The Bodywork Perspective – Chi Imbalance

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Chi (ener­gy) imbalance

As a note, this exer­cise and the next require that you “feel” for the ener­gy, or chi, in the recip­i­en­t’s body. To West­ern ears, this sounds a bit “woo woo.”

Back in 1998 I did “Phase 3” out at the Haven. Jock McK­een was teach­ing East­ern approach­es, includ­ing tak­ing acupressure/acupuncture pulse read­ings, and find­ing acupunc­ture points.

I was really having trouble with the “find the acupuncture points” thing. 

In my head, I was going, “Yeah. Right. Find an invis­i­ble spot that is the size of a hair fol­li­cle.” No way Jose. 

Jock walked by, smiled, and said, “Wayne, get out of your head and into your body.”

Some­how, that worked. I could imme­di­ate­ly “feel” the points. It was as if the point became a dent in the skin. 

So, do the same with these two exer­cis­es. Just “feel for the chi.” You’ll be sur­prised that you can feel it puls­ing under the skin, every­where on the body.

OK, so we’ve looked at the zones of the body and have exper­i­ment­ed with Breath­work. As we not­ed, Breath­work is meant to get the chi flow­ing, from head to foot, in waves of intense feeling.

By doing this work, you dis­cov­er a source of ener­gy that you can draw upon at all times. You’ll find that, with prac­tice, much ener­gy is avail­able to you, all day long.

We’ll now shift to a few exercises where you work on the body.

Let’s begin with a treat­ment for chi imbal­ance. As you know, there are yin and yang “flavours” of chi. Here’s a list of a few chi flavour parallels.



Left Right
Female Male
Cold Hot
Dark Light
Down Up
Intu­itive Log­i­cal
Feel­ing Think­ing
Yield­ing Pen­e­trat­ing
We’ve also talked about “mark­ers” for chi imbalance.

For exam­ple, if you draw a divid­ing line down the cen­tre of the body, the per­son­’s left side is yin and right side is yang.

As you look at your­self in a mir­ror, (or look at some­one else from “straight on,”) you look for dif­fer­ences, between the sides.

  • Is one shoul­der high­er than the other?
  • One hip­bone?
  • One cor­ner of the mouth?
  • Is one eye larg­er than the other?
  • Is one side more “for­ward,” at the shoul­der, than the other?

Please note that “high” and “low” are relative to neutral.

For exam­ple, if the left hip is neu­tral and the right hip is low, the right is deplet­ed. The left is neu­tral, despite it being “high” in rela­tion to the right hip.

The low­er side or part can only be either bal­anced or deplet­ed. The test: is the low­er side in the neu­tral posi­tion? (You learn this with expe­ri­ence. Keep look­ing at people!)

The high or for­ward side or part is the exces­sive side. So, in both men and women, if the right shoul­der or right hip are high­er, we see this as an exces­sive yang.

In other words, the person is approaching life through an over-use of yang energy.

To say it again: Neu­tral is bal­anced. Here’s the rule: If the part or side is low­er than the neu­tral posi­tion, chi is depleted.

Here’s the good news! Chi seeks balance.

When we are born, our chi is bal­anced. The first project of life, we remind you, is the ego project. We teach our infants that they are dis­tinct beings. They become selves — objects with names and characteristics.

Soci­ety encour­ages them to use the traits appro­pri­ate to their cul­tur­al­ly defined sex roles. Thus, part of the ego project for the aver­age male child is to learn to empha­size yang char­ac­ter­is­tics — ini­tial­ly. And for female chil­dren, to empha­size yin char­ac­ter­is­tics — initially.

I say ini­tial­ly because by the time the child is, say, 3, they are suf­fi­cient­ly self-aware so as to know who they are as dis­tinct beings. These beings may or may not fit gen­der stereotypes.

The down­side of the social­iza­tion process — the ego project — is that, by the time the child becomes an adult, their chi is out of bal­ance, some­times seri­ous­ly, one way or the oth­er. (Some kids with a rebel­lious streak will grav­i­tate toward the oppo­site side of the chi equa­tion — thus, females with strong yang males with strong yin. This refers to the per­son­’s approach to life, not to their sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion. That’s anoth­er top­ic altogether.)

CHI Bal­anc­ing

As a “chi bal­anc­ing” exper­i­ment, ask a part­ner to work with you. 

Let’s pre­tend that you are strong (up) on your yin side — as in the pho­to, where the per­son­’s left shoul­der is high. 

Recip­i­ent:Lie down, face down.

Giv­er: Breathe a bit, then visu­al­ize chi flow­ing into your hands.

Giv­er:Place one hand on the LOW side.

In our exam­ple, the right, yang shoul­der is low, so the hand is placed one hand on the right shoulder. 

Giv­er:Rotate your hand in a clock­wise direc­tion, with firm down­ward pres­sure, while breath­ing and imag­in­ing send­ing chi to your hand.

Both of you imag­ine that chi is flow­ing into the area of your body.

Recip­i­ent: Imag­ine that the chi flow­ing into your shoul­der is com­ing from YOU, from your low­er bel­ly, MEETING the chi of your part­ner at the point where their hand is.

Giv­er:Do this until you feel “done.” You’ll know.

Giv­er:Move your hand to the high, left, yin side.

Giv­er: Rotate your hand counter-clockwise,

Both of you imag­ine the chi flow­ing away from the high, exces­sive area. 

Recip­i­ent: Pic­ture draw­ing your chi away from the area, down to your low­er belly.

Giv­er:Final­ly, your place one hand on each point, push­ing down with even, firm pres­sure. Visu­al­ize the chi ris­ing even­ly from your low­er bel­ly, to both points, as the points balance. 

Giv­er: Remove your hands and look at the recip­i­en­t’s body. The chi has been bal­anced, but are the shoul­ders lev­el? If they are, you’re done. 

If one is still high, that’s now from the tight­ness of the mus­cles. Repeat the above pat­tern, until both shoul­ders are level.

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