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Carry a Massage Therapist in Your Pocket

  [ 10 votes ]   [ 1 Comment ]
By Karen Lee Richards* • • April 23, 2010

Carry a Massage Therapist in Your Pocket

Have you ever wished you could have a massage therapist at your disposal – soothing your sore muscles and easing your tensions any time you felt the need?

The small but powerful Hi-Dow Massage XPO unit was designed to do just that. It utilizes techniques from the ancient art of Tui-Na Chinese massage therapy to provide a soothing, therapeutic massage experience that you can have almost anywhere, any time.

In order to understand how Tui-Na techniques work, it helps to understand the principles behind Chinese medicine.

Chinese Medicine – A Matter of Balance

Chinese medicine – the oldest known system of healthcare – has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Its scientific principles are based on the fundamental laws of nature that rule everything from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the largest planet in the solar system. Chinese medicine is a method of applying these natural laws to the human body with the goal of restoring energetic balance and thereby overcoming illness at its root. Health is seen as a balance of body, mind and spirit.

The foundation of Chinese medicine is Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi, often defined as “energy flow” or “life force,” is considered to be the force that animates and sustains life. Qi is thought to flow through 12 major pathways (also called meridians or channels) in the body that influence associated internal organs and structures. Energy from these pathways is believed to surface at various points on the body, which have been identified as acupuncture points.

Each of these points serves as a tunnel or access route to the deeper energy pathways. Stimulating specific points is believed to clear the energetic pathways and activate the body's natural healing abilities.

Although the Western world tends to think of Chinese medicine mostly in terms of acupuncture, other important aspects of traditional Chinese medicine have gained increasing attention among medical researchers and physical therapists. These include herbal and dietary therapy, therapeutic exercises (Tai Chi, Qi Gong, etc.), and Tui-Na massage.

Tui-Na – Chinese Medical Massage

Tui-Na – described as a cross between acupressure and Shiatsu massage – is the world's oldest known system of massage and physical therapy. It uses a variety of techniques to relieve musculoskeletal pain, regulate the flow of blood and “Qi” energy through the body, and stimulate the body's natural healing process.

The word Tui-Na is made up of two Chinese words:

  • “Tui” meaning to push or stroke, and
  • “Na” meaning to grasp or knead.

One of the key methods of Tui-Na is the use of pushing and kneading strokes to create repetitive movement, which develops into a wave pattern. This wave pattern penetrates deep into the body, activating the circulation of blood and Qi.

In China, Tui-Na is used in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems. A number of clinical studies done in China have shown Tui-Na massage to be effective for several different conditions.

Chronic fatigue syndrome patients had significant improvement in sleep and daytime function scores after 10 treatments with Tui-Na.(1)

• A 2009 study found that Tui-Na was more effective than acupuncture in treating stiff neck.(2)

•  In a study observing the efficacy of Tui-Na for depression, 72.5% experienced some relief of the symptoms of depression with no adverse reactions.(3)

• Patients with low back pain from degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis reported significant improvement following 10 Tui-Na sessions.(4)

Tui-Na massage clients often describe the therapy as relaxing yet energizing. In addition to helping relieve chronic pain and stiffness, the improved circulation and release of energy brought about by Tui-Na is believed to promote self-healing and a sense of emotional well-being.

How the Massage XPO Unit Applies Tui-Na Techniques

A team of scientists specializing in Acupuncture and the Meridian System wanted to find a way to provide the benefits of Tui-Na massage in a form that could be used easily by individuals. They set out to develop a bio-electrical instrument that would simulate the techniques of Tui-Na massage.

The researchers analyzed the techniques of dozens of senior massage specialists in China. Based on their analysis, they produced a series of modulated bio-electrical signals that have characteristics of human muscle electricity. They found that when these bio-electrical signals were applied to specific parts of the body, they could produce an effect similar to that of manipulation by a massage therapist.

Using actions similar to Tui-Na massage, the Hi-Dow Massage XPO unit is able to tap, knead and grab, offering a deep and soothing massage to muscles and soft tissues. It has been described as feeling “like the fingers of a real Chinese massage therapist applying Tui-Na massage techniques on your muscles.”

Hi-Dow Massage XPO – Not Your Ordinary Massager

Most individual massage devices are handheld, requiring you to do something such as roll a massage ball over your body or hold a vibrating massager on the painful area. The Massage XPO unit, however, is hands-free. You simply apply the massage pads to your body and turn on the switch. Since you don't have to hold anything, you can use the Massage XPO while engaging in other activities like working on the computer, reading, watching TV or even traveling.

The Massage XPO unit is programmed with multiple bio-electrical signals that are sent out in various phases with variable speeds and intensities to produce the best and most effective massage sensations. You can choose from four different types of massage actions – tapping, kneading, grabbing and random sensations. Each as gentle or as firm as you wish. There is a built-in timer that can be set for increments of 10 minutes to one hour. Benefits can be felt in as little as 20 minutes.


• A large, easy to read LCD display
• Adjustable timer
• 6 modes
• Rechargeable internal lithium battery
• 20 intensity level settings

Common-Sense Contraindications:

• Do not use if you are pregnant.
• Do not use if you have a pacemaker or life-support equipment, such as an artificial heart-lung device or a respirator.
• Do not use on children.
• Patients who have experienced acute trauma accompanied by subcutaneous hemorrhage, tumefaction or fracture should consult a healthcare practitioner before use.
• Consult with your doctor before using Massage XPO if you have:
   - Skin problems
   - Acute disease
   - Malignant tumor
   - Infectious diseases
   - Cardiac dysfunction
   - High blood pressure
   - High fever
• Massage XPO is not intended for:
   - Nerve Therapy
   - Treatment of muscle spasm
   - Muscle growth
   - Weight reduction
   - Prevention of muscle atrophy
• Massage pads should not be applied near the heart, above the neck, in the mouth or pubic region, or over scars.

In Summary

The Hi-Dow Massage XPO unit is a small, easy-to-use, hands-free device (small enough to fit in your pocket) that simulates the techniques of Tui-Na massage. It can help promote the relief of tension and pain in various parts of the body including the neck, shoulders, back and legs.


* Karen Lee Richards is the Lead Expert specializing in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, for HealthCentral's ChronicPainComnection ( Karen is co-founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) and was Executive Editor of Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine for four years.

1.  De-chun Dai, et al. "Tuina intervention and sleep and emotional disorders due to chronic fatigue syndrome."  J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2009) 7:147-151.

2.  Yao-chi Wu, et al. "Clinical study of Tuina for stiff neck." J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2009) 7:225-227. 

3.  Jia-fu Zhang, Zhi-quing Chen. "Controlled Clinical Trials on Treatment of Depression with Tuina or Deanxit." J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2009) 7:207-209.

4.  Zhi-quan Wang, et al. Clinical study on tuina therapy for degenerative spondylolisthesis of the lumbar spine." J. Acupunct. Tuina. Sci. (2009) 7:152-155.  

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to prevent, treat, diagnose or cure any condition or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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Article Comments Post a Comment

I really like the Hi-Dow massager
Posted by: rocketzandco
May 12, 2010
It leaves my muscles relaxed after a hard day at the office. When I first started using it, I over used it a little too long on my traps and they were soar the next day. Now I know how long my body can handle the muscle stimulation and I am getting good results. I highly recommend it for soar muscles and soft tissue injuries.
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