Are you feeling tired all the time, sluggish, or in a low mood? It could be because your Qi is out of balance.
Why is it that you feel whitewashed and lacking in vitality. Daoist theory and Chinese Medicine have a unique way of viewing Energy and Life Force. This is called your Qi, also known as Ch’i.
To understand it we first must understand the concept of Qi (pronounced chee).Qi is the matrix of the Universe, and is like a Life Force. It brings vitality and life to all things. It is the energy that animates us. Unlike the physical body, which is solid, Qi is insubstantial, but can be felt by those who are trained to sense, or highly sensitive individuals.
In traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch’i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates as “air” and figuratively as “material energy”, “life force”, or “energy flow”. Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts
To use an analogy, imagine the human body as a battery. A battery is useless unless it is connected to a device. It is the current that is the Qi.
Primordial Qi and Acquired Qi:
Primordial Qi is created by the Kidneys, and is inherent as part of being in a body, in that it governs the primary force of growth and development. Primordial Qi is innate, as is the part of the blue print of the unfolding life.
It also governs the functional abilities of the other organs in the body such as liver, lungs, spleen etc. So it plays an incredibly important role in the human body.
Acquired Qi is the Qi that is created from the consumption of food, fluids and air. Therefore it is closely associated with the Lungs, Spleen, Stomach and digestion.
We breath in air and it combines with the assimilated nutrients from the digestive system to create Acquired Qi.
The Qi Bank:
Qi is constantly in exchange within us and around us. It must flow, just as a current must flow in order to exist.
The idea of a Qi Bank is that in the constant flow of Qi in and out of the body, we want to ensure that Qi is not going out at a faster rate than coming in. If we drain our Qi resources too much that the acquired Qi is used up, then we start to draw from our Innate Qi or Primordial Qi.
Drawing from our Primordial Qi over a period of time ages us quickly as the energy which is meant to run our body to do its natural functions is now drawn away towards other things.
Increasing Qi Coming In:
We can only really work on increasing the Acquired Qi. Primordial Qi is what was inherited. And because Acquired Qi is a product of the air we breath, and the nutrients from food, then we must look at tuning and refining the Lungs for breath, and the Spleen and Stomach for digestion.
Of course the quality of the food and water is also very important, but if your organ systems are underfunctioning, then it is useless. You could have the best quality food and water, and still not be able to assimilate it into something useful.
Improving your digestive function is very good for the process of boosting your ability to create Acquired Qi, and prevents you from dipping into the emergency reserve. Chinese medicine (like many traditions) talks extensively about using diet to improve assimilation, but your state of mind is also very important. If you approach your meal in a rushed state, with chronic stress, the food is more likely to just sit in the stomach and fail to be digested properly.
Of course there are many herbs that are used as well, but it is best to talk to your health care professional if you require more information. Herbs are usually prescribed based on signs and symptoms, and everyone is unique.
Limiting Qi Exiting:
Whenever we do anything, Qi is used in the process. But we must do things in order to live in this world. The idea of preserving Qi is to use your Qi efficiently, and learning to understand the drains, so we can avoid them where possible.
Here are the culprits:
- Over-doing – Have you got a friend or are you yourself the type of person that always must be doing something. They can not sit still, or be at peace in the room. Maybe, they are addicted to adrenaline, and always doing things for the thrill. Or maybe they are over-working, and getting very little sleep. This kind of behaviour is very taxing to the energy system and depletes qi.
- Emotions – Our thoughts and emotions consume a lot of life force. Emotions are neither good nor bad, and as being a human in this life experience, it is only natural to experience emotion. In fact emotions guide us to understanding who we are and what we need. It is excess indulgence in emotions that drain our vital life force.
- Disease, Toxins, and Pathogens – If you are suffering chronic low grade inflammation, or frequent bouts of illness, then your body is constantly using energy to fight off pathogens. This is a huge drain to your qi bank! Similarly, if you expose your body to toxins, pesticides, dangerous chemicals, drugs and alcohol, then you need to understand that a portion of your energy needs to go to detoxing your system.
The above, gives us a basic idea of how to gauge the health of our Qi Bank.
Qi Gong Building the Qi Life Force is fundamental to the understanding of life for many in Asian countries. As a student completing my degree, I spent 3 months in China, witnessing people young and old diligently practising an art called “Qi Gong” in the park across from my hotel.
The literal translation of “Qi Gong” into English is “Energy Work”. It is a discipline which aims to cultivate and refine Qi in the body. Gentle movements, breath work, and the use of mind to guide Qi are woven together to strengthen the body for physical fitness and spiritual cultivation.