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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