The Surge of Chi® Exerciser
is designed to provide a special type of exercise that we call "passive exercise". it’s called ‘passive’ because the exercise is happening while you are lying down doing nothing! Its origins lie in Japan, where there has traditionally been a recognition amongst healthcare professionals of the value of creating a sideways motion starting at the feet. Originally the movement was achieved either by a therapist swinging the feet of the patient manually (as in Shiatsu), or by teaching people to simulate the movement themselves, using various self-applied techniques such as the Nishi-shiki method, and those practiced by Ai-kido practitioners.
The original Japanese version of the exerciser - called a ‘feet-swinging device’ - was invented in 1988. The invention was apparently inspired by a Japanese medical doctor, a Dr Inoue, who had specialised in studying the action of oxygen within the body at all levels. The story goes that the doctor’s inspiration for this concept was the elegant swimming motion of the goldfish. He observed that fish and almost all animal life enjoy a natural exercise of the spinal column that humans lack - due to our erect posture. This inspired him to design a machine that could generate movement in humans effortlessly while lying in a horizontal position. This way of exercising was already known in Japan as kingyo undo - or 'goldfish exercise' - first introduced as part of Nishi-shiki in 1927.
When the motor-assisted version of this simple concept was put into practice, the Japanese realised that benefits occurred at many levels. The finished product was recognised as a remedial medical device by the Ministry of Health & Welfare in 1990, and with their health-conscious and busy lifestyles, huge numbers of Japanese quickly became enthusiasts.
The boom in popularity of these exercisers then spread to the Chinese, who have a long tradition of taking personal responsibility for their own healthcare too - as exemplified by the well-known sight of Tai Chi and Chi Gung enthusiasts of all ages exercising daily in public open spaces, and in group sessions at their places of work.
Chinese researchers realised that the flow of ‘chi’ energy throughout the body was significantly raised by their use. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on stimulating chi energy to keep the body’s systems in balance, so the Chinese understood how valuable this revolutionary exerciser was on many levels.
Later the concept was introduced to America, where it was first patented in 1992 as "kinesitherapic equipment", designed to provide "stress-free aerobic exercise". The Taiwanese company who introduced it to the West did so under the trade-marked product name "Chi Machine" and its popularity led to this term becoming widely used, even though we are legally prevented from using this name for the more Chi Exercisers that were developed later.
The Second Generation of Chi Exercisers
The Surge of Chi Exerciser was developed for Western physiques, adopting a more robust engineering model than the early products - which were generally designed for the Asian market. The big step forward was to adopt a heavy-duty DC motor. This has given a more robust performance with a smoother ride, and has enabled utilisation of more refined technology - including precisely adjustable speeds and electronic programming. This means the user can adjust the speed during use, with a very broad speed range, and enjoy other advanced controls and improvements over the original model and its cheaper competitors - which generally have lightweight AC motors and fixed speeds.
"Continuous Passive Motion" [CPM] equipment has been used by back care professionals in treating backs since the 1970s. These devices are designed to reduce inflammation and ease pain by encouraging the flow of synovial fluid between the discs, supplying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, and helping to expel toxins that arise from inflammation. CPM utilises oscillatory motion that is mirrored in certain hands-on techniques of therapies like Shiatsu, Trager and the harmonic manual work of osteopaths themselves. These hands-on techniques aim at releasing tension and inducing relaxation.
The heavy-duty DC motor and adjustable speeds of the Surge of Chi – and its cousin, the FlexxiCore, which was introduced in September 2012 – combine the energizing features of early chi exercisers with the ability to provide the benefits of CPM in an affordable and convenient unit that can be used in the home. They offer a wider distance of swing travel than earlier chi exercisers, so that the back can be fully mobilised - at the speed of your choice - without strain or stress.
The adaptability of the Surge of Chi with its adjustable speeds has encouraged health professionals in many disciplines to use it with clients, and a series of trials has resulted in a portfolio of case studies demonstrating a broad range of conditions that respond well to treatment. Copies of samples of these case studies are available to health professionals on request.
While the original CPM equipment is practice-based and expensive, the beauty of the Surge of Chi is that the therapeutic benefits are accessible - in terms of price, portability and storage - to ordinary users for use at home, as well as to professionals for clinical work.
Please see our Technical Details page for more information on the advanced specification of the Surge of Chi Exerciser Mark 2.