Energy (QI) – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

For SHA Wellness Clinic
Thursday December 20th, 2018
Natural therapies

Philippa Harvey - TCM Specialist
Philippa Harvey - TCM Specialist

" Is the essential life force that flows through all of nature."

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Energy or QI — pronounced “chee” — is the essential life force that flows through all of nature. This Energy is the vitality that gives life and direction to all matter. We believe that a balanced movement of QI has the power to strengthen, energise and heal the body.

The general term for QI as Energy, has large implications as this has an effect on all living matter. To better understand QI, the area in which it has its influence has been divided into smaller “specialities”. For example a TCM nutritionist would focus on the QI of food, on the importance of eating a balanced diet of YIN –YANG foods, or hot, cold, sweet, bitter and sour foods. Calories are not really used to understand diet or nutrition.

To complicate matters on understanding QI and our food, a balanced diet (YIN-YANG) will also be reflected as a good Ying Qi. This being the energy we get from nutrition as a whole. Needless to say a good Ying QI, or good nutrition, is essential for a strong immune system, a healthy body and mind. Understanding how and what a person eats will help a TCM practitioner guide a patient to achieve a desired harmony in the body and mind.

Should we look at the human body in further detail, QI is really “specialised”, it is used to describe the activity or functions of all organs. A healthy Heart QI will make sure the job of governing blood, controlling the blood vessels, and so forth runs smoothly. The Lungs have its QI or functions, as does the Liver, etc. Stomach /Spleen QI govern transport and transformation, these organs transforms food into nutrients, and moves them around.

When we diagnose an illness in TCM, an excess or deficiency of QI will be used to indicate a disorder of an organ. TCM practitioners ask all sorts of questions during a diagnosis, as we understand that thinking, feeling, metabolism and hormones can influence the Organ Qi. In other words, being QI deficient, may affect your health.

How to keep our QI balanced in our body? When we understand that all organs have its own QI, in TCM we believe that this QI has its own internal system, just like circulation system. This is called the Meridian System. As such, the 12 main meridian paths in this system are named after an organ. Should there be an imbalance in our Stomach QI, (for example we have a heavy or weak digestive system) a TCM practitioner may use acupuncture, and chose some points along the Stomach or Spleen Meridian path. Insertion of tiny needles in specific points in the meridian helps the QI to do its job. In addition, a change in diet, life style, or some herbs may also be prescribed to balance QI.

When taking that lovely stroll during the winter season, don’t forget to appreciate the life force or QI, which is in us and our surroundings. In the trees that have reserved QI for the new leaves, and in our Heart Qi, full of happiness when surrounded by friends and family.


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