Tui Na vs Swedish Massage — (Health Coach’s Advice)

tui na vs swedish massage from find it health coaches in los angeles

As the chief health and wellness specialist at FindItHealth, I’m here to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of natural treatments like Swedish massage and Tui Na.

If you’re feeling under the weather, both techniques are good at promoting relaxation and elevating mood. Tuina, however, is more intense and frequently used as a complementary therapy in the management of pain and physical rehabilitation. These massage techniques have a long history and research has proven their effectiveness. This article can aid in your decision-making if you’re trying to determine whether a Swedish or Tui Na massage would be better for your regimen. Please keep reading to learn more. 

Tui Na Vs Swedish Massage 

Popular massage therapies like Swedish and Tui Na have their origins in several cultural traditions. While the two share some similarities, they also have unique qualities, explained in the following:

  • Acupressure, rhythmic compression, and stretching are some of the techniques used by Tui Na therapists. They might also use deep tissue massage and joint manipulation. Tui Na calls for more energetic and forceful actions.
  • Swedish massage on the other hand, typically incorporates long, flowing strokes that follow the direction of blood flow towards the heart. Effleurage (gliding strokes), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), and friction are some of the techniques used. Compared to Tui Na, this form of massage therapy often uses softer pressure.
  • Swedish massage largely focuses on relaxation, stress reduction, and circulation improvement, whereas Tui Na seeks to regulate the flow of Qi and address specific conditions or imbalances in the body. 
  • Finally, Tui Na is typically performed with the client clothed in loose and comfortable clothing to allow for stretching and joint manipulation. In contrast, a Swedish massage session is traditionally performed with the client undressed and covered with a sheet or towel, exposing only the area being massaged.

Tui Na Pros

Some potential advantages of this type of massage therapy include the following:

  • Acupuncture Principles: The 12 points on the body that are manipulated in acupuncture through the use of needles, are also manipulated in Tui Na. The same TCM concepts are applied in both acupuncture and Tui Na, thus they can be combined to restore the body’s ideal energy flow.
  • Mental Health Boost: Massage therapy can occasionally help with depression. A Tui Na relaxing massage is useful in treating depression, but further research is still required.
  • Relief from Musculoskeletal Disorders: For serious health diseases involving muscles, tendons, and joints, such as bone misalignment, orthopedic issues, and sports injuries, Tui Na is effective.
  • Pain Relief: Tuina is incredibly beneficial for reducing both acute and chronic pain that you experience in many bodily locations. 
  • Relief from Severe Headaches: In one clinical research, the use of Tui Na massage techniques helped alleviate cervicogenic headaches, a type of persistent headache that limits the neck’s range of motion. 
  • Improved Blood Flow: Tui Na techniques have a deep tissue component that improves blood flow throughout the body. 

Tui Na Cons

You should be aware of the following potential hazards and factors when using Tui Na:

  • Untrained Practitioners: Untrained or inexperienced people might not have the knowledge and abilities needed to execute the procedures correctly, which could lead to pain or harm.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: It is crucial to provide the doctor with any pertinent medical information upfront so that they can adjust your treatment or, if necessary, recommend an alternative course of action. 
  • Pain or Discomfort: Techniques used during a Tui Na session may temporarily make you feel uncomfortable or sore, especially if you have sensitive skin or past injuries. 
  • Bruising or Soreness: It is best to speak with a healthcare provider before receiving tuina treatment because it has the potential to induce excruciating pain, extensive bruising, or other negative effects. 
  • Allergic Reactions: During the massage, some Tui Na practitioners apply liniments or herbal ointments. It is crucial to let the practitioner know if you have any known allergies or sensitivities to any ingredients to prevent any negative effects.

Swedish Massage Pros

A Swedish massage has the advantages listed below: 

  • Pain Management: Swedish massage can be a part of a pain management regimen for both acute and persistent pain. According to a 2022 study that was published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Swedish massage helps rheumatoid arthritis patients feel better and consume fewer painkillers.
  • Stress Reduction: By reducing tension in the muscles and calming the neurological system, a Swedish massage can help the body and mind recover from the detrimental effects of stress
  • Increased Flexibility: Swedish massage techniques can lengthen muscles, loosen and lubricate joints, and reduce swelling, all of which can improve range of motion and make it easier to move around. 
  • Leveling Up Energy: After a Swedish massage, enhanced blood circulation and reduced tension result in an overall boost of vigor. 
  • Improved Posture: Postural imbalances are brought on by repetitive stressors like extended sitting or injuries. The muscles that cause the postural imbalance can be relaxed using Swedish massage therapy. 
  • Increase Blood Flow: A Swedish massage can increase your body’s capacity to supply fresh blood to muscles and organs by dilating blood vessels and enlarging membrane pores. 
  • Improve Mood: Receivers of massages may experience improved mood and mental health due to increased serotonin and dopamine levels. 
  • Healthy Immunity: Stress factors might cause a weak immune system. Swedish massage may benefit the immune system because it promotes relaxation and a reduction in physical tension.

Swedish Massage Cons

While most individuals find Swedish massage to be safe and beneficial, there are a few potential drawbacks or things to think about: 

  • Pressure Sensitivity: Deep pressure may be uncomfortable or even painful for some people because they are more sensitive to it or because they have specific medical issues.
  • Bruising or Soreness: Intense pressure or deep tissue treatment during a Swedish massage may cause minor bruising or pain. These adverse effects typically pass quickly and within a few days.
  • Limited Focus on Specific Conditions: Swedish massage might not be the best treatment option for treating particular or persistent conditions. Other specialist massage or therapy techniques might be better appropriate if you’re looking for treatment for a specific illness or injury. 
  • Allergic Reactions: During Swedish massage, certain massage therapists might use oils, lotions, or other skincare products. It is crucial to let the therapist know if you have any known allergies or sensitivities to any particular components to prevent any negative effects
  • Discomfort During Undressing: Some people might feel awkward taking off their clothes or being somewhat exposed while receiving a typical Swedish massage. 


The following are some parallels between Swedish massage and Tui Na:

  • Both types of massage seek to ease tension and encourage relaxation.
  • Practitioners of Swedish and Tui Na massage can modify their pressure and technique to meet the client’s preferences and particular problem areas.
  • Both approaches can be used in conjunction with other therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, or physical therapy, or they can be incorporated into comprehensive treatment plans.
  • In almost all of the US, massage is a legally recognized profession. Practitioners of both Swedish and Tui Na massage must complete training and get a license.


The researchers at Find It Health researched both the pros and cons of these massage techniques to allow you to make informed decisions.
Ultimately, the decision between Swedish massage and Tui Na depends on your personal preferences, your specific goals, and the level of experience of the massage therapist you have access to. Think about things like your intended results, any problems or worries you may have specifically, and whether you prefer a Swedish massage or a massage that focuses more on musculoskeletal rehabilitation (Tui Na). A skilled practitioner’s advice can also point you in the direction of the best choice based on your particular requirements. Several other types of massages might be better suited to your specific situation.

We appreciate you reading this article. As we update, please check back for more articles on natural cures.

Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches