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Qi (Chi,Ch’i,Ki)- The vital energy that undergirds the manifested universe | by QI MAGEN
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Qi (Chi,Ch’i,Ki)- The vital energy that undergirds the manifested universe

Qi (Chi,Ch’i,Ki)- The Chinese name for the vital energy that undergirds the manifested universe


Qi (Chi,Ch’i,Ki)- is the Chinese name for the vital energy that undergirds the universe, analogous to the Indian prana. Its literal translation is "gas" and hence is similar to the Hebrew concept of spirit which is associated with breath. In China, qi is usually thought of as yuan qi, the original vital energy. Qi is the energy that flows through the body and is the subject of treatment in acupuncture and acupressure. Blockage of the flow of qi is the source of disease and the free natural flow of qi is the underpinning basis of health. The flow of qi, it is believed, can be stimulated by the practice of a series of exercises called qigong. Teaching about qi reaches into ancient China and much of the traditional Chinese understanding of the universe is based upon a belief in its existence. It is integral to Chinese medicine, including the understanding of the power of herbs, and basic to a vital sexual life.Common throughout China were a wide range of practices designed to raise qi and hence invigorate the body and serve as a system of preventive medicine. These wide-ranging techniques are generally grouped under the name qigong, and include practices known elsewhere as meditation and exercise. Some form of qigong was integrated into Chinese religious practices, especially Buddhism and Taoism.

Qi in TCM Acupuncture Theory

Qi, pronounced "chee", means energy. You may see it spelled "Chi" or even "Ki" in Japanese, but they all carry the same meaning. Qi is the energy of the body, of the meridians, of food, of the universe. While it may seem a nebulous topic there are refined theories regarding the different types of Qi within the body, the creation and actions of Qi and, consequently, ways to determine where imbalances may arise.


Basic Types of Qi

Map of the Creation of Qi

Detailed Types of Qi

Functions of Qi in the Body

Qi Disharmonies with Signs and Symptoms


Acupuncture Theory Related Resources

Discuss Acupuncture Theory


Basic Types of Qi

Within the body there are two basic types of Qi. Congenital Qi is the Qi that we are born with. It is essentially limited and the quality and amount of this Qi represents our basic constitution. Acquired Qi, on the other hand, is derived from the foods we eat and the air that we breath. The quality of acquired Qi depends on our lifestyle habits such as food quality, balance of emotions, physical exercise and so on. The details regarding these two basic types of Qi are below:


Congenital Qi

Inherited from our parents

Gathered and formed at conception

Stored in the Kidneys

Determines basic constitution, strength and vitality

Essential to growth and development

Can be conserved but not replenished /Composite of: Jing (Essence) &Yuan (Original Qi)

Acquired Qi /Post Natal Qi/Can be stored and replenished

Composite of:

Gu Qi (Essence of Food and Grain Qi)

Kong Qi (Air Qi)

Zong Qi (Gathering Qi)

Zhen Qi (True Qi) - Composite of Ying Qi (Nutritive Qi) & Wei Qi (Defensive Qi)


Functions of Qi in the Body

Generally speaking, the Qi serves several vital functions within the body. When imbalances arise, they are seen as disruptions in the functions of Qi. A prolapse, for example, is seen as a disruption in the ability of Qi to provide the raising and stabilizing function on a particular organ. In this case certain acupuncture points which have a strong lifting and stabilizing effect such as GV 20 may be used to help rebalance the body.


The main functions of Qi within the body are listed below:


Catalyzing Functions: Qi assists in the formation and transformations within the body, for example the transformation of food into Qi and Blood

Protecting Functions: Qi defends the body from external pathogens

Raising and Stability Functions: Qi holds organs in their place, keeps Blood in the vessels, governs the removal of fluids

Transporting Functions: Qi is the foundation of all movement and growth in the body.

Warming Functions: Qi helps to control homeostasis and provides warmth for the body.


Qi Disharmonies with Signs and Symptoms

Qi has four main states of imbalance. These imbalances may effect many parts of the body at once or within a particular meridian, organ or area. Deficiency of Qi, for example, may effect the Lungs with symptoms of shortness of breath, the Stomach/Spleen with symptoms such as poor appetite and the body in general with symptoms of fatigue and weakness.

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Taken on April 19, 2007