Category Archives: Massage

For massage and related healing modalities

How Acupuncture Needles Move Chi and How this May Have Led to the Invention of Acupuncture

By Jace Lee

About 14 years ago I discovered Chi for myself and developed it into a complete system of Chi cultivation and healing; Qiyoda. Doing this has given me insight as to how Chi arts actually function and how they may have been invented and developed. When I speak of Chi cultivation and use, I mean I cultivate and use it directly, like a tool I hold in my hand. In my years of practicing Chi and using it to heal I find that using Chi is extremely effective. I just push Chi into an effected area and tension is released and healing promoted. Since this is so effective, I couldn’t understand the use of needles and how it is that they move Chi.

When I first discovered that I could move Chi, I was practicing a meditation where I was trying to move every muscle in my body with my mind. I noticed that some muscles were hard to feel and I couldn’t move them. So, I used my finger to help bring some sensation to the area and it worked. This made me realize that it is not so much the finger that is doing the healing. It is only providing some sensation so I can get my mind into that area. I told this to my Sensei, who can see energy, and he confirmed it. This means that technically we don’t need to touch to create healing in our body, we just need to get our mind there. Unfortunately, it is not that easy and requires different techniques to aid in this. Techniques like massage, stretching and acupuncture. The main point to highlight here is the fact that the finger was only a way to get the mind/Chi to the area so it can release, relax and restore proper function and the body can heal itself. This is how acupuncture needles move Chi, it is a way for areas and points to get stimulated in a way that brings the patients mind/Chi to that area.

Being that 2,000 years ago people did not understand what modern medicine does today, about what needles do to the body. We can rule this out for reasons why acupuncture was invented. One day I asked my Sensei what the difference is between using a needle and a finger. He said in his deep gravelly voice, “You can put the needle in and walk away, ha ha ha!” It took me awhile to understand this. People only have two hands and can only employ the use of a few fingers at a time and they must be in close proximity. Which might create a need for something that can be used in place of a finger, if more points need to be stimulated at the same time. Or if someone was working on themselves, they could use the needles. Perfectly logical. My question would be, could they use something else that could just stick to the skin to provide the physical sensation? Needles are very invasive.

Some points require the use of a finger for long periods of time. Once I was helping my Sensei with some body work. He had me hold pressure on a single point on his arm for 30 minutes while he did other work in his body. This can get tiring and be time consuming. 2 and 3,000 years ago I don’t think they had many good adhesives that could hold up to gravity for a long time. Oils like mint and menthol could work but would get expensive. People needed something that would stay on and be reusable. Like a needle thin enough not to hurt but still provide the sensation that is needed to bring mind/Chi to that area seems to be the logical choice.

To me this makes sense, especially if a person is very good with using meridians and acupoints. Needles can be useful for areas of the body that are hard to reach or awkward to hold for a long period.  So, instead of having me hold a point for 30 minutes, my Sensei could have used a needle. But I still think the healing Chi of a person is still more powerful. But that is it, super simple and logical. This is probably the only theory out there right now.

When I looked up these questions all I could find is information about what modern medicine has discovered about the body’s response to the needles and information about its history. When it was invented and the possible evidence. There is no information about how it works, other than “moving Chi.” Which no one can really explain. So here is a very good and logical explanation answering both questions. I truly feel that if people understood Chi, acupressure would be more popular and integrated into acupuncture. I don’t understand why Chinese medicine schools teach massage and acupuncture separately but there are no dual programs integrating the two. I am hoping that with the understanding of Chi that Qiyoda offers, this will change.


Tension can come in many forms and not result in pain.  It can also have many causes; stress, an over active mind, a state of mind or misalignment of the body.  The result being that the muscles are contracting constantly or unnecessarily.  For example, people’s shoulders being lifted because they are constantly in a state of fear or worry or stress.  When it comes to misalignment it means that you have been using specific muscles to support the body instead of all of them together.  This can create pain in other parts of the body or just impede range of motion.

There are a few approaches to fixing this type of tension.  There is massage, practicing relaxation, stretching (yoga) and finding the cause of the stress.  They key to all of these is letting go.  If you are hanging by your hands and want to get down you must let go of your grip.  If you have been hanging on for a long time then it might take a bit of work.  Remember your three foundations of relaxation, breathing and form/posture.  For now breathing and relaxation are your key ingredients to alleviating tension.

When approaching tension or a practice session start with connecting to the breath.  Take 5 deep and slow breaths and relax with each one.  Relaxing more and more with each exhale.  Holding the exhale without using any muscles really helps to relax.  Then start with massage, if you can move chi then use it to connect.   If not then start with a gentle massage and increase pressure of needed.  Depending on the nature and severity of the tension soreness might result.  In this case it is good to wait until the soreness is gone and come back to it then.  You may need to repeat a few times until the soreness stops.  This can also be said for stretching tight muscles.

Once the soreness no longer results from massage then continue massage but then add a stretch.  Also remember to start with breathing and relaxation and continue it through your massage and stretch.  When relaxing, use your breath and focus on the tension and really try to feel it and let it go. You can even tell it to relax and let go.  This is also to be practiced in your stretch.  Once it starts to let go the next time will be easier and soon it will start to lengthen and remain relaxed.

During the time you are not working on your tension, throughout your day continually bring awareness to your body and your tension and breathe, relax and find your posture.  If you find your arms are lifted, then put them down.  This is something to always be aware of.   Also you must also try to find the source of the tension.  When working on it you may feel particular emotions associated with them, just breathe, experience, release and let go.  If it is something in your life then ty to find a way to create that happiness you desire.

On the other side, emotions like fear, anger, worry and anxiety are almost overwhelming.  In my experience when dealing with these emotions you must choose to stay positive as hard as it may be.  If these emotions and thoughts associated with them dominate your mind then this can become extremely detrimental.  Just think of the chemical and hormonal repercussions of having the chemical components to those emotions constantly streaming through your body.  If you have trouble with thoughts then a mantra can work wonders.  Let that dominate your mind and be your focus.  On the physical side positive action works very well; either do good things or exercise.

On the lighter side, if tension is not painful and is just impeding your range of motion, just continue to practice relaxation, breathe, massage and stretch.  When in a stretch or just practicing a yoga pose and muscles are contracting when they shouldn’t, you have to really use your mind to relax them and contract the muscles that should be used in that particular stretch or pose.  Using the technique of breathing chi through the limbs and condensing breathing are very helpful techniques as well.  Breathing the limbs is straight forward but when using condensing breathing I find it effective when focusing on the tension; as in breathing the muscle.  Inhale, condense muscles, exhale expand.  I find this to be very effective.  Also a light touch can help wonders as well when having trouble getting the mind into that area.  And massage before stretch is extremely helpful.