation, indicating the importance of integrating manipulation with mind meditation during Tuina practice. Tuina was dated back from the era of Yellow Emperor, though the classic text was lost and left only the book title of Yellow Emperor Anmo Classic ( Anmo is another name of Tuina in Chinese). Another explanation of Yizhizen is that its practitioner has to practice energy exercise first so that the internal energy could be carried to the tip of thumb in treatment. This requirement is still strictly followed by authentic practitioners today.

The first master in Yizhizen school is Master Li Jianchen, lived around the early 19th century of Qing Dynasty. He was a Shaolin martial art master and developed two specific manipulations upon the existing ten manipulations in Yizhizen Tuina. Since then, Yizhizen school has twelve famous manipulations, including An, Mo, Tui, Na, Cuo, Chao, Gun, Nian, Chan, Rou, Yao and Dou, though the one thumb pushing known by most people. Master Li treated Mr. Ding Fengshan (1843-1916 ), who later became his student and hence started the unique school of Yizhizen.

Master Ding was also good at martial art and specialized in treating external disease at his hometown in Jiangsu Province. He moved his practice to Shanghai in 1912 and taught many students so that this school was well known in South China. In 1916, he was died on his way for a house visit by accident and left his masterpiece book <One Thumb Meditation>.

This photo was taken in Shanghai 1913 with Master Ding’s students seated around him. Many of the students continued the development of this school around China.

Master Wang Songshan (1873-1962) was one of the major students of Master Ding. He set up Tuina Association in Shanghai, 1920. When the Shanghai School of TCM( later became Shanghai TCM University) opened, he used to teach Tuina there and worked for Shanghai Tuina School and Tuina Clinic of Shanghai. In 1958, he donated the only hand copy of Master Ding’s <One Thumb Meditation> and all his sons followed him to practice his Tuina skills.

Master Qian Fu Qing (1883-1967) had followed Master Ding Fengshan over 11 years and started his practice in Shanghai in 1911. Since the 1950s, he had been teaching in Shanghai Tuina school and many of his students became the main team to promote Tuina teaching in China. His techniques are specialized in speedy pushing (over 200 times pushing per minute) and apply manipulations of “chan, gun, chao and tan” as the most frequent application. In the photo below we could see the traditional exercise of Yizhizen on a rice bag by Master Qian in Shanghai.

Master Ding Shushan (1886-1931)

Master Ding is the nephew of Master Ding Fengshan and he is the father of Master Ding Jifeng. He opened the Tuina practice in Shanghai around the 1920s.

His students are famous in Chinese Tuina history. Master Zhu Chunting was the President of Shanghai Tuina school and Director of Tuina Department of Shanghai Huadong Hospital. His son, Ding Jifeng was the founder of Gun Fa Tuina ( Rolling school).

Master Ding Jifeng (1914-1998) learned Yizhizen from his cousin Ding Heshan. During 1936 – 1952, he opened his clinic in JingAn District of Shanghai and founded “Ding’s Rolling” manipulation.  He worked at Shanghai Tuina Clinic and Shanghai Tuina school since 1958. During 1976-1985, he had been the Director of Tuina Department of the famous Shanghai Yueyang Hospital. He was awarded as the professor for postgraduate tutorship in Shanghai and editor of Tuina-Chinese Medical Encyclopedia and Tuina Master Works.

Master Wang Jisong (1902-1990) is the son of Master Wang Songshan and learned Yizhizen from his father. He opened practice at age of 22 and co-founded the Tuina doctor training program in Shanghai. He worked at the Tuina Clinic of Shanghai TCM Collage and Tuina school during 1958-1975.

He was specialized in manipulations of “chao, muo, shu and gou”.

Master Zhu Chunting (1906-1990) was the student of Master Ding Shushan during 1923-1925. He was born in a TCM doctor’s family and started his learning of TCM with his father at age of 15. In 1956, Master Zhu set up the first TCM Tuina Clinic in Shanghai Huadong Hospital and TCM Tuina training program. He was the President of Shanghai Tuina school in 1958. He integrated TCM theory with Yizhizen Tuina and made “ying, wei, Qi and blood” as the working system in Yizhizen. His experience was published in 2006 for his 100 years anniversary celebration in Shanghai.

Dr.Wang Chunyan was among the first graduate students from Shanghai Tuina School and worked in Qingdao TCM Hospital. She was the Director of Tuina Department of the hospital and promoted Yizhizen school in northern China. When China national Tuina textbook was edited in the early 1980s, Yizhizen masters from Shanghai were among the chief authors and spread the knowledge all over Chinese TCM colleges. In the late 1990s when the first national standard Tuina qualification published, Yizhizen technique was included in typical manipulations.

Three Verse classic Tuina School

Shandong Province is famous for TCM and Tuina masters in history. In 1877, during the Emperor Guangxue of Qing Dynasty, Master Xu Qianguangt from Dengzhou, Shandong published his work of Three verse Classic Tuina, thus established this unique school of Tuina. The text is recorded in verse form with three words per sentence, hence the name came from. His Tuina therapy works on both adult and infant. When Master Li Dexiu (1893-1972) learned from this classic, pediatric tuina, this therapy became the most famous in peers. In 1920, he set up a clinic in Qingdao and moved his practice into Qingdao TCM Hospital in 1955. Master Li specialized in diagnosis by outlook examination and applied few points on left palm and arm in treatment, which made pediatric practice more convenient. His clinical experience was taught to students working at the Pediatric Tuina department of Qingdao TCM Hospital.  Master Li Dexiu”s Pediatric Tuina was published as a textbook for his teaching inside the hospital.

Professor Zhao Jianqiu learned from Master Li and served as the Director of Pediatric Tuina Department in Qingdao TCM Hospital. She later integrated another Tuina technique from Zangfu Acupressure school into pediatrics and extend the Tuina application to more effective treatments of hundreds of symptoms. She continues her teaching and publishing of clinical experiences after retirement, making this school better known to Tuina practitioners in China.

Zangfu Acupressure School

This school of Tuina is very legendary and the only historic record was left with oral transmission from Master Wang Wen (1840s-1930) who suffered TB in middle age, then healed by just one treatment of acupressure from a monk traveled in Hebei province. That monk left a Tuina book – Classics of Tuian, which was published in Southern China during late Qing Dynasty. That book contains many special theory and techniques in Tuina, including some extinct manipulations in internal medicine and osteopathy. One of the techniques known as from Dr. Qian Yi in Song Dynasty, who could move the existing pain to a different part of the body for emergency treatment. Master Wang Wen learned and applied the extinct secret in his treatment, but unfortunately, his only student Dr. Wang Ruya didn’t get the know-how and the original book was lost. Dr. Wang Yaru was born from a TCM family practice acupuncture. He suffered a serious disease in 1910 and was saved by Master Wang Wen, thus dedicated to learning from him the unique Tuina therapy. He followed Master Wang Wen over ten years till he passed away at age of 87. Dr. Wang Ruya practiced in Beijing and became famous with his skills. In 1962, he published Zangfu Acupressure ( as in the photo) as a conclusion of his learning from Master Wang Wen and hoped readers may help to discover the lost Classics of Tuian. That book helped doctors who learned from Dr.Wang to keep the school lineage when Dr.Wang did an internal exchange program among TCM specialists in 1960s. During Cultural Revolution in 1966, Dr.Wang’s books became almost extinct and just very few copies left in hands of some of his students. Pro. Zhao Jianqiu kept the teaching in her pediatric practice in Qingdao TCM hospital, while Dr. Wang Chunyan undertook the technique in Tuina for adult, especially for post surgery intestine disorders.  This school uses specific manipulations on extra meridians and focus on the balance of internal organ system (Zangfu in TCM).  It requires the practitioners practice internal energy exercise to stimulate and correct the flow of qi. This school follows the principle from Yellow Emperor Internal Classics and Taoist experience in Tuina. Even till today, it has been limited transmitted among few practitioners in China as its profound theory and manipulation need more tutorship.

Mt. Laoshan Martial Pointing Therapy

This school includes two masters from Mt.Laoshan, a famous Taoist resort in Qingdao, Shandong Province. Master Jia Lihui published his works on Mt.Laoshan Martial Pointing Therapy in the 1980s and accepted students from all over China to learn the technique. He is a martial art practitioner and applies specific acupressure for clinical practice. A local Acupressure Hospital was set up in 1987 after his school and famous for slip disc disorder treatment spinal care. The manipulation is forceful with the martial art style which could relieve the pain and tension in short-term treatment. Practitioners need to learn the accurate location of acupoints and meridians in action and take energy exercise in order to practice effectively.

Master Li Zangshan (1880-1992) was born in a village around Mt. Laoshan, his family possessed a secret teaching of acupressure from Buddhist meditation school for hundreds of years. His family all enjoy longevity and good wellness. Master Li was famous when he opened his technique in Beijing at his age of 106 in 1986. He spent the rest of his life in clinical treatment and teaching till 1992 when he passed away in Beijing. His school of Tuina could help the treatment of tumor and cyst, which normally not the application of common Tuina. Actually the energy exercise he introduced for wellness and self Tuina for longevity are more attractive as his own longevity proved.


3 thoughts on “Tuina lineages

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