The contemporary form of Chi Nei Tsang, as being taught by Master Mantak Chia and his disciples worldwide, is deeply rooted in three different traditions: Classical Taoist Chinese Medicine, Traditional Internal Medical Thai Massage, and Western holistic medicine. The combination of these three traditions is actually congruent with the ancient Taoist philosophy of change and impermanence: The Tao meaning "the Way", "the right manner" and "the Right Way to live healthily in this place and age". With its holistic approach, its medical science coming from the depth of classical Chinese wisdom and using the precise technology of traditional Thai medical massage, Chi Nei Tsang has been able to provide deep transformative and permanent healing to the widest range of people worldwide regardless of belief system, culture or tradition.
TheoryChi Nei Tsang and Classical Chinese Taoist Medicine Chi Nei Tsang philosophical foundation is Taoism, which is the philosophy supporting the whole of Classical Chinese medical system consisting of the use of medicinal herbs, a wide spectrum of medical massages, Chi-Kung, bone-setting, acupuncture and even surgery, which was, in classical times, considered the lowest form of medicine and used only after the repeated neglect or abuse of essential medical principles made it absolutely necessary.
At the base of Classical Chinese Medicine is the concept of Chi, Yin and Yang, and the Five Elemental Forces at the origin of life and responsible for health balance. Chi is the power resulting from the interaction of the Five Elemental Forces, Yin and Yang are the polarities which creates movement, perpetual change and evolution in existence. The quality of health can thus be evaluated by checking the movement of the Chi in each of the organ systems, according to their corresponding elemental force, on different places along their pathway called meridian (Chinese medicine)|meridians. The capacity to control the Chi, along with the exercises designed for this purpose, is called Chi-Kung. Thus Chi Nei Tsang can be considered to be the art of applying Chi-Kung to the internal organ systems (Nei-Tsang), which, by carrying the elemental forces are themselves at the origin of the life of every individual (Five Elements, Six Conditions, 2006 North Atlantic Books).
OriginMaster Mantak Chia, creator of the modern form of Chi Nei Tsang, practiced Taoist disciplines under the tutelage of one of the lasts surviving White Cloud Taoist monks, One Cloud, from whom he learned the sacred enlightenment practices. These practices he made the core of his teachings and named the "Universal Tao System". Chi Nei Tsang became then infused with the important Taoist concepts of internal alchemy, the evolution of consciousness, healing as outgrowing pathological human conditions, and immortality, which involves the capacity to grow a conscious soul.
The reductionist legacy of the political philosophies of the 19th and 20th centuries, reacting to the restrictions of several hundreds of years of intellectual censorship imposed by the Christian Church in the Western industrialized world, needed to negate any spiritual connection to science and medicine. China was not different, and, during the uprising of the Cultural Revolution of the mid-twentieth century, the Chinese communist government decided to erase all spiritual connections to their traditional system of medicine to make it secular and scientific. The Chinese government then declared illegal all spiritual rituals, meditations and priers, and made it mandatory for Chi-Kung to be exclusively medical, and medicine to be strictly scientific, meaning strictly secular, allopathic and pathology oriented, following the contemporary trend of conventional Western medicine, which reacted to the fundamentalist views of the Christian Church of the past centuries. The term “Traditional Chinese Medicine” was then used to cover a modern, standardized rendition of Classical Chinese Medicine. Thus, Chi Nei Tsang, being holistic, spiritually oriented, and aiming at healing the soul as much as the body, virtually disappeared from contemporary China.
ApproachChi Nei Tsang and traditional internal medical Thai massage Internal Thai massage represents a major physical aspect of Chi Nei Tsang. Many hands-on techniques used in Chi Nei Tsang today originated in Traditional Internal Thai Massage. Because of the disappearance of the Chi Nei Tsang practice from China, Master Chia investigated Asian hands-on techniques and adopted many from one of the last most talented Thai healers, Master Mui. Master Mantak Chia, as a young man, assisted Master Mui during the last years of his life, helping him with his patients and witnessing daily miracles. Chances are that the practice of internal massage in Thailand – also based on Yin and Yang theory and the circulation of Chi in meridians - was as sophisticated as its Chinese counterpart used to be (Healing From Within).
While the external version of Thai massage grew and became very popular, as Chinese Tui-Na and Japanese Shiatsu did, the more sophisticated and difficult to learn Internal Medical Thai Massage is fast disappearing confronted with the widespread diffusion of Western synthesized pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, along with Western culture and allopathic ideology, which is much easier to learn, but forbids the use of traditional herbs, discards the spiritual power of meditation, and arrogantly scorns at hands-on healing disciplines.
Chi Nei Tsang and the contemporary Western holistic approach to medicine Client-oriented and non-violent, addressing the "person" in patients, rather than their symptoms and pathologies, the contemporary Western holistic approach to medicine adds to Chi Nei Tsang the support of a solid and pragmatic knowledge in modern physics and biology while respecting the psychology, the mental, emotional and spiritual health of the individual.
Holism (from ?, holos, a Greek word meaning all, entire, total) is the idea that all the properties of a given system (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave (Wikipedia). This is true to Taoism in general and to Chi Nei Tsang in particular where the quality of health is determined by the Chi and the interactions of the alchemical Five Elemental Forces of Taoist tradition and, therefore, ruled by the alchemical power of life rather than resulting strictly from chemistry and mechanical laws alone. The general principle of holism, concisely summarized by Aristotle in the Metaphysics by: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts", still applies to differentiate Holism used in Chi Nei Tsang from the conventional Reductionist Determinism ruling conventional medical science.
The conventional allopathic medical system recognizes only rational intelligence and materialism as a reference of value and is convinced that the processes of biology are only reducible to chemistry and that the laws of chemistry are only explained by a very outdated vision of physics, which stopped evolving at the eighteenth century Newton's view of classical mechanics. Chi Nei Tsang views, on the contrary, deeply rooted in Fractal and Chaos mathematical principles, use the most up to date forms of energy physics and vibrational chemistry, which validate the classical aspects of Asian Medicine.
Fractal geometry, as defined in 1983 by Benoit Mandelbrot, emphasizes that the observable physical universe is derived from the interaction and interconnectivity of all of its parts – “As above, so below”. For example, the structure and behavior of a human cell is self-similar to the structure and behavior of human, which, in turn, is self-similar to the structure and behavior of humanity (Bruce H. Lipton). Rather than endorsing a Darwinian evolution based upon random mutation and a struggle for survival, fractal geometry reveals the sublime ecological order through the mathematical laws of chaos, the propensity of nature to grow the maximum of life in the minimum of space, with every single life form contributing to and supporting – not competing with – other life forms.
While the conventional allopathic medical system is trying to correct a nature believed to be wrong, Western holistic approach on the contrary, believes that nature is always right, and that, in healing, we have to work with the body instead of against it.
The main feature of Chi Nei Tsang, following the Western holistic principles, is in the quality of Chi of the practitioner who is trained to treat his or her clients with the firm intention to work WITH them not AGAINST. Therefore the mere intention to fix or to repair anything, which carries the meaning that something is wrong with the nature of the person, is emotionally insulting and forbidden during Chi Nei Tsang practice, so practitioners have to submerge themselves into the authentic holistic paradigm of healing not to succumb to the conditioning of obeying to the rigid allopathic attitude fixed on repairing the body, mainly invested in destroying a pathology through either poisoning the bacterial, microbial, or viral environment or by radically eliminating that entire environment by surgery, or, more recently, by affecting the information at the cellular level with genetic engineering.
The Chi Nei Tsang approach, on the contrary, is non-violent, and aims at outgrowing the source of pathological factors and changes it into a more evolved, more adapted condition, working with the nature of the person rather than against it. The result is a gentler treatment covering a wider spectrum of possibilities adaptive to the personal needs of the individual, which gives a chance to bring a so-called “patient” to a more active and a more responsible participation to a complete healing process without being forced to standardization, being maimed by surgery, or being weakened or poisoned by the negative side effects of allopathic drugs (Five Elements, Six Conditions).
The contemporary Western holistic approach can be compared to the composition of classical Chinese medical herbal formulas, which always contains the antidotes to all the toxic effects possible from all the healing herbs contained in each preparation so that no undesirable side effects can occur. Thus, as with Chi Nei Tsang, when applied as a true holistic modality, no bad side effects can ever be experienced - "First do no harm" says the oath of Hippocrates, still remembered by healers worldwide.
Borrowing from different cultural traditions, Chi Nei Tsang also reclaims its natural and spiritual roots and brings back the "traditional" in Asian medicine, the folk wisdom accumulated after generations of practice. It provides an appreciation for what is natural, for what is a naturally life-sustaining, socially ethical, validating first-person experience, and promoting the use of what is pro-biotic rather than anti-biotic.