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Chi Nei Tsang

Chi Nei Tsang

by Mary Ellen Derwis-Balaz LMT
(Cleveland, Ohio)

Ashland School of Massage 2009

Originally published in Massage and Carreer guides magazine


Ashland Oregon October 2009

When one  first hears the words Chi Nei Tsang a quizzical expression crosses their face.   Chi!! Most of us understand that it is a word that describes the indescribable energy that influences life. What about the rest of it? Literally, Chi Nei Tsang means abdominal chi massage. This is what I teach.
Chi Nei Tsang is not abdominal massage as most western therapists see it. It is a modality that uses breath, massage, and movement of chi as tools to bring awareness back into the organ systems of the body. You might say what does that  have to do with massage? Well may I suggest to you the Taoist Medical Chi Kung  perspective that all disease emanates from the disruption of chi. And, one of  the most powerful way to physically balance that chi flow is through abdominal  manipulation via Chi Nei Tsang.
Our first experience of chi as a human being is from our navel where nourishment, both physical and energetic comes from within our mother’s body. A spiraling out of all tissues begins upon implantation of the egg in the uterine wall. It presents itself within our bodies as a spiraling of tissues. Muscles are not connected nor do they work in a linear fashion. They spiral thus offering flexibility. Taoist medical chi kung practice recognizes this spiraling nature and offers ways to address it through specific manipulations, breathing, and Chi Kung practice.
Chi moves within the fascia. It communicates within the fascia. Fascia covers every cell of the body therefore through it Chi communicates with all body systems including the muscular system. Both smooth, cardiac and skeletal. This being said, Chi Nei Tsang is one of the most effective treatments for sciatica, headaches, back pain as well as constipation, bloating, and stress related disorders.  
When one performs a Chi Nei Tsang treatment things begin to happen!

•By the very nature of physical touch detoxification of abdominal contents begins

•Imbalances of visceral structure and congestion of structural patterns release and seek a more healthy position and function within the abdominal cavity

•Unprocessed emotions trapped within the digestive system are attended to. Many psychologists have sought out CNT practitioners as physical support for their clients

•Through massage and breath the client becomes more self aware and now has choices available in lifestyle that they did now know existed. 
Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage gives one the tools to support this process. 
Choosing to pursue this modality as a practitioner requires a conscious choice to approach massage therapy through the taoist five element system of fire, water, wood, earth, and metal and the eastern perspective of bodywork.
The classes I teach are based in the teachings of Mantak Chia and Gilles Marin.
There is so much more to learn than I can possibly cover in a short article.  Please feel free to contact me for more information!

Comments for

   Chi Nei Tsang

Average Rating


Dec 09, 2009




Here in Asia

     by: Ricardo Neuman


     Fine description and writing, thanks. Here in Thailand
     this technique is getting more and more well known among spas and
     (especially) detox centers. My partner also teaches it she and her
     therapists get good results and feedback. Very complementary to colon




Dec 08, 2009




Excellent Synopsis!

     by: Francesca Fasano, MA, RMT,
     CNT Instructor


     Great job, Mary Ellen! You have covered a wealth of
     information very succinctly. I feel that CNT is the missing link in massage
     therapy and have also written an article about this. More on that later.
     Congratulations on spreading the word far and wide.




Nov 20, 2009




Very well said!

     by: Gilles Marin


     Beautiful article, very well expressed and
     articulated. Thank you for your good work of popularization.


     In Touch,




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East meets West

Mary Ellen's new byline for the Universal Living eZine. In each edition we will cover new and exciting topics that help in integreating Eastern and Western wellness practices.

Want and answer to a question? Send a message and we will cover it int the next edition. I look forward to hearing from you.

  • Chi Kung
  • Meditation
  • Tao Yin
  • Massage
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East meets West first article
For those of you that prefer pdf format you can download this and read at your leisure. Mary Ellen's first article is on page 7.
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Aromatherapy... More than just a pretty.... smell.
Mary Ellen's first article is on page 11.
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What is bodywork anyway?
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Chi Nei Tsang is about Bellies and Wellness and Breath.
Mary Ellen's article is on page 13.
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Mary Ellen's article is on page11.
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