Swansea Massage Clinic

Swansea Massage Clinic
Evidence based Registered Massage Therapy

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Taoist Genital & Abdominal Detox Massage

Bet that got your attention! It certainly got mine the first time I saw an ad for this in Chiang Mai, I'd never heard of therapeutic genital massage before. My Mother had sent me a link about "Chi Nei Tsang" abdominal detox massage that is offered at a place called Tao Garden. She thought it would be something interesting for me to try while I was in Chiang Mai. When I looked into it further I discovered that they also offered the genital version of this treatment, which is called "Karsai Nei Tsang" and not only do they have these both on their treatment menu, they are the world headquarters for teaching this unique form of therapy. Both are signature treatments at Tao Garden and world renowned. So I figured it was time to take a deep breath and give it a try before I left!

What is the purpose of these treatments you might be asking? Well, here's some basic info to give you an idea:

Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Detox Treatment 
 Chi Nei Tsang treatment (image from Tao Gardens website)
Based on the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine and the principle that the navel is the energetic and life centre of our body, Chi Nei Tsang literally means "working the energy of the internal organs". It was developed a millennia ago in the mountain ranges of Taoist China and originally used by monks to help detoxify, strengthen and refine their bodies and to keep up the high energy required to perform the highest levels of spiritual practice. This type of massage works softly and deeply into the abdomen, affecting pretty much every system in the body as well as addressing unprocessed emotions that are thought to remain stagnant in our abdomen in the same way as toxins.

There are many benefits to receiving this form of therapy including:
- Detoxification: improves elimination and stimulation of the lymphatic and circulatory systems, strengthens immune system and resistance to diseases and removes excess stagnation from the body.
- Corrects visceral imbalances: addresses and repositions the internal organs, encouraging them to work better as well as correcting postural problems that lead to chronic back, neck and shoulder pains as well as misalignment of the feet, legs and pelvis.
- Emotional release: many emotions remain deep inside our abdominal cavity, and just as poor digestion brings about ill health, so does poor emotional digestion. CNT facilitates the unfolding of emotions and the makes it possible for us to evolve and grow, moving past deep emotional traumas.

Karsai Nei Tsang Genital Detox Therapy
Karsai Nei Tsang Treatment (image Tao Gardens website)
Similar to CNT, Karsai Nei Tsang addresses the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the individual, while focusing primarily (but not entirely) on the genital organs. Not to be confused, this is not a "sexual" massage - it is for the health of the sexual organs, glands and hormones and is performed in a professional and therapeutic manner. KNT aims to rid the body of blockages in the genital area, especially those that take the form of sedimentation in the veins. In order to have healthy, functioning genitals we need adequate blood flow. This therapy uses a sensitive touch with deep, direct pressure and circular movements to dissolve the sedimentation in the circulatory system, release toxicity in the organs and assist the receiver in getting rid of any emotional blockages held in that area.

The many benefits to receiving this form of therapy:
- Detoxification: releases sedimentation or coagulation of the vessels in the genital area that occur over time due to gravity, stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems making it easier for the reproductive organs to become activated.
- Corrects physical imbalances: many tensions can be stored within our pelvis leading to postural imbalances such as leg length discrepancy, back pain as well as hip, knee and pelvic discomfort. Also beneficial for those suffering from frequent or painful urination, difficulty maintaining or sustaining an erection and painful menstuation.
- Sexual health: beneficial for both women and men, especially over the age of 40 who feel blocked sexually. KNT improves hormonal balance, stimulating sexual and brain functioning. Helpful for those suffering from impotency, painful intercourse and low sexual libido. It is also thought to increase powerful sexual energy throughout the body (sexual chi).
- Emotional release: just as emotions are stored within our abdomen, emotional traumas can also become stuck within our genital area. KNT creates a safe place for the receiver to let go of deep emotional traumas and move past them.

Curious yet? I was, even though I was more then a little apprehensive about trying these two forms of massage. From what I read, both went very deep and could be painful, emotional and generally uncomfortable so I wasn't looking forward to the experience much at all. Let's just say its one of those things that is good for you but doesn't necessarily feel good! Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised.

On a side note, I've long thought that abdominal massage should be incorporated more often into regular massage treatments. It just doesn't make sense that as RMT's and as clients, we continually ignore this very important area of the body that houses all of our organs, major blood vessels and is the centre of the lymphatic system. It is also where our cord is connected from Mother to baby where we receive all of our nutrients from within the womb. Why do we avoid this area so often? Because its not as usual? Because we are not comfortable with this part of our body? Because it is too sensitive? or is it because it just isn't a normal part of our society? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts. In Thailand abdominal massage is much more common, many treatments START with the abdomen as it is thought to be the centre of our body, energetically and otherwise.

WARNING: If you feel uncomfortable reading about my personal experience, stop reading NOW feel free to skim through the text to look at the pictures of Tao Gardens below. 

Treatments received at Tao Garden - Tao-Garden.com

I got picked up from my hotel on a sunday afternoon and driven about a half hour out of town to a beautifully landscaped piece of land, the location of Tao Gardens. It was bought and founded by a Taoist many, many moons ago, who has since passed but who's energy is said to remain throughout the grounds. There's a river running through it, bonsai's and feng shui manicured gardens.

I was taken to the medical facility and filled out some basic forms on the coolest coffee table I've ever seen - a fish tank! Then escorted to the spa and to my treatment room. As I said, I was a bit apprehensive and wasn't sure exactly what to expect. My therapist seemed nice enough, although the t-shirt with the giant gun printed on the back of it sure didn't soothe my nerves... She instructed me to take everything off (you really have to throw all humility out the window if you want to get this done) and when she didn't leave the room I figured I better undress. She covered me in a few large towels and began at my feet, which I was grateful for, slowly relaxing me and opening up the energy channels from the bottom up.

I had eaten about 2 hours prior which is a general rule of thumb for abdominal massage, but according to her it was "too much". After the treatment I bought a book about Chi Nei Tsang and it mentions that in order for this to work properly, your entire bowels should be emptied before you begin. I didn't know! I even asked when I made the booking if there was anything I should do to prepare and received no answer. Ah well... She also had me take out my belly button piercing, I figure either because it gets in the way or obstructs the energy flow in some way.

She started slow and easily, using oil to make gentle circular movements around my abdomen. I thought she was also using heated herbal towels on me but realized later on that they were actually Thai herbal balls. I was grateful for the heat and for the ease at which she treated me and began to relax a little feeling more trust with my practitioner. She really did know what she was doing. One of the reasons this treatment fell out of popularity is that it is very difficult to perform. In order to get deep enough into someones abdomen to rearrange organs and tissues, you can't just dive right in. It takes a certain touch, a certain technique and a certain amount of trust.

Bit by bit she got deeper and deeper, using vibrational strokes at the end of each pressure point and in between shaking my belly to get everything moving. Nothing was painful. There were a few tender spots but I never felt like it was more then I could handle. The abdominal massage we have been doing in school on the other hand has felt like torture! It obviously does take a very skilled hand. I felt myself tearing up a few times, not from pain but from emotions but it never went farther then that. I was safe and taken care of in her hands.

Then she positioned herself on the table in front of me and wrapped my legs around her thighs to prepare for the genital portion of the massage. Again, she eased in to it, interspersing pressure techniques with the hot herbal ball and gentler strokes. I wasn't sure exactly how this was going to go and prepared myself for anything and I'm glad I did! Not only did she work the entire outside genital area, she also went inside, to feel if anything was wrong from the other side. Immediately she asked me if I had ever injured my right ankle and believe it or not, when I was a young teenager I sprained it very badly and it hasn't been the same since. I asked her, kind of stunned, "you can tell that by feeling inside???" and she said "Yes" and proceeded to show me how by moving her fingers to the right I could feel and sort of hear a little "popping" sound. Bizarre! She felt the left side, no popping, everything fine, and that was that. The internal part of the treatment was very short and never made me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. I think it was her professionalism, skill and dedication that allowed me to feel so at ease.

Once you have opened up the energy or "wind" channels you need to give them somewhere to flow, so she moved up and massaged my sternum and chest, pushing gently upwards and out repetitively. She moved on to my arms and hands, neck and head, drawing everything up and out. In Thai massage we learn about the winds of the body that circulate throughout, and when that wind is blocked that is when disease and pain sets in. By the end of this almost 2 hour treatment I was as relaxed as if I had spent the day getting spa treatments, which was not the reaction I was expecting at all. Yes it is a spa, but rearranging your organs didn't sound like a very relaxing idea to me. Pleasantly surprised, I practically floated off the table. She said my liver and gallbladder were fine and that there were no toxins I should be worried about. Great!

Afterwards I went to the bookstore to pick up some information on the treatments I had just received so I could gather more information about them. I also picked up some really interesting massage tools that I will show you all when I get back, well, when the shipment gets back which may be a couple of months after my return. I asked if I could wander around the property a little bit and they told me not to rush and I enjoyed an hour or so meandering through the lush garden, listening to birds chirp, streams rush by and the rustling of the trees. So at peace. An interesting journey and one I would recommend trying if you can.


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