What Is Qi? The Elusive Life Force Explained

01/06/2023, Philippa Harvey, TCM specialist, SHA Wellness Clinic

What Is Qi And How Does It Influence The Mind-Body Balance? 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi (pronounced chi) is the vital force that flows through all of nature, giving life and direction to all matter. As Philippa Harvey, TCM specialist at SHA Wellness Clinic, says, “a balanced movement of Qi has the power to strengthen, energise and heal the body, while an excess or deficiency can affect overall health. When Qi is sufficient and well-balanced, we function at our personal best”.

The body has two basic types of Qi: congenital and acquired. The former is the energy we are born with and represents our basic constitution, while the latter depends on our lifestyle, the quality of the food we eat and the air we breathe, our emotional balance and the physical exercise we do.

Qi flows through the body along specific channels, called meridians, which form a structured system, like an electronic circuit. Philippa guides us through this energy road map. “There are 12 main meridian routes, named after the different organs, each of which has its own Qi”, she says. “For example, if we have a heavy or weak digestive system, it means there is an imbalance in the Qi of the stomach. A TCM practitioner will use acupuncture, as well as recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, to rebalance this. Inserting small needles at specific points along the stomach or spleen meridian pathway will help to remove the blockage and get the Qi flowing freely again”.

A man receiving an acupuncture treatment

The Qi Of Food 

Nutrition in Traditional Chinese Medicine does not take into account calories, but rather the nature of the food and the effects it has on the body. Therefore, they are divided into hot, cold and neutral. “A TCM nutritionist focuses on the Qi of food to create a balanced (yin-yang) diet. The energy we get from food as a whole (Ying Qi) is essential for a strong immune system and a healthy body and mind”, Philippa concludes.

The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is only transformed. It is up to us to transform it into a source of healthy life on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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