Sunflower Centre

An Article written for the Sunflower Centre Spring Newsletter 20135


I remember the first time I touched someone’s abdomen with the intention of exploring below the surface, suddenly a whole other world opened beneath my hand. The only experience that has been similar was my first scuba diving trip. I started to walk a little nervously into the water from the beach, the sun shimmering on the surface of the sea blocking the view below. But once past this thin veil a whole new world was revealed, hidden depths of life, wonder and colour appeared before me. Movement slowed, calmness and peace descended all around and a sense of listening deep within.


The Abdomen


Many people I work with don’t know where important internal organs such as their liver, large intestine, kidneys, ovaries, prostate or core internal muscles like their psoas are let alone what they do. It is only when healthy function starts to break down and problems arise that attention is drawn inside.


Your belly contains most of your vital organs including the reproductive system in women. So your abdominal health affects your digestive and reproductive health and the circulatory system by way of tension. Surprisingly the quality of your breathing is also related to your abdominal health which also affects how you feel. If your belly isn’t soft and able to move when the diaphragm tries to descend, breathing is shallow and becomes more a function of the rib cage rising, which is less efficient. When the belly is free, diaphragmatic breathing returns, this natural method found in children and animals creates a gentle expansion and contraction of the abdomen. I have heard this referred to in Eastern exercise systems as ‘a second heart’ as this pulsing assists the heart to move blood around the body, squeezing and massaging all of the internal organs in the process.


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 in the abdomen working with the Chi (energy) of the internal organs. We seek to restore balance and flow of energy and healthy breathing and organ function. I combine this approach with Shiatsu techniques on the meridian system (energy lines) which radiate out from the centre and stretches and yoga like positions from Thai Massage. The fusion creates a holistic treatment unique to you which supports the changes made at your core.


How it works


On a physical level it is experienced as a release of tension or pressure, increased energy flow (blood flow) and warmth as life 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 is shifted the symptoms in the neck and shoulder 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. This process of healing and self-discovery is greatly aided by working on your own abdomen with simple exercises taught during the sessions.


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