Ai Chi: A Technique to Decompress the Chest and Open the Heart

Walter Raymond

Japanese movement therapy, similar to Tai Chi, but underwater.

Opening the heart is much more than a comforting phrase. The pressure we feel in our chest when we suffer an emotional trauma is caused by the tension of the muscles around the heart. The Ai Chi technique focuses in that particular area of the body, to open the heart chakra and renovate the flow of restorative energy.


Ai Chi comprises movements and breathing similar to those found in Tai Chi, with the significant difference that is Ai Chi is practiced in water. The gentle exercises are performed standing with the body submerged up to the shoulders. The goal is to unlock the energy of the heart center stimulating the nervous system.

With the practice of this technique, we can reach a state of relaxation similar to the one you obtain with deep meditation. Ai Chi was developed by Professor Jun Konno of the Aquadynamics Institute in Yokohama, Japan, using elements of hydrokinetic therapy (or physiotherapy) and Chi Kung.

Harmony and wellbeing

Performing gentle, circular movements, with full awareness of the body and mind, promotes a state of internal and external balance. Ai Chi improves blood circulation, releases tension, corrects posture and provides, ultimately, a sense of active relaxation. The harmony of mind and body obtained can stimulate reflection and self-contemplation, leading to the proper attitude to counteract the adverse effects of stress and other intense emotional states.

The aquatic environment is essential

It is important to do the exercises with the body half submerged in water. Moving in an aquatic environment stimulates a new body – mind – environment relationship. The immersion lessens the effect of the force of gravity, reducing the impact of the exercises on the joints.

It also forces the body to learn to move in a different way. The immersion breathing exercises improve the capacity of the muscles involved in breathing, thus increasing the ability to ventilate or changing the air. The soft water pressure on the body stimulates blood circulation and oxygenation providing a comprehensive health benefit.

To practice Ai Chi involves learning to let go. We’ll find out how to release tension around the heart, allowing feelings to flow. The exercise improves flexibility, body movement, and overall body posture, opening the heart and increasing perception and body self-awareness.

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