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Acupuncture and the concept of Qi

What is Acupuncture?
What are the benefits of acupuncture as a complementary therapy treatment?

Qi or Chi (pronounced chee) is a "concept" that is at the very heart of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and consequently Acupuncture.
It is a mystical and somewhat philosophical idea that has no direct equivalent in western medicine. It has variously been thought of as "life force", "energy", or "vital energy" but none of these fully realise the full concept of Qi.
TCM embraces the idea that everything in the universe is composed of Qi yet it cannot be conceived of as mere energy or as a fundemental particle or substance.

The Chinese have a somewhat mystical saying that states "When Qi gathers, so the physical body is formed; when Qi disperses, the body dies".
We all begin with Original Qi which is inherited from our parents when we are conceived.
When we are born Original Qi is enlarged by Post Natal or After Heaven Qi being basically, food and air, drawn from the world we live in.
Qi from the food we eat is associated with the spleen (Food Qi) and Qi from the air we breathe is associated with the lungs (Air Qi). These two forms of Qi are said to mix together to form Gathering Qi this is in turn catalysed by the action of Original Qi to form Normal Qi.
The resulting Normal Qi is what circulates through the organs and channels (meridians) of the body.
The Qi flowing through the organs of the body is often known as Nutritive Qi and is responsible for the nourishment of the organs and tissue of the body. Qi flowing through the meridians is referred to as Defensive Qi which circulates on the outside of the body protecting it from any external factors (cold, heat, damp etc.) which may give rise to illness and disharmony.

Qi has five main health giving functions within the body: -

1.It is the source of all body movement and activity; as every movement of the body, voluntary or involuntary, is an indication of the flow of Qi. The level of Qi is always descending or ascending as it leaves or enters the body. Health and wellbeing are dependent on this activity.

2. The normal body temperature is maintained by the function of the warming action of Qi,

3. Qi protects the body from invasion by environmental external factors such as Heat, Cold, Damp etc.

4. Qi has a vital role in changing air and food into other necessary substances - Qi itself, Blood and Body Fluids.

5. The maintenance of a healthy and strong Qi is hugely important in holding the various organs, vessels and tissues of the body in a correct functioning order.

Ill health and poor wellbeing within the body can be affected by Qi disharmony and this generally manifests itself in four different ways.

1. A deficiency of Qi will result in the functions being reduced, an example would be Qi not being able to carry out its warming function correctly.

2. If the Qi level is badly deficient (Sinking Qi) it will fail in its holding capacity, this can be seen in organ prolapse.

3. If the flow of Qi is in any way restricted through sluggish flow or blockages the body can be adversely affected around these stagnations in the meridian. A further affect can be suffered by the internal organs.

4. Qi can sometimes flow in the wrong direction (Rebellious Qi). An obvious example would be Stomach Qi which is considerd to flow downwards, carrying food to the intestines, any "rebellion" reverses the flow of Qi causing nausea, hiccups and often vomitting.

To maintain good health it is important Qi flows through the body uninterrupted by means of, what acupuncturists refer to as, meridians (channels). If an imbalance occurs or the flow of Qi becomes blocked then illness will occur; these malfunctions are what the acupuncturist, with the use of needles, can restore to a harmonising balance.


Read much more about Acupuncture in one of these excellent books.....



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Acupuncture FAQ's

Acupuncture -How it Works

Acupuncture - Tools and Techniques

Acupuncture - Needling Techniques

Five Element Theory

What is moxabustion

What is Cupping

What is Qi

What are Meridians