Chi (pronounced “chi” or “khi”) is believed to be a vital force that forms part of all living things. The word literally translates as breath, gas, or air and figuratively as ‘life force’ or ‘energy flow,’ or ‘material energy. Qi is the fundamental underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and Chinese martial arts. Despite the extensive general belief in the reality of qi, it remains an unverifiable and non-scientific concept.
What Does Qi Mean?
According to ancient Chinese, and how they understood natural phenomena, the primary substance the world is comprised of is Qi and everything in the entire universe results from these changes and movement of qi. The concept of Qi was introduced and became a characteristic of TCM, where acupuncture is rooted from and you can try this acupuncture clinic in Midtown, New York to experience qi. The meaning of qi in TCM comprises:
– The vital substances that make up the human body and maintain its life activities (water, the essence of food, breathing nutrients, etc.);
– The physiological functions of the bowels and viscera, collaterals and channels (qi of the lung, heart, spleen, and stomach, etc.).
The formation and classification of qi in the human body come from two sources: the vital innate substance inherited from parents; the essence supplied by food, air, and water in the natural world.
The Process of Qi Formation
According to Chinese Medicine, the innate vital substance in a human body is acted upon by the kidney and comes out of the portion between the kidneys (known as the Gate of Life). It travels up to the Middle Warmer where it combines with the essence of food coming from the spleen. From here it continues upwards to mix with the air inhaled by the lungs and finally turns into Qi. From the above process, it can be seen that qi is formed in the human body through the joint participation of the kidneys, spleen, stomach, and lungs which combines with the innate vital substance received from the parents, fresh air from nature, and food essence from food and water.
Function of Qi
Qi is a kind of essence filled with a vitality that promotes action. It helps to activate the development and growth of the body, promotes the physiological functions of the bowels, viscera, channels, organs, and tissues, and speeds up the circulation and formation of blood as well as the metabolism of the body fluid. Weakening of the above-named functions as a result of a deficiency of Qi or vital energy can result in the following:
– Senilism – slow or late growth and development of the body;
– Weakening of the functions of the bowels and viscera, the collaterals and the channels, the organs, and tissues of the body;
– Disturbances in body fluid metabolism;
– Stagnation or insufficient blood formation in the blood vessels;
– Lowered body temperatures, cold limbs, and intolerance to cold. The warming action of qi is the largest source of heat the body needs to keep a constant temperature.
The Movement of Qi in The Human Body
The different functions of qi are all accomplished by the movement of qi. Different types move in a variety of ways, but theoretically, they can be placed in four fundamental ways: descending (referring to movement from above); ascending (relating to movement from below); exiting (referring to movement from the interior); entering (referring to movement from the exterior).
These movements of Qi that constantly occur in the human body are vital to life, and once they stop, life will come to an end.