What is the difference between The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy And Chi Nei Tsang? Since I have been in Asia, I am often asked this question.

Just to clarify, I am a Certified Practitioner of The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®, not a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner, yet, although I hope to be soon. I have experienced a Chi Nei Tsang treatment and read a lot about it. I will touch on the basic definitions and differences, please feel free to add your two cents. 

What’s in a name?

The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® are based on the teachings of Rosita Arvigo, who apprenticed for ten years with Don Elijio Panti, one of the last Mayan shamans of Belize. Rosita saw the power and benefits of his treatments and incorporated her own training as a Naprapath (an off-shoot of chiropractic that focuses on the ligaments) to create the method that bears her name.

Chi Nei Tsang literally means qi – usually translated as vital energy and nei tsang – means internal organs. This is a a specific type of internal organ massage based on Taoist teachings from China. This method is taught by Mantak Chia who developed the Universal Tao system and is based at Tao Garden in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


Arvigo Therapy is based on the Maya belief that “a woman’s uterus is the spiritual center of her being: if it’s out of balance, than her entire life is out of balance,” says Dr. Rosita Arvigo. Proper re-positioning of the uterus is done by working on the ligaments and muscles that help bring her into proper position. This work is also beneficial for men too. While woman tend to have more issues of displacement in the pelvis; men have more issues of congestion.

Meanwhile, the massage of the abdomen, lower back and focused work on the sacrum, also work to: 

  • soften musculature
  • enhance circulation of the blood, lymph, nerves & qi
  • improve digestion, assimilation & elimination

Chi Nei Tsang’s focus is on the internal organs. Much of the diagnosis is based on the positioning of the navel and its shape. They also massage the abdomen and work to: 

  • directly stimulate the internal organs
  • facilitate their drainage of toxic wastes
  • draw circulation of blood and energy into the organs and glands to repair & replenish them.

Both therapies place great importance on the emotions, since negative emotions do so much damage to our health – physically, mentally and spiritually. All massage therapists and body-workers know that “muscles store memory” and that long held emotions can be released through skilled bodywork; many times being much more effective than being more affective then western style psychotherapy. 

Digestion of emotions also takes place in the abdomen, each organ corresponding to a different emotion. We don’t often consider that we digest emotions, believing that digestion only has to do with food. When we hold in our emotions the diaphragm muscle constricts which impedes circulation throughout the abdomen by restricting its rhythmic movement with each respiration.  Other muscles in the abdomen and back also tighten creating stagnation of energy, hence impeding the function of the internal organs.

Adjunct Therapies

Arvigo Therapy tends to incorporate more instruction in self-care massage as an integral part of their treatment and other adjunct therapies.

Arvigo Therapy depending on the circumstances will teach clients about the “faja” (adominal wrap),  “bajos” (vaginal steam), castor oil packs and when appropriate dietary advice.

Chi Nei Tsang practitioners teach clients to meditate on the inner smile, microcosmic orbit and healing sounds and also give Chinese dietary guidelines.

Having experienced both techniques they take different approaches. I recommend experiencing both if you have the opportunity. Since I am only touching on the very basics, for further information here are some websites and books if you would like to learn more.


www.arvigotherapy.com  and www.tao-garden.com 


  • Sastun- My Apprentice with a Mayan Healer, Rosita Arvigo and Nadine Epstein
  • Rainforest Remedies, The Maya Way to Heal your Body and Replenish your Soul –  Rosita Arvigo and Nadine Epstein
  • Chi Nei Tsang– Chi Massage for the Vital Organs, Mantak Chia
  • The Tao of Detox, Daniel Reid
  • Wind in the Blood; Mayan Healing and Chinese Medicine, Hernan Garcia, Antonio Sierra, Gilberto Balam

Santosa Detox & Wellness Center would like to thank Lisa Levine for her guest blog post this week. From July 27 – 30, Lisa will facilitate The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy Self-Care Workshop here at Santosa. Interested in more info? Give us a call at 076 330 600.