Therapeutic massage in China has a very long history. An ancient book dating back to first century AD says, “if the body is benumbed as a result of the blocking of the jingluo (or meridians), it may be cured by massage.” Massage departments were established in the Imperial Court during the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907 A.D.) Further development took place in subsequent dynasties.
Massage falls into the broad range of traditional Chinese medicine practices that have a history of thousands of years, which can’t/won’t be discussed in detail here. Massage is a sibling of acupuncture, herbal medicine, qigong and exercise, and diet that make up Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s historical purpose is not simply to relax muscles and relieve stress, but to be an integral part of a complete medical system. It’s goal is to cure diseases, both acute and chronic, by relieving symptoms and attacking the root of problems. Traditional Chinese Massage treats not just sports injuries, joint and muscle related disorders (including dislocated joints), and minor broken bones, but also internal chronic disorders. The ancients found massage as a method to treat atrophy, paralysis, digestive system disorders, and more. Commonly known in the west, Acupressure is just one of the techniques of Chinese massage where pressure is applied to acupuncture points.
Your kung fu practice will likely benefit from consistent massage – be it administered by yourself, a western massage therapist, or a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. When sore, explore the sore area of your body by pressing and massaging the areas surrounding it. You will likely find one or more places that help release pain and pressure. If possible, find a qualified Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and find out for yourself how advanced Chinese massage can be a valuable piece of your overall health.