What is the difference between Chi Nei Tsang and Thai Abdominal Massage? Well, it’s one of these topics within the Thai Healing Arts that every now and again raises some confusion.
In fact, there are differences… and yet, on the other hand… not really. I am of course aware that such an answer doesn’t help you out and needs further clarification, which is what we’re going to do in this article.
Within the Thai Healing Arts in Thailand, of which knowledge and practices spans centuries, there have always been abdominal therapy treatments. Thai Traditional Massage as we know it is a full body massage and working with the abdominal area simply makes part of it. In that sense, abdominal work is certainly not a “new thing.”
Also historically, there have always been Thai Traditional Massage therapists who made it their specialty to work with the abdominal area. Within the abdominal specialty, even more sub-specialties developed which aimed, for instance, at the genital organs (for example Jabkasai and Yok Thong), or at other organs such as the liver and kidneys, perhaps at the abdominal muscles, or the intestines, or at pregnancy and/or postpartum issues (for example Yu Fai), and so on.
Chi Nei Tsang
Then, about 35 years ago, Master Mantak Chia entered the stage and launched “Chi Nei Tsang,” which soon got a variety of synonymous names, such as Abdominal Chi Massage, Internal Organs & Detox Massage, Abdominal Detox Massage, Thai Abdominal Chi Massage, and so on.
As clearly stated on the Chi Nei Tsang official website, Mantak Chia explains: “Chi Nei Tsang, or CNT, is an ancient form of detoxifying, energizing, abdominal massage. It blends Chinese and Thai Massage and meditation techniques, making it truly different from any other healing modality.”
Next, Mantak Chia launched ‘Certified’ treatments and training courses of Chi Nei Tsang, Karsei Nei Tsang and his integrated Universal Healing Tao System (UHT) mixing Thai traditional Medicine, Chinese Traditional Medicine, QiGong, Tai Chi and Taoist principals.
The commercial success of Chi Nei Tsang as a distinct healing modality made Chi Nei Tsang a sort of synonym of Abdominal and Internal Organ Healing Massage, and subsequently, over the years, we find quite a number of so-called UHT/CNT certified Chi Nei Tsang practitioners and teachers.
Yet, we need to be aware that Chi Nei Tsang is actually only one of more types of Abdominal and Internal Organs therapy treatments and training modalities offered in Thailand.
For instance, Ajahn Nooy from the Sirichan Massage School in Chiang Mai offers a training course called Wissim Nuad Tong Boran (Restorative Abdominal Massage) that blends ancient Lanna Abdominal massage and Chi Nei Tsang.
Another example of abdominal or internal organ work can be found with teacher Homprang Chaleekanha from the Baan Hom Samunphrai school in Chiang Mai. She practices so-called Thai Womblifting involving hot compresses and manipulation of acupressure points on the abdomen, legs, buttocks and back, manipulating also the uterus directly with the hands on the abdomen.
There are many more examples to be given of Thai Abdominal Work and Massage treatments or courses, apart from simply the differences in styles of working with the abdominal area, which we suggest to check out in our related articles listed below, after this post.
If you want to study Thai Abdominal Massage therapy there are more options than Chi Nei Tsang only. Especially in the Chiang Mai area (Northern Thailand) there are a variety of abdominal or internal organ therapy courses offered, which, depending on the school or teacher, focus on different (healing) aspects, such as genital detox, restorative postpartum treatments, emotional and trauma release, postural corrections, to name a few.