The "Nerd Info" Behind the Unusual & Mysterious, yet Invigorating & Relaxing, Chi Machine Session

By Shaun Angel, CPT

So, what is this "woo-woo" sounding Chi Machine at Livewell?  I know many of you still don't know what this service is all about, even though you may be in a membership package that includes this service.  I mean, what gives?  Livewell featuring Flex 151 is all about computerized robotics, data driven health improvements and cutting edge and research based solutions for your health.  So why would we offer a strange sounding service that sounds like something out of one of an old karate film?  In all seriousness, the answer is simple: because the science is sound, and it works to help us feel better!  Today's post sheds some light and breaks it down:  what it is, how it works, and why you should care for your health and peace of mind.  So, read on and schedule your session today!  You will not regret the 20 minutes of time it takes to feel so much better.

Background. The Eastern sense of the word “chi” means energy, or life force energy. The unusual Chi Machine is a passive aerobics stimulator, developed by Dr. Shizuo Inoue, Chairman of Japan's Oxygen Health Association. Dr. Inoue believed that a lack of oxygen and poor circulation were the cause of many chronic diseases. Dr. Inoue, who has spent decades researching the relationship between oxygen levels in the body and the quality of human health, got his idea by watching goldfish swimming. Engineers took his basic concept and designed the Chi Machine. ® "The pattern of motion the machine generates in the human body uses minimum effort and achieves maximum results," says Dr. Inoue. "It improves the basic metabolism of the body, increases our energy, adds flexibility to our lives and improves our attitude. It can also increase our sense of awareness, balancing the mind/body connection."

Unlike many forms of exercise, it is easy to experience its benefits (you simply lie there), and provides excellent results without stress or injury. No one is too out of shape or too in shape to benefit. 20 minutes on the Chi Machine is like 10,000 steps, or walking for 90 minutes, when looking at oxygenation of tissues. When we refer to ‘passive aerobics’, we are referring to the circulation and oxygenation effects of the body.  See the chi Machine live the The Doctor's Show:

Benefits you may experience from your session.  The Chi Machine ® passive aerobics session stimulates an exclusive body response through gentle "figure 8" oscillations with the body helping to:

  • Counteract the effects of stress by rapidly inducing a deep state of relaxation
  • The gentle wave-like movement of the spine relaxes the muscles of the back, improving flexibility and movement while relieving pain.
  • Promote blood cell production, blood circulation and tissue oxygenation.
  • Relax muscles locally
  • Relieve vertebra joint pressure
  • Promote a sense of well being
  • Enhance lymphatic drainage
  • Enhance detoxification
  • Improve immune system function
  • Massage abdominal organs to aid in digestion
  • Stimulate the flow of “Chi” energy throughout the body
  • Improve athletic recovery times, or speed recovery post workout
  • The perfect synergy to use before a FAR IR Sauna session, after a Whole Body vibration session or before/after yoga for centering and other synergistic effects
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What to expect and How it works:

Our clients joke it is like swimming on land! The gentle, repetitive oscillation of the Chi Machine is non-jarring and very passive. Nothing to be nervous about! The specific movement pace and travel creates relaxation, helping to change Beta brainwaves to a relaxed Alpha brainwave state, enhanced by the precise figure eight motion the machine generates. It is this 144 side to side motions per minute programming that is actually stimulating a lateral flexion in the spine, activating the sympathetic nervous system to calm down, which then allows the tiny tubes in the lungs known as bronchi and alveoli to expand, thus driving more oxygen between lungs and circulatory system. This is what is allowing the oxygenation to occur. When we walk, we are really only moving forward and backward. The chi machine, conversely, is moving us side to side creating the action through vertebral movement. (Ok, I will take my propeller hat off now!)

At Livewell, we are always ‘upgrading’ things where it makes sense, so you will additionally experience your chi machine session while lying on a specially designed FAR Infrared (FIR) Heating pad. Far IR heat is actually a form of light and the results of FIR are phenomenal. Heat therapy can enhance the immune system, increase blood flow and oxygenation, relieve minor aches and pains and help to eliminate toxins. The heating pad helps to warm along the spine and increase circulation through increased capillary action; basically, helping to drive blood flow and thus increasing oxygenation throughout the body. See my recent blog on the effects of FAR IR heat after you read this.  Due to the effects of meditation and the chi machine's help with shifting our brain state, we pair your Chi Machine Service with a selection of our tranquil meditation music or even binaural beats. These facilitate a quicker brainwave shift to allow relaxation to occur. This trifecta combination allows a deep state of relaxation to occur as the body quickly unloads pressure and moves from our normal sympathetic nervous system state, or fight or flight response most Americans are perpetually in….to a parasympathetic relaxation state where true restoration can occur.

All this happens quickly with our unique combination approach of the Chi Machine's gentle undulating motion, the red light tinted room, the Far IR heating pad and the binaural meditation sounds and music in your ears. A 20 minute session leaves you refreshed and ready to tackle the day! Test us in this. You will be amazed at how good you feel after, and your resulting productivity increase will more than make up for the lost 20 minutes you gave yourself.

Things to consider to be ready for your session:

  • Drink a glass of water prior and after your session. Many of the benefits come from the lymphatic stimulation, which releases toxins. Staying hydrated helps facilitate these toxins out of the system.
  • Don’t get up quickly after a session. Roll to your side and ‘come to’ for a few minutes. You will likely feel a slight tingling sensation in your extremities and a little euphoria. Enjoy this feeling; it is the best part! We call it the “Chi Rush”!
  • Let yourself go! Quit thinking and just be. This helps you get more out of your session. You have the rest of your day to be stressed out.
  • Regular street clothes are fine. You will simply remove your shoes. We have a specially designed pad to cushion your ankles and bolsters for under your knees if you suffer from knee pain. Risk of injury is very low as you are simply lying flat on your back and not actively engaging any part of your fully supported body. Heart rate and resting blood pressure will not increase.  Check with your physician if you are unsure if this is ok for you.
  • It is better to start slowly and work up your time due to the rapid detoxification that can occur if you haven’t been exercising. All it takes is 4-6 minutes once or twice daily, slowly working up to 15-20 minutes max per session.


The Sun Ancon Chi Machine, is licensed and classified as a medical device in three countries.— Japan 1993: O2B 1539 and 02B 0694 – Australia 2001: L 81810 – Canada 2004: 28813 and 66598

HTE Americas Informational Video on Chi Machine: How it Works and Health Effects

It has been studied in extensive clinical trials, even being cited for review on for effectiveness for those with secondary leg lymphadema.

The Sun Ancon Chi Machine Aerobic Exerciser: a new patient focused, home based therapy for people with chronic secondary leg lymphedema.