Ancient Chinese Medicine Massage to Help Rid Yourself of Belly Fat


At the heart of The Beauty Detox System and Beauty Detox Foods is improved digestive efficiency. By revving up your body’s ability to effectively and efficiently digest the foods you eat for fuel, you trigger optimal internal cleansing, which helps you achieve your ideal weight and health. That’s why I love this simple massage technique so much – because its core principle is similar to the philosophy found in the Beauty Detox lifestyle.

According to Dr. Stephen Chang, who practices both Western and Chinese medicine, utilizing a two minute massage technique provides a form of internal exercise that cleanses and detoxifies to melt away fat in a manner that is much different than the typical Western external exercises like crunches. While crunches are great for firming up your abdominal muscles, they don’t do anything about the layer of fat that sits on top of them. In fact, one of the persistent myths of Western exercise is that by working out the muscles, you can automatically turn fat into muscle, and that just ‘aint true.

Here’s what really happens anytime you perform a Western-style strength training exercise. The exercises place tiny tears in the muscle fibers. As those micro tears heal, the muscle fiber becomes stronger, leading to firmer (and in some cases larger) muscles. Your fat, on the other hand, remains stubbornly and annoyingly in place unless you engage in a specific program for fat loss. As we’ve discussed in The Beauty Detox System and The Beauty Detox Foods, fat loss comes about as a result of a few different mechanisms:

  • Detoxificationimages
  • Burning your body fat as fuel

Stored fat serves a few purposes in your body. First, it protects your internal organs. Second, it provides a ready form of energy to be burned as fuel during times of famine. Thirdly, it protects your body from all of the toxins you take in by living and eating in a toxic world. Losing excess fat, then, is a matter of creating ways for your body to burn that fat as fuel by producing an energy deficit between what you eat and what you burn. You must also remove your body’s need to store the fat to protect you from toxins, which is why detoxification is such a huge part of the Beauty Detox program.

So, when you exercise you are doing two things: raising your body’s energy (fuel) requirements and firming up the muscles underneath. In some cases, this can translate as fat loss; however, if you have toxic buildup or you increase your fuel (food) intake in response to exercise, then fat loss may come about very slowly – or not at all.

Many people overestimate the amount of calories they burn during an exercise session. The amount varies from person to person, with some people metabolizing fuel much more efficiently than others. While many things factor into this equation, toxicity is a big part of it. If your fat is trapping toxins and keeping them out of your system, your body will be extremely reluctant to burn fat as fuel because doing so will release those poisons.

Other variables that factor into how quickly your body burns calories during exercise include your current weight, the type of exercise you are doing, and the intensity of that exercise. In many cases, calories burned aren’t that much. For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, if you walk one mile in 30 minutes, you will only burn 102 calories. If you speed up just a bit (that is, increase the intensity of your exercise) and walk 1 ¾ mile in 30 minutes, then you’ll burn about 157 calories. If, however, you increase your food intake in response to your additional exercise, you’ll mostly negate any caloric deficit you achieved while walking.

This doesn’t mean I’m telling you not to exercise. Exercise is an important part of good health, because it strengthens your heart and lungs, helps detoxify you, improves your flexibility, gives you energy, and helps you have the strength and endurance for activities of daily life. If, however, you are exercising to lose weight, then you can’t rely on exercise alone. You also need to detoxify and eat a diet of healthy, naturally high fiber/low-calorie foods like I recommend in The Beauty Detox Foods. When you eat this way, you can eat to satiation and not obsess about calorie counting because the fiber will help fill your belly up as you receive large amounts of easily and quickly absorbed nutrients.

Chinese Medicine Abdominal Massage

The Chinese medicine massage technique I am going to outline below is a different type of exercise altogether. A product of 6,000 years of Eastern wisdom, the massage improves your digestive efficiency by maximizing your body’s ability to detoxify and eliminate waste. The technique can help speed up your digestive system and allows you to eliminate the sludge that builds up in intestines, which can be pounds (!!) of uneliminated waste. When I do it, it is apparent to me the technique is not only physical but also energetic. It’s worth a try, right?

Before you begin, please note that the following people should use caution or avoid using this technique. Don’t use this technique:

  • Immediately after a heavy meal
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you are suffering inflammation of feminine organs including the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bladder
  • If you have stones of the bladder, kidneys, or gallbladder
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have a hernia
  • If you have intestinal or stomach ulcers
  • If you have bleeding in the stomach, brains, or lungs
  • (If you aren’t sure if it’s right for you, you can always ask your doctor)

Benefits may include:

  • Can help melt adipose tissue
  • Improves digestive efficiency
  • Detoxifies the intestines
  • Improves constipation (the mother of all health/beauty issues!)
  • Stimulates the organs in your abdominal region
  • Improves circulation in your abdominal region
  • May improve conditions such as nausea, vomiting, symptoms of overeating, diarrhea, and indigestion
  • Can provide results in about a week of consistent practice

Perform this technique two times per day – before breakfast and just before bed.

  1. Lie flat on your back on a firm surface with your abdominal region exposed.
  2. Warm up your hands by rubbing them together until they feel hot – about 15 seconds.
  3. Place one hand flat on your belly button.
  4. Begin rubbing in small circles around your belly button, gradually widening the circles using a firm pressure. Each circle should take about one to two seconds.
  5. Focus on heat, which is building up in your abdominal region as you rub.
  6. Continue for two minutes, about 40 to 50 circles. Be sure to keep your stomach warm as you perform the exercise.

That’s it! See how you feel and if you (hopefully) notice an improvement in your digestion as your practice regularly.

Here is also a recommended list of foods that increase metabolism to help your body function efficiently throughout the day.



Last updated: Thursday, June 18, 2015
  • Kim

    Does it matter if the circles are clockwise or counter clockwise?

  • Cher

    Sounds great…. Few questions though:
    How hard should you press on your stomach when you are rubbing in circles?
    And are you rubbing in circles with your whole hand or just your fingertips?
    Thank you.

  • Donna Miller

    Does the direction of the circles (clockwise or counter clockwise) matter?

  • Randy Daniel

    Kimberly have you ever put together a retreat/boot camp style week or two for a small group to kick off there detox process? I would LOVE to be able to be apart of something like that.
    Thanks, Randy

  • Jennifer

    Definitely worth a try! Should I massage in clockwise or counter clockwise circles or dies it matter? Thank you!

  • Nancy Sweatt

    The technique is not described nor shown as to how to do what.

  • Marie

    Should you rub clockwise or counter clockwise ?

  • Barbara

    Do the circles keep moving outward for the full two minutes or do you go back and start at the belly button a few times?

  • Dawn

    You didn’t say in which direction the circle should go…I’ve always done it in a clockwise direction when my kids had digestive issues. Is this the recommended direction or does it matter? Thanks, Dawn

  • Kelly

    Do you just use one hand to do the message? It sounds like it from the description but the picture shows two hands on the abdomin. Thank you!

  • Teresa Andrews

    This may seem like a silly question, but does it matter if you go clockwise vs. counterclockwise?

  • Lu Ann

    Why is this not recommended for people with high blood pressure?

  • Gina

    Does it matter if you go counter clockwise or clockwise? I would guess counter clockwise but not sure. Thanks!

  • http://kimberlysnyderancient-chines-medicine robin fogoros

    How far out from your bellybutton do you go? and should your stomach be relaxed ? thank you for all your info and advice. Robin

  • Karen

    Does it matter if it’s clockwise or counter clockwise?

  • Anna

    Question….When you say not to do this if you have kidney stones..Do you do mean…while your having a kidney stone attact or if you get kidney stones?

  • Julia

    Do you rub circles in clockwise motion?

  • Patricia

    Hi Kimberly, what direction do we rub? I am assuming: using my right hand ,I rub my belly from left to right to assist the decending colon. Is this correct ? Also , was thinking about using a bit of Castor Oil to assist the massage . What do you think ? Thank you, Pat

  • helene

    Hi KIm,
    I will try this, of course.
    I was just wondering if there is a better way for rubbing in circles…. clockwise or the other way around?
    thank you

    • amber

      Hi there
      I believe its a clockwise rub.
      Hope that helps

  • Katie

    Hi Kimberly – I was just wondering if it is better to make the circular motion clockwise or counter-clockwise? Thanks!

    • Celine

      It has to be clockwise to go with the flow…..

    • Quentin

      Food travels from your right to left ascending to transverse to descending colon so i would guess R to L which of course is “Clockwise”

  • Black Women in Europe

    I learned this from my Yoga teacher ages ago and only perform this exercise when feeling bloated. I’ll have to remember to do it twice daily!

  • http://internet dave h

    i was a bit sceptical of your methods at first.
    i am now seeing some benefits.many thanks, and keep posting me advice.

  • Dana

    Wonderful information, thank you. I used to be a massage therapist years ago and we learned you always massage the stomach clockwise in order to move things along in the intestines. We were told never to massage counterclockwise.

  • Cynthia G

    Is there a video demonstration of this technique? That would be great! When you say place your hand flat on your belly button, do you keep it flat when you rub? It is hard to do small circles with a large flat hand!!!

  • Annie

    I too would like to know…clockwise or counterclockwise.

    • Jessica

      As a massage therapist, we are taught to go clockwise, in most cases. That is because it mimics the flow of the large intestine through the abdominal cavity. Going counter clockwise could move things back up into an area that has already been emptied.

  • Jenny

    Hi Kimberly,
    Which book by Dr. Stephen Chang did you learn this from? I am reading The Complete System of Self-Healing and I have not come across this exercise yet. Do you have another book of his to reccomend?
    Thanks for your books and great info, the hardest thing is having to relearn what I thought I knew of nutrition.

  • Kay

    I was told about this type of abdominal massage when my son was little and having digestive issues. It does work for that. I’m anxious to find out what weight loss benefits it might have.

  • Jo

    I could be wrong, but i wouldn’t have thought that it would matter which way you do the massage, as it is perhaps the overall energetic input which does the job?

    • brandon

      YES IT DOES MATTER WHICH WAY. Your intestines push food in one direction. If you’d like to try and force your food back and up out your mouth then by all means try it counter clockwise, but if you’d like this to help you then go with clockwise

  • Julia Huerta

    we learned this a long time ago in massage therapy massage clockwise..not counter clockwise..always clockwise cuz if you do the opposite you can cause yourself to get or the massage client constipated…and you don;t need your whole hand to do the abdomen massage correctly just fingertips is fine..keeping them/stomach warm while doing the massage…and not all the way outward you go back to where you started doing it a few times till it’s 2 minutes..and low to medium pressure not that hard since the stomach is a sensitive place to work on..yes one hand place the other hand on the hand giving the massage and also If HBP is not controlled through medication or diet and exercise, massage should not be performed. Circulatory massage can worsen the damage done to blood vessel walls by forcing blood through the body. In addition, there may be underlying factors causing the high blood pressure that contraindicate massage…take care everyone :)

  • Cairenn

    Hi Kimberly,

    I know you said not to do this “If you have stones of the bladder, kidneys, or gallbladder”. I don’t have any stones, but I am having a lot of problems with my kidneys (they’re still trying to figure out what all is going on). Do you think it would be okay for me to go ahead and do this or not?

  • shannen

    Hi….I know overall you don’t recommend weight loss supplements but I hearing really good things about this Garcinia Cambogia and not just for weight loss. Dr Oz has every doc. everywhere voting yes for this stuff. Any idea what the big whoop is and if there are some benefits?
    This supplement is also supposed to be a big help when it comes to bell fat???

    • TRISH


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  • Nippy

    Why do people keep asking which way to do it? Can’ t you just read the comments? It has been answered a few times, but some lazy fatties still keep asking about it!!!

  • Pearl London

    I would suggest working in the direction of the muscle, so clockwise on the right side of the body and anti-clockwise on the left.

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  • diana

    Awesome..thank you! Will be doing it twice a day

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    Great Share.
    Can i get a link to a video that explains this exercise?

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