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What is “Qi”?

What is "Qi"?


Qi (氣), often transliterated as chi, is the central concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the keystone underpinning its health philosophy. Translating to ‘vital energy’ in Chinese, Qi describes the life force that flows through our bodies, sustaining our physical and mental health. It functions like a river, streaming along set pathways within our bodies known as meridians.

This detailed system of energy pathways helps move Qi throughout our body, providing energy to all our organs and tissues. Our health depends on the balance of Qi, as it ensures our body functions correctly. This is why it’s essential to understand the meaning of Qi when considering treatments like acupuncture. .

Apart from the twelve meridians, there are also another eight extradentary meridian, which in total all work together to bring Qi flow through the whole body to nourish and also to bring different organs to function together and balance each other to achieve harmony.

Occasionally when Qi flow in the body is stagnated, the natural function of body will be obstructed. This will cause people feel sick or sense pain. Acupuncture work by insert very fine needle into Acupuncture point, points in the body control Qi flow to reopen up the blocked-up energy so the natural flow can be restored. This is the main concept of acupuncture, to unblocked and restore, helping body to restore by itself.

The Twelve Major Meridians


A pivotal aspect of understanding Qi lies in the concept of meridians — an intricate network of channels within the body through which Qi flows. These channels are not physical entities; instead, they represent a coordinated system of energy flow. The meridian system is divided into two types, known as Yang meridians (陽, positive, utter) and Yin meridians (陰, negative, inner).

Yang meridians are associated with a positive and active energy flow, while Yin meridians reflect more passive and internal energy. Together, they form the backbone of a circulating network, continuously flowing to ensure the body functions optimally.

There are twelve standard meridians, each linked to a different organ in the body. This symbiotic relationship between the meridians and the organs forms a map of the body’s energy flow. The twelve meridians create a network for continuous energy flow to keep the body healthy and energetic. 

The Eight Extraordinary Meridians


In addition to the twelve primary meridians, there are also eight extraordinary meridians in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Despite not being linked to the major organ systems, these additional meridians play a crucial role in distributing Qi, or life energy, around the body. 

Altogether, this intricate network of twenty meridians serves as the body’s lifeline, guaranteeing the seamless flow of Qi. The extraordinary meridians are reservoirs that store and dispense Qi when necessary. They work with the twelve main meridians to maintain balance in the body’s energy system.

When functioning at its peak, this sophisticated network ensures that Qi is appropriately nurtured and distributed across the body, enabling various organs to operate in harmony. Additionally, these meridians play a significant role in balancing yin and yang energies, embodying the principles of harmony and equilibrium inherent to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Qi And Acupuncture


Qi is deeply embedded in the functionality of our bodies, and it plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall well-being. Occasional stagnation or disruption of the Qi flow within the body can lead to many health complications. Such stagnation not only hinders the body’s natural functioning but can also manifest in various ailments or discomforts, such as feeling ill or experiencing pain. 

Acupuncture, a cornerstone of Traditional Chinese Medicine, addresses these disruptions by inserting extremely fine needles into specific acupuncture points in the body. These points regulate the Qi flow within the body’s meridian system. When the Qi flow is obstructed, acupuncture works to re-open these blockages, restoring the body’s natural energy flow. 

However, the benefits of acupuncture extend beyond unblocking and restoring energy paths. It also promotes self-healing, allowing the body to recover and naturally rejuvenate. This is deeply rooted in the philosophy of acupuncture, which centres around empowerment — nurturing the body’s innate ability to heal and sustain itself. 

By understanding the profound meaning of Qi in Chinese medicine, we can better appreciate the holistic approach of practices like acupuncture.

To Summarise


Qi is a crucial element in Traditional Chinese Medicine, representing the vital life force flowing through our bodies via meridians. The balance and harmony of Qi are essential to our health. Acupuncture, a fundamental practice in Chinese medicine, regulates the flow of Qi, addressing blockages and promoting self-healing. 

Understanding what Qi is and its network of meridians offers invaluable insight into traditional holistic practices such as acupuncture. This understanding underscores their potential in promoting and maintaining overall wellness. 

At David Lee Acupuncture, we are committed to helping you maintain a harmonious Qi flow. Experience the holistic approach of acupuncture today and harness your body’s innate healing power. Contact us to schedule your appointment. 

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