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Current location: Home >> TCM >> QI and Energy JING BLOOD BODY FLUIDS Theory >> QI and Energy

QI and Energy       JING        BLOOD        BODY FLUIDS

Origin and Types of Qi

Functions of Qi Disharmonies of Qi

Human Energy Fields

The Qi Energy System

The Chakra System

How might Chinese Medicine work?

There is nothing more fundamental to Chinese medicine than understanding the concept of Qi. Qi
has variously been translated as energy, vital energy or life force; however,it is impossible to capture the concept fully in one English word or phrase.Everything in the universe is co,posed of Qi,yet it is seen neither as some fundamental particle or substance nor as mere energy. Ted Kaptchuk is a well-respected Western practitioner of Chinese medicine who has written extensively for Western audiences. Perhaps one could say that he captures best the essence of Qi when he describes it as matter on the verge of becoming energy,or energy at the point of materializing. As the Chinese say, When Qi gathers,so the physical body is formed; when Qi disperses, so the body dies.

Ultimately,it is probably wise not to debate endlessly what Qi is; rather, it is best to try to understand Qi by being aware of what it does.

Origin and Types of Qi

We begin with Original Qi (Yuan Qi),also known as Prenatal or Before Heaven Qi, which is inherited from our parents at conception.

This is augmented by Postnatal or After Heaven Qi, which is derived from the Qi in the world we live in. There are two main sources of Postnatal Qi-food and air. Gu Qi is derived from the food we eat,and the main organ associated with this process is the Spleen. Kong Qi is derived from the air that we breathe, and the main organ associated with this process is the lung.

Gu Qi and Kong Qi mixtogehter to form Gathering Qi (Zong Qi), sometimes known as Qi of the Chest.

Finally, the Zong Qi is catalyzed by the action of the Yuan Qi to form Normal or Upright Qi (Zheng Qi), which becomes the Qi that circulates through the channels and organs of the body. Since Zheng Qi flows around the body,several functions are based on it, as we now see.

Zheng Qi forms the basis of Nutritive Qi (Ying Qi),which id essential in the process of nourishing all the tissues of the body. It also forms the basis of Defensive Qi (Wei Qi), which circulates on the outside of the body and protects it from the external factors that might give rise to disharmony and illness.

When the Zheng Qi flows through each of the various internal organs of the body,the Qi functions with respect to the characteristics of that organ. Thus, for example, the activity of Liver Qi will be different from that of Lung Qi,but they are both manifestations of Zheng Qi. This is called Organ Qi (Zangfu Zhi Qi). Similarly, when Zheng Qi flows through the channels or meridians of the body it is called Meridian Qi (Jing Luo Zhi Qi).

Functions of Qi

1.Source of body activity and movement

Every aspect of movement in the body,both voluntary and involuntary, is a manifestation of the flow of Qi. Qi is constantly ascending, descending,entering,and leaving the body,and health and well-being are dependent on this continuous dynamic activity.

2. Warming the body

The maintenance of normal body temperature is a function of the warming action of Qi.

3.Source of protection for the body

Wei Qi is responsible for protecting the body from invasion by external environmental factors such as Cold,Heat,Damp,and other pathogenic factors that may cause illness.

4. Source of transformation in the body

The action of Qi in the body is crucial in transforming food and air into other vital substances, such as Qi itself,Blood, and Body Fluids.

5.Governing retention and containment

Healthy and strong Qi is vital in holding the various organs, vessels,and tissues of the body in their correct place,hence facilitating their correct functioning. This would be analogous to the manner in which the correct pressure is needed in a tire to bind it to the wheel and to facilitate the movement of the vehicle.

Disharmonies of Qi

1.Deficient Qi (Qi Xu)

In this instance there will be insufficient Qi to carry out adequately the various functions. thus,for example,in older people a deficiency of Qi resulting from aging can lead to chronic cold because the Qi is not performing its warming function adequately.

2.Sinking Qi (Qi Xian)

If the Qi is very deficient then it may no longer adequately perform its holding function and it may sink. This is most obviously seen in conditions such as organ prolapse.

3. Stagnant Qi (Qi Zhi)

If normal Qi flow is impaired for any reason,this can lead to sluggish flow or blockages.A single bump on the arm will cause localized swelling and pain because of the stagnation of Qi in the meridians. Stagnation can also affect internal organs, leading to more serious disharmonies.

4. Rebellious Qi (Qi Ni)

In this instance, the Qi flows in the wrong direction.For example, Stomach Qi is characteristically considered to flow downward, carrying food to the intestines. If the Stomach Qi rebels, it will move upward,leading to problems such as hiccups,nausea,and, in extreme cases,vomiting.

Much has been written about energy fields. It is suggested that the physical body is merely the densest level of energetic matter that exists within a frequency range that makes it both tangible and visible. There are other levels of energetic matter surrounding the physical with increasingly subtle frequency distributions. The various levels that are believed to exist are: physical,etheric,astral,mental (containing instinctive,intellectual,and spiritual sublevels) and pure spirit or causal.

It has been suggested that the energy levels cannot be considered to have dstinct divisions. In this view,each level interacts with its neighbor, and the development and organization of the physical body are preceded by stimulation of the higher-frequency energy bodies. In other words, the organizational field commences at the pure spirit or causal level, which then creates an organizational matrix at the mental level, which in turn causes the same to happen at the astral level,thence at the etheric level;and finally the organizational matrices manifest in physical form-the human body. An energetic view of the body dramatically differs from a mechanistic view,as it suggest that energetic organization precedes the body ' s physical organization, and not the other way around!

The Qi Energy System

It seems that Qi flow in the body and the meridian or channel networks that carry it operate at the cusp between the physical and the nontangible energetic systems. Thus,as the etheric body is seen to be closest to the physical system,the meridians may be seen as forming what Richard Gerber calls the physical-etheric interface.

The Qi energy of the universe enters throught the etheric energy level, accessing the body through the major and minor acupuncture points and flowing to the cellular structures by way of the energy gradients and the concentrations that we term the meridian sysyem. Thus,when a disharmony appears in the body it has firstly manifested itself at the etheric level. Physical illness comes at the end of a chain of energetic processes.

The Chakra System

The idea of the seven major chakra centers of the body and the mariad of minor chakras has long been postulated within the Indian spiritual traditions. Ancient Indian texts suggest that the chakras are like energy vortices or centers that exist within our subtle energy levels and that directly access the cellular structure of the physical body.Chakras may take on the function of energy transformers, allowing higher-frequency organizational energy fields to function at the relatively lower-frequency levels of the physical body.Each major chakra appears to be associated with a particular gland of the endocrine system giving access to the hormonal flows and changes in the body.

It is suggested that the chakras are connected to each other and that they link through the body by subtle energetic channels called nadis. It is tempting to suggest that chakras and nadis are simply an alternative nomenclature for the meridian system and acupuncture points described in Chinese medicine, but the literature suggests that they function at a more subtle level than the meridian system and may, in effect,complement it.

How might Chinese Medicine work?

The Plant biologist Rupert Sheldrake has introduced the notion of formative morphogenetic fields or energy matrices. An illness can be seen as a blip in such a matrix, and chronic illness occurs if the blip becomes established. This model may help to explain the effects observed in Chinese medicine, which I believe operates firstly at can energetic level. Intervention by acupuncture, herbs and so on, acts firstly on Sheldrake ' s morphogenetic matrix; this then operates at the cusp between the energetic and the physical, and mollecular and cellular changes result.

A simple analogy would be that of a tunning fork. When the fork is struck, it creates a sympathetic reasonance at a certain energetic frequency and when the frequencies are in phase then surprising physical changes may occur, such as the shattering of a glass. The challenge of twenty-first century medicine will be to explore these energetic realms and to give them a status of everyday acceptability. Chinese medicine is pointing our through processes in the right direction here.


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