The term Qi has been translated in many ways, energy being the most common. Japan calls it Ki, India has Prana, ancient Greeks named it Pneuma. Life force, matter-energy, vital power, spirit - Qi is a physical manifestation as well as a ethereal form. Without Qi, we can not survive. In Chinese medicine it is inextricably tied to blood, yin and yang, flowing in the body supporting the organs,moving through meridians and making up our essence.
Qi is compared to the flow of water; beginning at the jing well, glides to the yin stream, pours into the shu stream finally flowing into the jing river. Water in a cup takes the shape of the cup and you can pour it into a different size container, but it never changes its essence. Acupuncture and other therapies may move Qi to a different "container" but it does not change the essence of what Qi is.
There are many forms of Qi: ancestral Qi, true Qi, grain Qi, defensive Qi, to name a few. The Qi from your parents is part of your constitution, the Qi youconsume (food) and breathe in (air) gets transformed and transported through your body required to maintain health, wellness and vitality.
Qi becomes different things in different situations, just like the water in a cup or ice tray, distilled steamed or frozen it will perform differently in another form but it is what it is.
When working with acupuncture, we place the needle in a certain spot, manipulate that needle until we feel, and sometimes you feel a sensation-that sensation is called 'de qi' or "arrival of qi". When we work with Qi during your treatment we wake up your Qi, remind it to flow easily help it move through areas of stagnation or blockage. We help build your defensive Qi or immune system, we tonify your spleen Qi to aid your digestion, we remove the stagnation of Qi in your liver to help with stress-in other words we help all the Qi be balanced.
If we balance the physical we help balance the ethereal form of Qi as well. You will sleep better, handle stress better, be more grounded as they say. Acupuncture is a catalyst for moving Qi in your body and mind, and once they remember how Qi flows, balance is obtained and wellness is more than a thought.
There are many ways to move Qi, build Qi and sustain Qi-Acupuncture being one of them. Through out this year we will be high lighting many therapeutics that work with Qi, some we hope you will explore. Part two on Qi will focus on some of the science being researched about Qi and how it fits into the Western world.