Qi, pronounced like the “chee” in cheese, is the vital life force energy that animates all life. In the human body, it flows through channels, but cannot be seen or measured. Qi governs the flow of blood, the function of organs, and even our emotional states. In a normal state of health, qi flows smoothly and unimpeded in its channels or meridians. Disease is when qi’s flow is disrupted or out of balance. It can get blocked and build up or become weak and deficient. Although we cannot see, hear, feel or smell qi, we can certainly see the manifestations of it. For instance, qi generates heat, aids in digestion, flushes the skin pink, and protects the body against invaders. The really tricky part about qi is how it interacts with emotions. It can get stuck because of emotions, and conversely, it can get stuck and manifests as emotions.
The term ‘qi’ is used in different contexts. Qi is described as pathological when it’s not flowing appropriately or in the right direction. There are also “types” of qi, which can be described. Important during this time of year (aka flu season) is wei qi, which is defensive qi, protecting us from disease causing agents. Then there is nutritive qi, which is the energy circulating in the channels and around our organs, powering our daily bodily functions.
Not only is qi this biological phenomenon inside our bodies, but it’s also metaphysical. The Chinese also believe that qi connects us to the natural world. It is a frequency or vibration that we can sense if we hone our senses. Each season manifests a different vibrational qi which then interacts with our internal qi. It’s a fascinating concept, which may seem ethereal, but once you’ve felt it, you can never deny its existence.