Bamboo is one of the must multifaceted plants on our planet. It has earned its reputation from its noble and soft appearance as well as its perseverance under harsh conditions. In the Orient, bamboo symbolizes strength, fertility, youth, prosperity and peace.
Bamboo is certainly one of the most versatile plants. It has spiritual, mythological and many practical applications. It is eaten, used in home construction and decoration, as well as for the creation of utensils and herbal remedies.
When I was in Bali about two years ago, I was walking one early morning in Monkey Forest in the town of Ubud. Monkey Forest is a park, a temple and the habitat for hundreds of monkeys that roam free and wild. It was around 6:30 am and there was no one there – just me and lots of monkeys. I noticed one of them rubbing a piece of bamboo against a stone. He was filing the rough edges – and then he started massaging his body with the stalk of bamboo!
My eyes opened so wide. But that is not all. Another monkey came over, asking the one with the bamboo stick to work on him. He turned his back to him and bugged and bugged him until the monkey with the stick started massaging him. I said to myself, “there is nothing more primal and natural than this!”
Tian Di Bamboo Massage
Tian Di in Chinese means heaven and earth; this gives the meaning and primary objective to this therapy. To develop this therapy, I have taken many concepts and basic principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine. As I was working on expanding this technique, I realized it would be incomplete if only bamboo was used for the session. What bamboo will bring to the surface needs to be removed from the body. This is why other techniques were added.
Tian Di Bamboo Massage as a complete therapy is divided in three major segments: Massage with Bamboo, Cupping and Gua Sha techniques.
Massage With Bamboo
I call the bamboo sticks Cho sticks. Cho means bamboo in Chinese. They are the first instruments we use in the Tian Di session.
Bamboo is essential and unique because its walls are covered with silica. This creates an outer cover of tiny quartz like crystal matrixes that are activated when they encounter the right conditions of mechanical stress.
The two main properties of quartz are Piezo and Pyro electricity. This is what produces an energetic charge, so unique that science and industry, as well as the metaphysical world, have been interested and using it for many years. Piezoelectricity is activated with pressure, and Pyroelectricity with heat. As we work, we apply pressure to the body with the bamboo stick and the friction that is created will activate the molecular structure in the silica – and bang! We have a powerful tool that is charged and will create dramatic and permanent changes.
For massage clients, it is a new way of feeling. As they get worked on with the Cho sticks the energy that is contained within the walls of the bamboo is transferred to them, creating a series of unique sensations. Most people describe these as, “tingling all over”; “feeling like the bamboo is bending and conforming to the body”; “it is amazing how hot the bamboo gets as you were working on me.”
There are many benefits for the practitioner as well. Using the Cho sticks minimizes stressing and straining the hands and fingers while still allowing for deeply penetrating maneuvers.
- The Physical – When we apply the piezoelectric principles to the body, the electrical and thermal energy activates peripheral circulation. Enhanced circulation will remove stagnant toxins and move blood throughout the body, heart and lungs, improving internal respiration. Oxygenated blood will return nutrition and healing aid to the cells and tissues of the affected areas. This enables your work to be deeper, to relax and realign muscle fibers without causing micro tears.
- Mental/Emotional – Emotionally, this therapy provides a total sense of relaxation. Stagnant emotions will surface once the client feels relaxed, nourished and has reached a point of trust. The love that we, as therapists, bring to the session will encourage them to freely release and process all their “stuff.”
- The Spiritual – Tian Di Bamboo massage will reach whatever level of spirituality you’re at. If you don’t connect with the Cho sticks on a spiritual level, if you don’t bring that body/mind/spirit awareness to your session, two people are losing, you and your client.
It is not unusual that the effects of Tian Di therapy continue for days after the session. It is as if you have opened a portal and allowed the newness of the experience to enter and linger there.
Cupping and Gua Sha
Cupping and Gua Sha are techniques that work more at a physical level. They come as an aid to finish the work done with the Cho sticks. They suction and sweep away what has surfaced from the treatment.
Cupping involves placing suction cups on the skin with a vacuum-like device to deeply work along the meridians. The original cups were made of bamboo but today there are cups made of glass and plastic as well. The technique is very effective to relieve stagnation. Stagnation refers to congestion or accumulation of fluids, lymph, Qi or blood due to lack of movement of any kind.
Cupping is the opposite of massage. In massage, for the must part, we do compressions. With cupping, however, we suction and lift. As we glide slowly with the cups, the suction is able to penetrate far deeper than with any other tool we may have.
Cupping therapy can aid numerous conditions, ranging from chronic pain, stiff muscles or joints, fatigue, emotional and psychological states, and more.
Gua Sha dates back over 2,000 years. It uses round-edged instruments made of horn, bone or pieces of jade, to work along the surface of the skin to promote vitality and flow.
In Chinese, Gua (gwa) means to scrape or extract and Sha (shaw), means sand or toxins.
So we literally scrape or sand off toxins from the body as they surface from the bamboo and cupping treatment. This ancient method is used to promote Qi or bioelectric vital life energy, blood circulation and removal of toxic heat, stagnant blood and lymph fluid from the body.
These three techniques together – Bamboo massage, Cupping and Gua Sha – make a complete and powerful Tian Di session. The beauty of it is that you as the therapist can choose to use one, two or all three methods during the session depending on the needs of the client.