North Cape Acupuncture
What the heck is Qi anyway?
Qi is an energy, vital substance, or principle theorized by traditional Chinese culture that is believed to reside in all matter. It is sometimes spelled "Ch'i" and in romanized Japanese is spelled "Ki". It is often compared to the concept of "prana" that developed in India. Traditional Chinese Medicine often describes various types of Qi as they relate to biological functions. For example, "Wei Qi" describes one of these types as the vital force in charge of protecting the body from external influences. Overall Qi can be viewed in two distinct ways by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
First, Qi can be viewed as a physical form of energy circulating throughout the body, similar to the flow of blood. Traditional Chinese Medicine often refers to "meridians" or "channels" through which Qi flows. The meridians, or channels, are different from blood vessels because they are not pipe-like structures. Rather, the Qi permeates the body like an ocean of energy, and the meridians are like the currents that circulate through it. Acupuncture points are locations on the body where the meridians, or currents, rise close to the surface of the skin. This offers points where the Qi can be accessed through the use of acupuncture needles and other techniques.
The term Qi can also be used to describe the fundamental principles of underlying biological processes. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi has the functions of movement, transforming, transporting, warming, protecting, and containing. Using the functions that define Qi, practitioners can describe biological processes within the context of TCM. For example the immune system defends the body against the invasion of viruses and bacterium. In the context of TCM, the immune system actions are described in terms of "Wei Qi", or the defensive principle. When a person catches a cold, practitioners view this as the "Wei Qi" being overwhelmed by an invading pathogen, or being insufficient to defend the body against the pathogen.
By applying the two views of Qi to the human organism, acupuncturists are able to assess illness, pain, and disease. Based on the assessment they can develop and implement a course of treatment.