Pediatric Tuina Basics

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, tuina, or Chinese pediatric massage, was the premier non-needle technique used on kids.

 Why? It's easy to learn, no special tools are required, and it's simple to teach parents. That's why it's our favorite method for easily stimulating acupuncture points on babies and children. Most importantly it is a very effective way of working with qi and stimulating the acupuncture points without needles.

 Here are the Basic Pediatric Tuina Techniques




Unlike Swedish style massage where muscles are mostly kneaded, you’ll be stroking, pushing, pulling, and pressing various points on the body.

To be effective, these movements should be gentle yet firm with even rhythmic movements. Most manipulations will be performed anywhere from 50 to 300 times in rapid succession.

The following techniques are used to perform pediatric tuina massage:

  • Straight Pushing (zhi tui fa) Push your thumb, or index and middle fingers, in a straight line. This is often used on the forearm, fingers, and back.


  • Pushing Apart (fen tui fa) Starting with your thumbs at a single location, push them apart. This is often used on the forehead and chest.


  • Kneading (rou fa) Press one or two fingers on a point or area, rotate them in a circular motion without lifting the skin. Kneading can also be applied with three fingers, the palm of the hand, the thenar emminence (the fatty pad below your thumb), or your thumb.


  • Circular Rubbing (mo fa) Rub the abdomen in a circular motion with four fingers or the palm of your hand. It is most commonly used for abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhea.


  • Pinching and Pulling (nie fa) This technique is commonly used on the paraspinal muscles, (the muscles next to the spine). Always start at the base of the spine and move upward in a straight line progressing up to the neck. Grab a small amount of muscle tissue and pinch it up between your index finger and thumb with a firm but gentle pressure. Then, continue to roll your thumbs forward as you release and grab more muscle tissue. Be sure to use plenty of talcum power so you don’t cause any chafing. This technique is used for general wellness, the common cold and respiratory conditions.


  • Pressing (an fa) Press a point or area and hold for a few seconds 3 – 5 times in a row to help relieve pain and discomfort. This is usually done with the thumb or the palm of the hand.


  • Nipping (qia fa) Stimulate specific points with gentle pressure from your thumbnail. It doesn’t take much pressure for the point to be adequately stimulated, so be careful not to press too hard.


  • Arc/Circle Pushing (yun fa) Use your thumb to make a circle with gentle, but firm pressure. This technique is most commonly used on the palm of the hand.

The best way to get comfortable doing pediatric tuina is to practice -- A LOT! I have found that whenever I'm developing a new skill I need to practice it 50 times before it feels easy and natural (but that's just me). No matter what, the more you practice the better you'll get, so start today!


Introducing Pediatric Basics Video Training & Guide

Sign Up for Pediatric Tuina Basics and you'll get instant access to the instructional video on these techniques. Plus, you'll get our photo illustrated guide with massage prescriptions for common conditions. 


With our 30 minute video and a little bit of practice, you can quickly to add tuina massage to your non-needle toolbox.

You can also share it with parents so they can use this powerful massage at home to support your treatments.

The fee for lifetime access to the video training and guide is only $38.


Ready to Get Started?