Yin and Yang of Massage

Traditional Chinese Massage was developed over millennia, from generation to generation to become an holistic healing and wellbeing experience.

Massage and the associated therapies are an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which views the body as a whole rather than its individual components as in Western Medicine. TCM is based on the ancient notion of ‘yin’ and ‘yang; the two opposing forces of the universe that make up the whole and every variation or shade in between.

What is not commonly recognised is that many of the modalities and systems used in modern western style massage combine Chinese with Swiss Massage systems, which itself, evolved from the traditional Chinese techniques.

Needling, cupping, hot rocks, deep tissue, herbal, aromatherapy and reflexology, are just some of the Chinese techniques influencing or used in western massage today.

Traditional Chinese Massage seeks to help the body and its functions maintain relative balance or dynamic equilibrium by maintaining optimum function of blood and circulation; energy flows along the body’s meridians lines; the energy or life force which can be understood as vitality or vigour; and organ function.

Yin and Yang of TCM

This complex and dynamic relationship means that neither Yin nor Yang can exist without the other, constantly fluctuating in balance, similar to variations in the colour spectrum from black to white, or the wax and wane of night and day, and hot and cold− as one weakens the other grows stronger.

Traditional Chinese Medicine applies Yin and Yang to the health of the body and mind which are seen as the whole.

The microscopic structures of cells and tissues (Yin) are regarded as cold related elements; while functional activities, such as metabolic processes that make nutrients / energy available (Yang) are regarded as heat related elements.

In this construct, the organs and their functions are elements that change according to where the balance or state of flux lies between Yin and Yang.

Hence the body and its organs are in a constant state of flux being subject to constant internal and external change and a symbiotic effect on the health and well being of individual parts and the body and mind as a whole.

Disease and dysfunction are believed to occur when prolonged periods of excessive strain or deficiency occur, and Yin or Yang has become too dominant.

Traditional Chinese Massage is used to:

  • stimulate normal function of organs
  • improve local and general blood circulation
  • aid detoxification
  • assist the lymphatic system
  • manage stress, and
  • promote general wellbeing and healing.


To learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine and massage visit Shen-Nong