What is Asian Bodywork Therapy?

Chinese Medicine + Therapeutic Bodywork = Asian Bodywork Therapy

By Andrea Renee Rivera, AOBTA-ABT CP

Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) is the treatment of the human body, body and spirit spirit, including the electromagnetic or energetic field, which surrounds, infuses and brings that body to life, by pressure and manipulation.

Asian Bodywork Therapy is one of the three branches of Chinese Medicine of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)

Asian Bodywork Therapy is noninvasive and does not require the use of needles, which is the ideal therapy for children and those who are apprehensive about receiving acupuncture treatments. Many Asian medicine practitioners use acupressure and other ABT therapy methods instead of acupuncture for these patients with excellent results. ABT also does not require the patient to disrobe unlike Western massage, making it suitable for all cultures and religious backgrounds.

Treatment may include, but is not limited to the following: touching, pressing or holding of the body along meridians and/or on acupoints primarily with the hands, stretching, external application of medicinal plants or foods, heat or cold, and dietary or exercise suggestions. Cupping, guasha, moxibustion, and other methods/modalities may also be used by properly trained practitioners.

Asian Bodywork Therapy is based upon Chinese Medical principles for assessing and evaluating the body’s energetic system. It uses traditional Asian techniques and treatment strategies to primarily affect and balance the energetic system for the purpose of treating the human body, emotions, mind, energy field and spirit for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health.

The Benefits of Receiving Asian Bodywork Therapy: The following are a few examples of the conditions and imbalances for which ABT has been shown to be helpful.

  • Stress-Related Disorders
  • Asthma
  • Musculo-Skeletal Conditions (neck, shoulder, back, and hip/leg pain)
  • Allergies
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Repetitive-Motion Stress and Injury (carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD)
  • TMJ
  • Menstrual Dysfunction and Peri-Menopausal Life-Cycle Changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal Problems (digestion, IBS, constipation, GERD, etc.)
  • Muscle Tension and Spasm
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Sciatica
  • Whiplash
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Forms of Asian Bodywork Therapy also include: Acupressure, Shiatsu, TuiNa Chinese massage, Medical Qigong. Tui Na: Pronounced “twee-nah,” Tui Na massage is a modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine that addresses specific patterns of disharmony in the body. Tui Na is a complete system of medicine. It uses the principles of acupuncture. Tui Na, along with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, are the main components of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As such, Tui Na can be used to treat specific areas, or it can be used to improve the overall Qi or energy flow throughout the body. Because Tui Na is a complete system, the treatment often helps both these components at the same time. Tui Na is thought to be the oldest system of bodywork practiced today.

Andrea Renee Rivera is a DAOM Doctoral Fellow at AOMA University of Integrative Medicine, the top 5 acupuncture college in the U. S. She is a Certified Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT)  Practitioner by the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA). Her training includes Eastern and Western medicine, herbal medicine, Moxibustion, Tui Na massage, Medical Qigong, Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, dietary and lifestyle recommendations and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) physical therapy utilizing functionally based movement patterns with techniques of neuromuscular control and function. She also earned her Yoga and Meditation Instructor certification in 2007 and has been teaching group and one-on-one exercise therapy for eleven years. She is passionate about empowering people to become their own medicine by providing them with the tools, information and motivation necessary to live a lifestyle that promotes peak performance, vibrant holistic health and longevity.


As published in Wellness on Wheels Newsletter — Summer, 2018