Traditional Chinese Medicine is garnering more and more interest in North America as people lose patience with mainstream medicine. After all, the system in China has been around for thousands of years. So perhaps it does at least deserve a look. In fact, Doctors Health Press has an entire newsletter devoted to it.
In order to understand how Chinese medicine works, one key principle must be looked at. It is called Qi (pronounced “chee”). It, along with yin and yang, is the central idea behind this ancient system of medicine. Qi is the energy that courses through our bodies. But whatever quick description — “energy” or “life force” — that we could give it here would not do justice to the power of Qi. In fact, no English words are effective enough to capture the importance and immensity of Qi.
The energy of life is not only in our bodies, but also everywhere in the universe. Everything around us is composed of Qi, which is part of both matter and energy. Qi’s presence in our environment and inside our bodies is just one piece of evidence in how the Chinese believe our bodies are closely linked to our Earth.
Qi gives vitality to people and objects as well. If a watermelon is high in Qi, it will taste better and impart that health into the person who eats it. A healthy Qi means that your body is free of blockages, your organs are functioning properly, your mind is alert and everything is essentially all clear. Qi is your energy that directs the flow of blood , most notably, and it has specific roles that include:
- Warming the body, maintaining temperature
- Triggering all movements that you control and that are
deep inside you
- Protecting the body from external problems and disease-
- Keeping all systems running smoothly and organs
- Maintaining the body’s structure, holding organs, vessels
and tissues in their correct spots
- Defining your personality
We continually receive the flow of Qi through food, air, and our own kidneys, which produce it. An interesting aspect of Chinese medicine is that most diseases can be traced back to a single cause: a flow of Qi that is not in harmony with the body. Stagnant Qi is believed to cause serious problems, such as viral illnesses and cancer.
Sinking Qi over time will make the body lose its structural function. Deficient Qi causes many problems, including colds, flu and other infections. Rebellious Qi can result in minor conditions, such as acid reflux, hiccups, nausea, and vomiting.
It may be hard to believe that Qi exists, as it is not measurable. The Chinese certainly do, and aim to reestablish a healthy flow of Qi using exercise, acupuncture, herbs and meditation. Should you try acupuncture, you’ll probably notice a sensation that you’ve never felt before. It makes even the most cynical person believe that Qi really does exist.