There is a positive mental formation called “ease” – a relaxed state of peacefulness and tranquility, like the still water in a calm mountain lake. We cannot be happy, we cannot nourish and heal ourselves, unless we are at ease.
Thich Nhat Hanh
I address this question only because I am so frequently messaged about the difference between ‘Dien Chan’ born in Vietnam 40 years ago and ‘Dien Chan Zone’ the name we have chosen to differentiate the method advanced and adapted in Italy over the last 20 years.
I tend to focus on expressing what we do and how we reason but, it has come to my attention that given our similar tools, shared maps, and almost identical name, the defining features are not always clear. And so this post speaks to anyone who is curious enough to ask.
Do I advise those who can’t make it to one of my courses to study with another teacher instead? The answer is I’ve yet to find one I could entrust you with… Truthfully, if you’ve been drawn to me and my message I don’t feel you’ll be satisfied until you study the technique the way I learned in Italy. Anything else will lead you astray and probably hinder your ability to comprehend what is already a subtle transmission…
Instead, I’d suggest you get a copy of my teachers’ book (link >>> here) and begin to explore self-treatment following the generous instructions there. I’m more than happy to support you via email (email@example.com) if you have questions about its content.
By studying the ‘original’ method you’ll likely amass a bunch of tools that will distract you from the profound nature of what’s at hand. Moreover, you may become confused about the very principle of complementary therapy.
I say that because those who teach ‘Dien Chan’ in English (and other languages) are sharing in a way that demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the principles and the wisdom of Eastern holistic medicine. They may be lovely people, they may have the kindest of intentions and what they have to offer may be perfect for some. But it is worlds apart from what I am here to put in motion.
If they are teaching in the Vietnamese style developed post-war 35 years ago they may teach you to do more harm than good on Western receivers and if they are teaching you how to beautify the face with gadgets the very concept of Reflexology – of treating the inside via the periphery – has been wasted.
That is my perspective and it is also my most honest advice. I think I would have appreciated such transparency if I’d found myself in your shoes. I consider it more than likely I would have headed in search of the ‘original’ method of Facial Reflexology had I been comparing courses online years ago. We can tend to assume that by going to the root we will gain the best teachings… but don’t forget that flowers blossom at the branches.
I was never in pursuit of this world or such courses and instead was led by the heart… These days, when I come across videos of how they approach healing in the East I count my blessings that I made it here first. Even more so when I see the way some are teaching how to ‘treat’ the face – right here in Europe – in a manner that makes my stomach churn.
I’m aligned with the idea that it is not possible or desirable to be purist about adopted techniques – just look at the transmission of Acupuncture or Yoga to the West – to remain useful everything must morph across time and in to meet diverse places. Thankfully, because Dien Chan is not attached to any larger philosophy we have the unique benefit of ensuring its potency is in no way diminished.
You should know…
In Vietnam they have massaged the face for health for thousands of years evidenced by ancient medical maps which depict various projections of bodies and organs on the head. These maps are the foundation of what we call ‘Dein Chan’. But even with this legacy the majority of people there have never heard of ‘Dien Chan’ or ‘Facial Reflexology’.
Yet, this habit is what renders it useful in that part of the world. Imagine you are massaging someone’s back which is covered in knots – doesn’t it make sense to warm and prepare the area before you work on the points of extreme tension? In Vietnam daily facial massage (which is quite vigorous and lasts up to an hour) effectively does just that. By the time they go to the clinic for their reflexology session (if they ever do) they are primed to have a fine needle-like tool pressed into their face.
Even if it seems the pressure used is excessive, there is a cultural association there of pain with healing. For example, Tiger Balm is commonly applied to the genitals or the mouth to clear infection. If you’ve ever mistakenly had this substance in your eye or up your nose, you’re bound to agree that we are culturally a little less hardy.
Because we’re not raised with this attitude our nervous system (the mechanism we interact with to perform reflexology) enters defense mode when we experience pain. Try it yourself – stab a small blunt tool into your forehead and feel how the energy moves upward like a barrier. Any attempt to send a signal with Reflexology may not be sent or received as desired and the natural healing state (those theta, delta or gamma brainwaves) is far from reach.
At our school in Italy (site here >>> AIRFI) – where there is no culture of facial massage – we’ve found the invasive pressing of points on the face to be unwise and less than effective in the long run. Instead, we respect the requirements and expectations of our receivers and modify the experience accordingly.
We treat zones of the face according to those same ancient established maps, and we use certain points in certain cases. When you learn about traditional Vietnamese facial massage (which long predates what we all call ‘Dien Chan’) you may even consider our approach to be more ‘original’ than the system of points on a grid. Either way, we’re just glad to be free from pieces of paper with hundreds of numbers in the treatment room.
I should also note that ‘Dien Chan Zone’ has been developed by two long-term Reiki masters, Tui na and Shiatsu therapists immersed in the world of TCM and adept in Tai Chi and Qigong. They are well acquainted with the power of notion of ease as a means to natural healing which is reflected in the utterly relaxing package they have developed.
Vietnamese or Italian?
Therein, while its essence is the same, the technique has been adapted and – after 20 years of dedicated research informed by these influences – expanded (it includes a Cranial reflexology, Beauty Massage, TCM contributions and first aid protocol). Meanwhile, the Italian elements are all there: treatments are individualised and sensitivity is at the core of each session.
It may interest you to know that in Italian the word ‘to feel’, sentire also means ‘to hear’. I consider this cultural quirk an important indication of the contribution of my teacher Beatrice Moricoli. To put it this way – when you speak with an Italian they not only hear what you are saying, they feel if you mean what you say. There is an emphasis here upon what can’t be seen or interpreted with the senses which is only reinforced by the country’s long-standing mysticism and religious beliefs (I could go on but that is a post for another day…).
The ancient Chinese would say that when you work with a light pressure you treat the Shen, the spirit of the heart. I think that’s probably the best way to summarise our approach. We deal with all kinds of imbalance and don’t rely on any specific tools or books to do so. Treatments are hypnotic and enjoyed by all. As well as the Receiver, our Therapists heal and develop with each treatment because of the way they are taught.
Moreover, whilst we cater to the population we serve, what we teach is also suitable for receivers in the East, in the North and in the South… and we intend to take Dien Chan Zone in all of these directions!
We won’t be selling tools to or reference books to sustain the work, we’ll be educating people about the language of their bodies and the power of their touch. We’ll be gentle and we’ll always recall the Vietnamese origin of this diamond – the world’s first Reflexology on the face and further, the first Multireflexology that in a stroke of genius extends all over the body.
This is a method for everyone, developed and developing, in a constant state of evolution, at the same time 40 years young and thousands of years old. If you have already studied Dien Chan and are hungry to explore at a deeper level you know who to call.
If you want more in the interim and Dien Chan doesn’t feel like a fit… there are numerous teachers to follow. Anyone who talks about the present moment, who takes you out of your head and into the body… anyone who reminds you that everything you need is already inside of you.
I trust this advice is helpful and I apologise in advance for any offense caused in a bid to educate. May you move closer to what your heart calls for and may we all unveil our truest essence with Facial Reflexology as a key to deeper understanding of the Universe’s poetry.