What Is Chi Nei Tsang Massage?

Published: Jan 8, 2020 | Revised: Mar 31, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Woman receiving abdominal massage

Chi Nei Tsang or Thai Abdominal Chi and Internal Organs Massage is a healing touch massage modality combining ancient Chinese, Thai Massage and Taoist meditation techniques which focus mainly on the abdominal area.

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The words “Chi Nei Tsang” literally translate to “working the energy of the internal organs” or “internal organs chi transformation.” Chi Nei Tsang is based on the belief that unresolved emotional issues are stored in the digestive system and that poor “emotional digestion” is one of the main reasons for ill health.

This modality incorporates the Taoist understanding of the meridian system of energy and focuses on the navel center of the body. It is thought that the navel center is the primary area where imbalances occur, and that these imbalances may cause negative emotions, stress, tension congestion and ultimately illness.

The techniques used in Chi Nei Tsang aim to clear energy blockages within the abdominal area and the internal organs before they are noticed in the periphery of the body.

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Practitioners use a variety of massage techniques to aid in increasing the energy flow within the internal organs, connective tissues, tendons, muscles and lymph, nerve and endocrine systems. These techniques provide a method to balance the energy by using visceral manipulations, thereby improving vital body functions.

It’s also important to mention that Chi Nei Tsang is part of a larger Taoist paradigm of practices that include meditation, Tai Chi and Chi Kung (Qigong), being a holistic therapy that can be combined with other types of treatments.

Sessions are done with clients lying down with their face up either on a massage table or a mat. Clients should use comfortable clothes and can receive the treatment clothed or with direct touch to the abdominal areas.

History of Chi Nei Tsang

It’s thought that Chi Nei Tsang techniques were developed by Taoist monks over a thousand years ago. The Taoist White Cloud monks living in the mountains of China discovered that stagnation of Qi Energy flow in the body interfered with their ability to achieve and maintain higher states of awareness through meditation.

This stagnation was thought to be the primary cause of many physical as well as emotional illnesses. Therefore, they developed the techniques of Chi Nei Tsang to recycle and transform negative energies that obstruct the internal organs, in order to restore the body’s energy flow and balance.

Chi Nei Tsang Today

Master Mantak Chia, who practiced Taoist disciplines under the tutelage of one of the last surviving White Cloud Taoist monks, is considered to be the creator of the modern form of Chi Nei Tsang. He is also responsible for taking this modality to the West, founding the Universal Healing Tao Center (originally named the Taoist Esoteric Yoga Center) in New York in 1979.

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