Chi Nei Tsang – Chinese Abdominal Detoxification Massage

Chi Nei Tsang.

Chi …er …Say that Again??…is probably what most of you are muttering!

It is certainly not the most well known of treatments out there unless you are in Thailand

or LA! So you wouldn’t know to look for it even if you needed it!….It is, however, one of the simplest and most profound systems of healing I have ever come across.


Chi Nei Tsang ( pronounced Chee naay tsaaang) or CNT for short is a form of traditional Chinese massage that works specifically on the abdomen, navel and internal organs, or ‘working the energy’ of the belly.


‘Chi’ refers to the energy or life force in and around us and ‘Tsang’ refers to the viscera or internal organs.


This same Chi is what the Taoist monks help cultivate in the associated practices of Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Feng Shui, Acupuncture and other Chinese medicine therapies.

Good ‘chi’ is the good energy that keeps us vibrant and healthy. In the Tao vision of Medicine all disease begins when this energy is disrupted.

When our Chi is restricted, constricted and consistently blocked then over time our health starts to falter.

One of the simplest ways to bring this Chi back into balance is with breath work, acupressure techniques and massage of our abdomen.


I first discovered this treatment when I was in Thailand back in 2009. I was at my first ever detox retreat in Koh Samui trying to get myself back on track, rebalanced and re-energized after 3 years of working on an amazing but super busy charter yacht. I was beyond exhausted. I didn’t know I could feel so bad but conversely 10 days later I didn’t know I could feel so good! Human again!Sunshine, green juices, yoga, colonics and a daily session with some diminutive but brutally strong Thai lady who insisted on manipulating my internal organs, allegedly all for my Higher good!

I didn’t believe her nor had I ever felt a sensation like it before!

Nor did I want to again…or so I thought.

Until the next time…


And so started for the next 5 years a regular routine of jumping on a plane at the end of a busy summer yacht season finding Eastern wisdom to provide a short term fix for my Western problems. Hard work, hard play and trying to understand and deal with emotions that have no space to be entertained in a small crew area for months on end equals Strung out Stewardess come October!

Throw into the mix a good bout of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that I had struggled with since my late teens and it all made perfect sense to press my RESET button through my belly button and work things out with Chi Nei Tsang.


Working on my internal organs by releasing tensions and knots, alleviating pent up negative emotions in my body and rebalancing my chi had such a profound effect on me during one of my visits to Koh Phangan that I walked away from my session vowing that I would learn how to give this incredible treatment myself. I wanted to be able to help others release too, to reset and re-introduce people to the wisdom of their bodies. My annual CNT sessions were a coping mechanism that allowed me to go back to work and do it all over again for another year without completely losing my mind and body in the process!



CNT can help you find where tension is being held whether that be in an organ such as your liver or large intestine, it may be constant headaches, recurring muscle pains, sciatica or cysts for example. Physical ailments are often rooted in old or un-dealt with emotional problems so helping your body to release past trauma will encourage a deeper level of healing to occur.


In the Tao Health system each organ is known to hold onto different negative charges.

The liver is responsible for anger. The kidneys hold fear and the stomach is worry.

Massage and manipulation of these areas through the system of Chi Nei Tsang can help release these lower emotions thereby enabling a more vital and efficient functioning of that organ and its related system.


Many of us are far removed from the practice of conscious breathing and taking time for yourself by yourself, sitting quietly or walking in Nature and being aware of yourself, your thoughts, how you feel physically, how you feel mentally, emotionally, spiritually and just listening to your own body. The quiet voices, these whispers which when ignored shout louder and louder messages that come with illness and chronic health issues. They are all there to tell us we are doing something wrong and that we need to reassess our way of living. Poor lifestyle choices regarding nutrition, exercise, unmanageable levels of stress and high workloads, easily found in high stress industries such as yachting and film, all combine at the expense of our physical, emotional and spiritual health.


CNT can help bring us back to that inner universe.


If someone asked you where the centre of your Universe is what would you say?

Would it be a place? A person?

Your body?

As a fetus in the womb your navel is the lifeline connection to your mother, the docking station to the Mother Ship. Your organs, muscles and fasciae build around & out from this focal point and so here as we grow and age the stress, strains and emotional drama of daily life is reflected back at us with surprising clarity.


Your belly button whether it is an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’, a perfect round button or a teardrop shape can tell a lot about the state of your abdominal area and major organs. The shape can help indicate where in the body there is tension and energy blockages.


The abdomen is often referred to as the garbage dump of the body and unfortunately that is how many of us treat our best friend.

By now you no doubt understand that without our health we have nothing. Without an able and willing body, mind or spirit we are rendered so much less than we can be.


We throw everything at our bodies from processed foods and luminous coloured drinks, excessive alcohol consumption, medications, antibiotics, recreational drugs and other environmental toxins. Enjoyable physical activity starts to drop down the list of priorities and to top it off our modern lifestyles swamp us with work and stress.


We expect our body to perform for us with an unlimited amount of energy and health for years on end without really thinking about the potential consequences of mistreatment.


In addition to this, the digestion of our emotions is also very important yet often completely overlooked.   If we fail to process and release the negative emotions we hold onto day after day, they start to cause congestion and block the flow of energy within our bodies thereby causing further problems.


Take a minute to think about how many emotions you have already gone through today.

Have you been happy? Full of joy and good-will to yourself and others all day long??

Hopefully yes but I doubt it. Unless you are a Buddhist monk then Things and Life will get to you in one way or another!


How often do you feel angry? Frustrated? Constantly worrying about something regardless of its importance? Do you feel overworked and over-stressed?

Now multiply that by a week, month, years …? How do you feel on a bad day? What is your gut doing when you are stressed out and running around like crazy?

Did you know that for 1 minute of anger it takes your body 4 hours to process the toxins produced by this emotion?


As you can imagine our ability to digest, absorb and release the Great Unwanted from our food and our emotional life is one of the most important factors dictating our health.

Blockages in our digestive system will result in stagnant flow of vitality giving Chi.

In this fast paced world we live in we don’t have time to get ill, diseased or broken…yet more and more of us are suffering from disorders or problems that doctors find hard to put a name to or fully understand. brief….if you suspect your digestion is anything less than optimal look out for the following:-


Gas &/or bloating

Loose stools/ diarrhea or constipation

Acid reflux

Adverse reactions to certain foods

Inflammation anywhere in the body

Skin issues

Sinus problems

In simple terms Chi Nei Tsang can offer you:-


Improved digestion, elimination and detoxification

Stress management

Menstrual / menopausal / impotence problems

Increase in energy levels

Encouraging deeper levels of relaxation

General health maintenance


CNT is an incredibly comprehensive practice.

Direct contact with the internal organs helps to energize, strengthen and detoxify your body. A stagnant core can be reset and re-invigorated to get bodily functions flowing with good harmonizing Chi and thereby aiding the emotional balance too.

With encouraged detoxification immunity is improved which is something to think about with Winter around the corner!

In some cases IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can be resolved, painful menstruation can be alleviated as well as other complaints related to surgery such as C-sections or injury.


I understand that for most of us, especially women, having our belly looked at let alone touched seems a bit daunting. The abdominal area is usually a no fly zone for most massage therapists so this area often gets overlooked.



CNT works on the person as a whole and as a practitioner my aim is to educate each student in taking control of their own health and healing. The occasional discomfort involved with this massage helps reconnect the student with their inner world.


For those of you that are curious my CNT treatment begins with almond oil palm-massaged onto the abdomen in gentle circular motions. I systematically work from the right side to the left side of the body using massage and acupressure techniques. The digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine and nervous system are all included in this process.

Organs are sometimes painful depending on how much tension is being held and the abdomen is sometimes hard and stretched.

Toxins may be released through the skin.

Other massage techniques for relaxation are used on the arms, legs and head to finish.

Nil by mouth is requested for at least 3-4 hours before a treatment.


If there is anything I have mentioned that sparks your interest then I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have. If you want to find out more about detoxing in Thailand I can probably help you with that too!


Discovering Chi Nei Tsang has totally changed my quality of life for the better. It helped with my IBS as well as providing direction for me post-yacht world. I am now in the process of creating a lifestyle that makes it easier for me to stay happier, healthier and able to work on that delicate thing called balance!

No smart comments from those that know me please! 😉

After 13 years in the industry it was time for me to find a new way of living that was more in line with who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do which is help people to help themselves in health and life.


If you are ready to make changes to improve your health however small and empower yourself with more knowledge of your internal workings then I would love to introduce you to it.


Chi Nei Tsang is beneficial even if you only have time for one or 2 treatments but as with anything worthwhile the most reward will be seen over a course of treatments.


I hope to see you soon!!




Zoe Stenger

Chi Nei Tsang

Reiki Practitioner

Health Coach

Contact Zoe at or +34 652295266.




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