Tuina (推拿), also known as Tui-Na massage, is one of the four main branches of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Literally meaning ‘pushing and grasping’, Tuina has been used for thousands of years to treat various conditions through promoting circulation within the human body. Today, it is still widely used by TCM physicians in China and around the world, bringing benefits to many patients.

Despite patient testimonies, Tuina is yet to be recognised as ‘mainstream’ due to the lack of quality clinical research evidence for its efficacy. The western-dominated modern medicine recognises it as a form of complementary and alternative medicine.

The HEAD Foundation believes in an integrative East-West medicine approach to care for a patient’s well-being. By supporting research projects on Tuina, we look forward to producing clinical data that will allow Tuina to be accepted as a mainstream treatment.

READ MORE: Multi-Centre Clinical Research on the Efficacy of Tuina


One of the projects that the Foundation is supporting is a multi-centre trial to prove the effectiveness of Tuina in managing chronic lower back pain. This study will recruit 600 patients across three sites in China, USA and Singapore for a clinical trial. It is designed to be a parallel-group, randomised controlled study with patients divided into three groups – Tuina group, Physiotherapy group and Tuina-and-Physiotherapy group.

Our research partners are the following prestigious medical centres:

  • The Mayo Clinic (USA) has been ranked the world’s best hospital by US World and News Report. Based in Rochester Minnesota, it has close to 20 hospitals in the United States and treats more than 1.3 million patients annually. Dr Brent Bauer, Director of the Mayo Clinic Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program, is the Principal Investigator of the Mayo Clinic site. He brings with him much experience and influence in the field of integrative medicine.
  • The Singapore General Hospital (Singapore) is the flagship hospital of the public healthcare system in Singapore, serving more than one million patients annually. Prof Tay Boon Keng, Emeritus Consultant of Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Prof Celia Tan, Senior Principal Physiotherapist of Physiotherapy Department are the Principal Investigators of the SGH site. They bring with them specialist expertise in spinal diagnosis, treatment and physiotherapy care.
  • The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University (China) is part of Jinan University, a public research university based in Guangzhou, China. It is a prestigious and popular college for overseas Chinese students. The hospital is rated as one of the Top Ten AAA Hospitals in Guangzhou. Prof Chen Jiaxu, TCM Chief Physician and Dean of School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the Principal Investigator of the Jinan University site. He brings with him deep experience and understanding of TCM and Tuina techniques for this project.

The research protocol of the clinical research has been approved by the respective IRBs (Institutional Review Board) of the three centres, and clinical trials commenced on March 2021. We look forward to sharing the results of the trial in the near future.

Mr Ho Swee Huat

Mr Ho Swee Huat is the Founder and Managing Director of Abacus Assets Advisors Pte Ltd. Before starting the company, he had an established career in the banking industry, with 20 years of experience in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

He was an Independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of CapitaCommercial Trust Management LTD from 2004 to 2013.

He is the current Chairman of Autism Association (Singapore) which he co-founded with a group of parents in 1992. He is also Vice-Chairman of Eden School, a special school for children with autism.

Mr Ho holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Liberal Arts degree in Economics from Hamilton College, USA.

He has been a member of the Board of the Foundation since its incorporation.