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Article for Rainbow News Magazine, August 2006

“The art of the practitioner is to recognize, understand and validate their clients’ strategies that prevent them from healing. Practitioners must guide their clients through the resistances that protect them from feeling bad”. (Gilles Marin, from ‘Healing from within with Chi Nei Tsang”).

How many of us were trained or even allowed to really feel?  E-motions (energy in motion) bring us information if we are willing to experience them. Unfortunately, many of us are on auto-pilot to resist emotions rather than allow ourselves to ‘feel’, which results in emotional charges being stored by the body as a self-protective mechanism. Left unresolved, they are eventually experienced as emotional, mental or physical symptoms (ie.pain).

It’s actually good when we finally understand that symptoms are a ‘healthy reaction to an unhealthy situation’, bringing attention to unresolved issues. Disease (dis-ease) is a call to health - and the stronger the spirit the quicker we are able to notice ill health and get back on track.

Chi Nei Tsang (pronounced Chee Nay Tsang) leads you out of your head to the intelligence of your body, allowing you to effortlessly reach the cause of long-held issues ‘without a thought’. It goes to the very origin of health problems, including psychosomatic responses, because the body’s intelligence knows exactly what it needs for healing - if we can just get out of our own way long enough to give it the chance to do so!

Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Massage de-mystified

Chi = Energy / Information  Nei = Internal  Tsang = Viscera / Organs

Chi Nei Tsang means “working the energy of the internal organs” or “internal organs chi transformation.” It was used by monks for centuries in the mountain ranges of Taoist China to detoxify, strengthen and refine their bodies in order to carry out the highest level of spiritual practices. In the 1970’s, it was brought out of secrecy to the West by Master Mantak Chia as the physical branch of his ‘Universal Tao’ healing system (see

“People train to move better by doing all kinds of exercises; people educate themselves to perform better in society and in the workplace. Why not train our internal organs? Our internal organs hold our deepest secrets and are the source of life and death.”

Chi Nei Tsang practitioners work on the abdomen with deep, soft and gentle touch to train the internal organs to work more efficiently. On a physical level, Chi Nei Tsang manipulations help relieve the body of excess stagnation, improving elimination, stimulating the lymphatic and the circulatory systems, strengthening the immune system and resistance to disease.

Chi Nei Tsang can help many conditions deemed ‘unhelpable’ by others, including gallstones, kidney stones, diabetes, hypoglycemia, menstrual cramps, fibroids and chronic constipation. It also releases deep-seated tension, helps correct postural problems resulting from visceral (organ) imbalances, easing chronic back, neck and shoulder pain resulting from structural misalignments in the pelvis and legs.

Beyond the physical benefits, however, one of Chi Nei Tsang’s key strengths lies in helping people to successfully address unprocessed emotions lying hidden within their bodies.


Despite the fact that our choice of words often show us how we are really feeling, few people know that each organ stores specific emotions; we say we are ‘liverish, livid, green with envy and bitter’ (liver and gallbladder); that our ‘hearts are filled with joy, we’re broken-hearted or cold-hearted’; that our ‘stomach is in a knot, we have a gut feeling, we are sick with worry’; or ‘frozen with fear’ (kidneys).

On the other hand, when our organs are balanced and healthy, they naturally contain the positive ‘virtues’ of love, enthusiasm and respect (heart), optimism and courage (lungs), trust, wisdom and gentleness (kidneys), generosity and kindness (liver) and nurturing and balance (spleen).

The truth is these so-called virtues are already within us, seated deep within the organs. In fact, they are who we truly are. By clearing the mental and emotional blocks that have led to an accumulation of negative emotions in the body, Chi Nei Tsang restores a healthy flow of chi (energy) so that we can once again naturally be this ‘virtuous’ self.

“The abdominal area, with the internal organs and their internal structures, holds the secrets of a person: things we hide from ourselves. The body holds all kinds of strategies for addressing conflict, personal history and personality, tendencies”.


According to Gilles Marin, Director of the Chi Nei Tsang Institute, USA, some emotional charges never get digested properly because they are too shocking. “If someone smiles at you on the street you feel something pleasant that's usually fairly easy to ‘digest’. But if someone comes at you with anger or aggression you may have a harder time ‘digesting’ your response and it will take longer for that e-motion to move through your body”.

It’s a little-known fact that emotions need to pass through the digestive tract just like food, and poor emotional digestion, almost without exception, eventually leads to ill health. The physical body is constantly expressing, through its structure, metabolism, breathing and movements, whatever emotional issue is most important at the given moment. And since the emotional body has no time or space, emotional charges of the past are present in our bodies until we deal with them.

Because emotions are irrational, they do not require explanation, justifying or solving. But they do need validating. There is no such thing as “you shouldn’t feel that way”. We don’t feel emotions without reason, even though we might not relate to these reasons any longer. Emotions cannot be solved - only outgrown - by consciously contacting their charges, freeing them from where they hide to be processed naturally.

“The objective of Chi Nei Tsang is to help people grow and change by listening to their bodies, not by fixing them.” 

A Chi Nei Tsang practitioner does not try to ‘fix’ their client. With an attitude of compassionate curiosity, they act as an intermediary, bringing the client in touch with themselves, because the truth is that ‘healing only comes from within’. So, when feelings are stirred up during a session, instead of trying to understand them, the client is guided to be aware of how familiar they feel. They are given permission to be as non-rational as possible, allowing themselves to be in touch with the most abstract aspects of their feelings. In the words of Deepak Chopra, “Instead of resisting any emotion, the best way to dispel it is to enter it fully, embrace it and see through your resistance”.

“The abdominal structure holds the secret of the future, of a person’s life purpose. Any deviation from that purpose brings us in direct conflict with ourselves and causes illness.”


According to Mantak Chia, the refusal or inability to forgive, and thereby to love oneself and others, affects all our internal organs, altering their chemistry and inhibiting cooperation and balance. The charges stored in the cells, which consequently activate toxins, need to be diffused.

Traumas settle deeply into our energy flows, causing the heart's natural tendency towards love and compassion to become obstructed, with an ensuing ‘withdrawal’ from life. Traumas can only be dissolved with patience and gentleness towards oneself, and once the flow of internal energy is properly restored, it can flow outwards again to others.

Chi Nei Tsang facilitates the clarification of our emotional life by allowing us to know ourselves, so that we can evolve and grow in the direction of our better self. As we move in the direction our spirit wants us to go, we automatically fulfill our life purpose. This is true health

Kim Knight is a Universal Tao Instructor and Chi Nei Tsang practitioner. She has been studying the Universal Tao practices since 2000 and works from the Chi Nei Tsang Clinic in Auckland, New Zealand. 
For information on introductory talks, ongoing classes, workshops and 
private sessions see and or phone +64 21410633.

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