- Ancient Buddhist monks of the Han (202 BC to 220 AD) and Tang Dynasties (618 AD to 907 AD) apparently used knife massage as a last resort after Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) proved ineffective to those suffering from mysterious ailments, National Geographic reported.
- Daoliao was later introduced in Japan during the Tang Dynasty 1,000 years ago after it fell out of favor in mainland China.
- Knife massage suffered the same fate in Japan years after it spread in the country, but it was unclear when people stopped the practice.
- The art of knife massage did not reach Taiwan until the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s.
- Daoliao’s popularity in Taiwan started to rise again in recent years, BBC reported.
- The Ancient Art of Knife Massage Dao Liao I-Jing Education Center, which has 36 branches across the country, has taught practitioners in Taiwan and other countries, such as Japan, Hong Kong, France and Canada, for almost four decades.
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- Therapists use steel cleavers with blunt edges to hit pressure points and deep areas that fingers could not reach.
- A masseuse told LA Times they have never had any accidents in their practice as clients are covered with a sheet or a towel on top of their everyday clothes to prevent any injuries.
- They target several parts of the body, including palms, feet and even the head.
- It is also required for the masseuse and trainees to have positive energy fields before a session to avoid transferring negative energy into the client, Yan Hsu-ling, the manager of Zhongzheng clinic, told LA Times. It will also help the therapists to protect themselves from the negative energy coming from the clients.
- The massage costs 1,200 Taiwanese dollars ($40) and could last for over an hour.
- “In practice, there is a blurred connection to Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM], which really places this in the realm of ‘folk medicine’ – a hodgepodge of theories, charts and aphorisms that draw on traditional knowledge, but not from a thorough grounding in medical theory that one would expect from a TCM professional,” said Michael Stanley-Baker, a historian of Chinese medicine and religion at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.