Qi (pronounced “chee”) is generally thought of as the vital force within our bodies. Qi in its yang form is responsible for the animation of the human form. Qi travels through the 12+ meridians (channels) very much like blood through vessels. Chinese medicine works to ensure that Qi is able to move freely, that it is moving in the correct direction, and that there is an abundant availability of Qi. It is acquired through air, water, and food – especially from quality herbs. Qi corresponds broadly to energy and matter, and every phenomenon in the Universe is a manifestation of Qi. When Qi is condensed it can manifest matter (Yin form) and when it disperses it manifests energy (Yang).
A quote from Chang Cai explains this concept: “Every birth is a condensation and every death is a dispersion. Birth is not again, death is not a loss. When condensed, the energy becomes a living being and when dispersed it is the substratum of mutations.” Qi could be likened to the String Theory of quantum physics as it manifests differently depending on its vibrational quality; to simply say that “Qi is Energy” is a gross over-simplification.
On the physical level, Qi can be seen as our ability to digest and absorb the various energies around us.
The deeper we breathe, the more oxygen we have in our blood, which is the force that brings nutrients to our cells for growth and repair. On another level, Qi can also be seen in how we process food in our stomach and in specialized tonic herbs that are the ‘king of foods for digestion’.
Qi is the source of all movement of the body: ascending, descending, entering, and leaving.
Qi protects the body against external and internal pathological factors.
Qi is the source of production and transformation of blood, tears, sweat, and urine.
Qi governs over the body’s ability to retain substances in proper form such as blood, tissues, fascia, and organs.
Qi warms the body.
18 Types of Qi (Energy)
- Prenatal Qi (Yuan Qi), is often referred to as Original Qi, and includes the Original Yin and Original Yang energies of the body. Yuan Qi has its root in-between the Kidneys and Mingmen.
- Postnatal Qi, is an external energy derived from the consumption of food and drink (from the Earth), and air (from the Heavens), and described the Qi which is cultivated after one is born.
- Heavenly Qi (Tian Qi), is energy that has been developed from the energies of the sun, moon and stars. Tian Qi is absorbed into the Lung Qi as Air Qi (oxygen) through respiration.
- Earthly Qi (Di Qi), is energy that has been developed from the energies of the soil, water and wind. Di Qi is absorbed into the Stomach and Spleen where it’s converted into Gu Qi (food energy).
- Food Qi (Gu Qi), is the first stage of energy transformation derived from food and drink.
- Clear Yang Qi (Qing Qi), is the clean, pure energetic essence of Gu Qi, transported by the Spleen, via the Middle Burner, up towards the Upper Burners, and chest area.
- Turbid Yin Qi (Zhou Qi), is the clouded, impure energetic essence of Gu Qi, transported by the Spleen, via the Middle Burner, down towards the Lower Burner, Small Intestine, and Bladder.
- Center Qi (Zhong Qi), is the energy generated from the Middle Burner, derived from the Spleen and Stomach. Its function is to transport the Gu Qi into the chest, with Heart and Lungs’ Qi,
- Gathering Qi (Zong Qi), is also called Respiratory Qi, Gathering Qi is considered the “essence of life,” manifested through the conversion of the purest and most potent forms of the body’s Jing.
- True Qi (Zhen Qi), is also called Anti-pathogenic Qi, It originates in the Lungs and is the last stage of refinement and transformation of Qi. Gathering Qi and Yuan Qi combine their substances to form the True Qi in the chest area.
- Nourishing Qi (Ying Qi), is another form assumed by the True Qi and has two major functions: to nourish the Blood, organs and tissues, and to link the mind and intention to the body.
- Protective Qi (Wei Qi), It protects the Blood, organs, and tissues from invasion of external pathogenic factors such as: harsh weather, microorganisms, and harmful emotional influences.
- Channel Qi (Jing-Luo Qi), is also called Meridian Qi. This energy flows throughout the body’s deep internal and superficial channels, as well as through the collaterals and blood vessels.
- Organ Qi (Zang and Fu Qi), is the energy of the physiological activity of the body’s internal organs and manifests as a major aspect of its physiological function.
- Evil Qi (Xie Qi), is also called Pathogenic Qi, and Toxic Qi, This usually refers to any harmful external pathogenic factor (especially the Six Climatic factors).
- Righteous Qi (Zheng Qi), is the defensive aspect of True Qi, it protects the body from Evil Qi.
- Spiritual Qi (Ling Qi), is the supernatural energy associated with the most highly refined energy in the human body manifesting through the Eternal Soul.
- Divine Qi (Shangdi Qi), is also called Holy Energy or God’s Healing Light. It is the supernatural energy associated with the Divine (Dao). The divine energy is the true source of spiritual awareness and constitutes the foundation for advanced levels of spiritual healing, as well as
Gather – Imagine a golden ball in your hands with great intention collecting energy from the Tao and the environment;
Ascend – let the golden ball rise to the level of your heart;
Expand – expand this energy in all directions;
Contract – compress the energy and refine the ball;
Flow In – move in toward the ball, rocking slightly forward;
Flow Out – move out away from the ball, rocking slightly backward;
Descend – allow the golden ball to descend, connecting back to earth;
Disperse – allow the energy to disperse back to the Tao, then repeat exercise as you like.
Microcosmic Orbit – gently lead the energy up the spine and down the front. The most simple method is to use the inward breath to draw the chi upwards and the outward breath to allow it to flow downwards like a watercourse flowing down the front of the body.