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What is Qi?

Chinese Medicine focuses on a paradigm based on the functional relationships between organ systems. These organ systems are often described as departments within a bureaucratic government, all working together to support the health of the realm, the realm being the body. The interaction between these organ systems is carried out through three vital substances, Qi, Blood and body fluids.

The oldest definition of Qi comes from the Shuo Wen Jie Zi (說文解字), the Explanation of Characters for Oral Literature, China’s oldest dictionary. This book, written and compiled about twenty two hundred years ago, states ‘Qi is a gift of food and fodder presented to a guest.’ (氣:饋客芻米).

Looking at this definition, food is given to provide the energy for the guest to make a transition from one place to another. Qi in this case is the transitional, or transformational energy, it brings about an effect then it is gone. It is stored in things like food, but also in the vital energy of our bodies and it is used to keep us alive and healthy.

Subjectively, Qi is what we feel as our vitality, the glow of health or the vibrancy with which we approach life. Objectively, Qi has many functions within and without the body, it moves the blood and supports metabolism, it protects and defends as a functional part of the immune system, it also warms the body and keeps everything in its proper place.

Qi deficiency is a Chinese Medical diagnosis, the symptoms of which may be quite varied. A Qi deficiency is in essence a functional deficit, it may have emotional, mental or physiological symptoms. These symptoms may include many acute or chronic conditions, such as depression or fatigue, there may be digestive discomfort or loose stools, even things like cold hands and feet, shortness of breath or easy sweating. Many chronic pain conditions also fall under the diagnosis of Qi deficiency.

At Active Living Chiropractic and Jade River Healing Arts Center, our practitioners focus on bringing the body back into a healthy balance to support your natural vitality. Using Herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, dietary instruction, physical rehabilitation and chiropractic care, our purpose is to return you to vibrant health. If you feel you might benefit from our dedication, make an appointment to visit us today!


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