Touching the Core

with Chi Nei Tsang, by Leigh Blyth Universal Tao Instructor

I still remember attending my first chi nei tsang course. I touched my partners abdomen and a whole other world opened beneath my hand. The only similar experience I have had was my first scuba dive. I started to walk into the water from the beach, the sun shimmering on the surface of the sea, blocking my view below. Once past this thin veil a whole new world revealed itself. Hidden depths of life, colour and wonder appeared before me. Movement slowed, calmness and peace descended all around and a sense of deep listening arose.

The Abdomen; a place of mystery.

Many people I work with don’t know where important internal organs are, let alone what they do. It is only when healthy function starts to break down that problems arise and your attention gets drawn inside.

Your belly contains most of your vital organs including the reproductive system in women. So, your abdominal health affects most of your organ systems such as your digestive, reproductive and circulatory system by way of tension. Even the quality of your breathing relates to your abdominal health. If your belly isn’t soft and able to move when the diaphragm tries to descend, your breathing is shallow. It then becomes more a function of your rib cage rising, which is less efficient. Evidence suggests this can affect how you feel. Shallow breathing accompanies states of anxiety, stress and panic attacks

When your belly is free, diaphragmatic breathing returns. This natural breathing method found in children and animals creates a gentle expansion and contraction of your abdomen. I have heard this referred to in Eastern exercise systems as ‘the second heart’. The rhythmic pulsing assists your heart to move blood and Chi (energy) around your body, squeezing and massaging your internal organs in the process. This easies the work your heart needs to do and brings back peace and calm to your mind.

What is Chi Nei Tsang?

Chi Nei Tsang is an Eastern bodywork system influenced by Thai and Chinese traditional medicine and Taoist Internal Alchemy. In this unusual system we massage the abdomen working with the Chi (energy) of the internal organs. We seek to restore balance and flow of energy, healthy breathing and organ function. Chi Nei Tsang is a standalone system but can also combines well with other systems. I like to combine this approach with Shiatsu techniques on the meridian system (energy lines) and Thai Massage stretches and yoga like positions. The fusion creates a holistic treatment unique to you which supports the changes made at your core.

How does it work?

On a physical level you feel a release of tension or pressure, increased energy flow (blood flow) and warmth as life energy returns. Many physical ailments elsewhere in the body have their root in the abdomen. For instance, shoulder and neck pain; Once the root of this pattern in the abdomen shifts the symptoms in the neck and shoulders leaves.

On a deeper level it is common for deeply held emotions to surface and leave the body. Past traumas long forgotten yet still being held onto and exhibiting a subtle influence on the mind/body. Working on your own abdomen with simple exercises taught during the sessions aids the process of healing and self-discovery.

I invite you to dive into this internal journey of personal discovery and health.


Leigh is teaching a four-day Chi Nei Tsang course at the Tiger Boe Centre this year which is open to therapists and beginners, click here for more details.