Chinese Medicine Concepts

TCM Theory of Qi
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TCM Theory of Qi

TCM Theory of Qi. In Chinese medicine, Qi, Blood, and Body Fluids are the basic component of the body, and maintains the life activities of the human body. They compliment each other and have a mutual causality in many aspects, such as physiology and pathology.

The concept of Qi is based on the ancient Chinese initial understanding of natural phenomena. That is, Qi is the most basic substance of which the world is comprised. Everything in the universe results from the movements and changes of Qi.

The concept was introduced into Chinese medicine, and became one of its primary characteristics. This refers to the vital substances comprising the human body and maintaining its life activities, such as breathing, and nutrients, and so on.

Qi has two sources.  One is a congenital essence inherited from one’s parents before birth.

The other is the acquired essence received from fresh air, water, and food in the natural world.

Qi is formed as follows. The congenital essence comes out from the kidney and goes up to the middle jiao, where it combines with the food Essence coming from the Spleen. And continues upward until it combines with the fresh air inhaled by the Lung. Finally it turns into Qi.

Qi is a kind of essence full of vitality. It can help activate the growth and development of the human body, promoting the physiological functions of each Zang-fu organs, channels, collaterals, and tissues, and speeding up the formation and circulation of Blood, as well as the metabolism of Body Fluids.

Qi is the main source of Heat needed by the human body. The body maintains its constant temperature mainly through the warming action of Qi. The defending action of Qi acts as a guard against external pathogen at the surface of the skin.

If invasion beyond the skin happens, Qi also acts to combat the external pathogen. Qi has the ability to command, control, and consolidate liquid substances and organs in the abdominal cavity.

This is shown in the following aspects. Keeping the blood flowing within the vessels in order to prevent it from stopping or leaking out. Controlling and regulating the secretion and excretion of Body Fluids. Holding the internal organs at the normal positions so as to prevent prolapse.

Different types of Qi move in different ways. Theoretically, we can put them into four basic categories: ascending, descending, exiting, and entering. These movements of Qi are vital to life. Once they stop, life comes to an end. In Chinese medicine, physiological state in which the four basic movements of Qi are coordinated and balanced, and it’s called “a harmonious functional activities of Qi”.

When they are uncoordinated and unbalanced, then it is called “disharmonious functional activities of Qi”. The manifestations can be expressed as Qi stagnation, Qi counter-flow syndrome, and sinking of Qi.

 

Citation: Chinese University of Hong Kong

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