Early history


The motion which is created by a sideways oscillation of the pelvis has been known to be beneficial in Japan for almost 100 years, if not longer. This exercise form is popularly known in Japan as kingyo undo - or ‘goldfish exercise’ – and our research has identified a man named Seigo Nishi as the originator of this practice as early as 1927.

Mr Nishi created a series of exercises as part of an overall approach to healthcare that emphasized self-help. Mr Nishi saw that maintaining good health was something that individuals should practice for themselves, rather than depending upon others, and he set about providing a framework for achieving this that was called Nishi-shiki.

One of the key principles he taught was goldfish exercise and it seems that his background as a Civil Engineer helped form his ideas (he was in charge of building the Tokyo Subway or underground rail system). He observed that humans are alone in the animal kingdom in being erect, and that this has placed a lot of unique strains on our spine, having lost the benefit of having four legs.

Many other Japanese healthcare practitioners realised that various health benefits are stimulated by creating a pulsing motion in the pelvic region. This can be achieved by a therapist swinging the legs of the patient manually (as they do, for example, in Shiatsu), as well as self-applied techniques such as the Nishi-shiki method.

Birth of the first Chi Machine®

One of Seigo Nishi’s followers was Dr Shizuo Inoue, who acted as his secretary from 1948, and then took over his health clinic in 1959. He had a particular interest in efficient utilization of oxygen in the human body, and became Chairman of Japan's Oxygen Health Association.

In the late 1980s Dr Inoue communicated the idea of goldfish exercise to a Japanese company called Skylite Ind. Co. Ltd, and one of their engineers, Keiichi Ohashi, worked on a series of inventions, starting in 1988, that led to the launch of the first Chi Machine in 1990.

The machine was then registered in Japan as a remedial medical device. Patents were granted in Japan and USA – for more details see patents & designs.

The machine was marketed in Japan by Skylite Ind. Co. Ltd (under another name), but they sold the marketing rights outside of Japan to Hsin Ten Enterprise Co. Ltd. of Taiwan. This company marketed it in many countries under the brand name Sun Ancon or “Sun Harmony”, and later (around 1999) started to use the Trade Mark “The Chi Machine®” in the West.

For more details on the potential health benefits of chi exercise machines, please click here