Qi 101: The basics behind our vital energy

Qi 101: The basics behind our vital energy

As an Acupuncturist, I work with Qi (pronounced “chee”).  Many health conditions are related to Qi pathologies like a deficiency, excess and stagnation.  I imagine all this sounds like jargon to most people.  So let’s break it down:

What is Qi?

Qi is life-force, energy, the capacity for all movement in the body – whether walking, pumping blood, or moving food through the digestive track.  Conceptually, Qi can be likened to western medicine concepts like metabolism and ATP/ADP synthesis.  ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is a type of molecule in our bodies that transports chemical energy within cells. When the bonds in the molecule break, changing it from ATP to ADP (adenosine diphosphate), it releases the energy our cells need to perform their required tasks.

How does it work?

Qi flows through a system of channels that run up and down the body called Meridians.  This Qi flow follows a very particular pattern.  In addition to systemic Qi that moves throughout the body, there are specific forms of Qi related to organ systems, such as Spleen and Stomach Qi that aid digestion.

Where does it come from?

We make Qi from the food that we eat, the air that we breathe and movement, such as walking.

How does Acupuncture treats Qi?

Acupuncture can help promote healing and reduce pain by moving stuck Qi, dispersing Qi that’s in the wrong place, and strengthening and tonifying deficiencies.  All pain has a component of Qi stagnation.  Lethargy, fatigue, exhaustion, low energy usually has some deficiency.  In treatment planning, we may use dispersing points when stagnation is present to reduce pain.  When there is a deficiency, points that promote vitality may be used to help with fatigue or exhaustion.

When working with patients, I do an extensive intake to fully understand each person and then determine how best to work with Qi to treat the root cause of their imbalance.

To learn more about the Acupuncture process and our phases of care, check out the Your Visit page.