Bringing balance with Chinese Massage

Bringing balance with Chinese Massage

By Nannette Domingos

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are two modern disorders that are often challenging to treat. Fortunately, the wisdom of Chinese medicine offers ways to bring relief to these conditions of imbalance. One of these ways is Amma therapy, an ancient Chinese massage technique.

How can Amma Therapy help those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia? And how are these diseases related?

Before answering these questions, let's look at the belief structure around ancient Chinese Medicine. The philosophy or underlying belief of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that of balance. If the body's energy system is out of balance, restore it to balance and the body can heal itself. This balance begins with the meridian system, the channels of energy that affect and sustain the physical body. If the meridian system is out of balance, that can lead to an imbalance within the physical system. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia are both diseases of imbalance.

Furthermore, the TCM system is based on the idea of polarity of forces. Yin and Yang are forces that are opposite, yet mutually supportive, and in constant flux. As heaven is to earth, so Yang {the active} is to Yin {the still}. There is constant flux of flow between the two opposite; of spirit into form, and of matter into spirit.

The twelve primary meridians are paired by function into one Yin channel and one Yang channel that work together to fulfill a specific duty. For instance, the Yang Stomach Channel works with the Yin Spleen Channel to create harmonious digestion of food and the transference of nutrients and chi into the body's system. The chi of the food gets transported up to the lungs where it joins the body's chi and the chi of the air and is cycled throughout the body. It is not the purpose of this article to articulate the function of each Yin and Yang pair. But it is important to know that the body's harmonious functioning is contingent on the mutual connection and functioning of each Yin and Yang pair.

In Amma therapy, the therapist massages along the meridian pathways starting at the head and moving down to the feet. The stroke used is a small circular motion done with three fingers, or sometimes with the thumb. The pressure can vary from quite strong to gentle, depending on the client's sensitivities. After a particular area is massaged, the practitioner will apply pressure to some of the meridian points in that area before moving on. The therapist always reads the Chinese pulses before beginning the treatment to get an idea of what is out of balance and of what to focus on. Again, the main focus is on bringing balance back into the meridian system, and so into the body.

Both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia are relatively new diseases, and both are difficult to diagnose. They share some of the same symptoms, which include fatigue, digestive disorders, headaches, mood disorders, anxiety, sleep disorders, mental dysfunction, sensitivity to cold, and morning stiffness.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in many areas of the body's muscular tissues, and CFS is characterized by extreme fatigue. Many people with this disease are unable to function normally. Sleep does not bring relief. Often these disorders come after a prolonged period of stress. Fibromyalgia can result from a trauma, or accident, or an insult to the body's integrity.

While there are many theories and ideas about the cause or causes of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome their etiology remains a mystery. From a Chinese Medicine Perspective it seems fair to say that both conditions are related to an out of balance situation that has come to reside within the body. It is likely that our contemporary lifestyle and stress are contributing to this imbalance. It is as though allergies, toxins, stress, our belief structures, and constant fast pace have come together to undermine our basic equilibrium.

How can Amma help those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia? The answer is very simple. Aroma helps to bring the body's energetic system back into balance. Then the body can begin to heal itself. Yes, it is of primary importance that the client suffering from either CFS or fibromyalgia be open to lifestyle changes and be willing to initiate the changes. These diseases have many symptoms. Many areas must be addressed such as diet, allergies, stress, attitude, and willingness to bring stillness and peace into one's life. Amma Therapy is definitely a good place to begin.


Press each point inward for 10-12 seconds. Start from the top and work down the body.

1) CV 17--in the center of the chest between the nipples.

2) Extra Point--1 unit (or thumb width) lateral to and inferior to the break in the rib cage. Do both sides.

3) CV 12--midway between the separation of the ribcage and navel, on the midline of the body.

4) ST 21--1 1/2 unit (2 thumb widths) lateral to either side of CV12. Do both sides.

5) ST 25--1 1/2 units (2 thumb widths) lateral to the center of the navel. Do both sides.

6) KI 16--1 1/2 units (1/2 thumb width) lateral to the navel. Do both sides.

7) Extra Point--Midway between the navel and the pubic bone.

8) ST 36--3 units inferior (or 4 finger widths) to the knee on the outside side of the lower leg. Press into the muscle, close to tibia hone. Do both legs.

9) ST 37--6 units (2 sets of 4 fingers width) down from the knee, in line with ST 36. Do both legs.

10) SP 6--4 fingers above the top of the medial maleolus (ankle joint) on the inside border of the tibia bone. Do both legs.

Nannette Domingos, NCMBT, has 17 year’s of experience in the field of body work. She practices Aroma, CranioSacral Theopy and teaches Kinetic Awareness, a gentle relaxing movement technique. Nannette can be contacted at 828-252-9827, cell 828-775-9827.

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