|What are the types and functions of Qi?
We begin with Original Qi (Yuan Qi),also known as Prenatal or Before Heaven Qi, which is inherited from our parents at conception.
This is augmented by Postnatal or After Heaven Qi, which is derived from the Qi in the world we live in. There are two main sources of Postnatal Qi: food and air.
Gu Qi is derived from the food we eat,and the main organ associated with this process is the Spleen. Kong Qi is derived from the air that we breathe, and the main organ associated with this process is the lung.
Gu Qi and Kong Qi mix togehter to form Gathering Qi (Zong Qi), sometimes known as Qi of the Chest.
Finally, the Zong Qi is catalyzed by the action of the Yuan Qi to form Normal or Upright Qi (Zheng Qi), which becomes the Qi that circulates through the channels and organs of the body. Since Zheng Qi flows around the body,several functions are based on it, as we now see.
Zheng Qi forms the basis of Nutritive Qi (Ying Qi),which id essential in the process of nourishing all the tissues of the body. It also forms the basis of Defensive Qi (Wei Qi), which circulates on the outside of the body and protects it from the external factors that might give rise to disharmony and illness.
When the Zheng Qi flows through each of the various internal organs of the body,the Qi functions with respect to the characteristics of that organ. Thus, for example, the activity of Liver Qi will be different from that of Lung Qi,but they are both manifestations of Zheng Qi. This is called Organ Qi (Zangfu Zhi Qi).
Similarly, when Zheng Qi flows through the channels or meridians of the body it is called Meridian Qi (Jing Luo Zhi Qi).
|Five Functions of Qi
1.Source of body activity and movement
Every aspect of movement in the body,both voluntary and involuntary, is a manifestation of the flow of Qi. Qi is constantly ascending, descending,entering,and leaving the body,and health and well-being are dependent on this continuous dynamic activity.
2. Warming the body
The maintenance of normal body temperature is a function of the warming action of Qi.
3.Source of protection for the body
Wei Qi is responsible for protecting the body from invasion by external environmental factors such as Cold,Heat,Damp,and other pathogenic factors that may cause illness.
4. Source of transformation in the body
The action of Qi in the body is crucial in transforming food and air into other vital substances, such as Qi itself,Blood, and Body Fluids.
5.Governing retention and containment
Healthy and strong Qi is vital in holding the various organs, vessels,and tissues of the body in their correct place,hence facilitating their correct functioning. This would be analogous to the manner in which the correct pressure is needed in a tire to bind it to the wheel and to facilitate the movement of the vehicle.
|Problems with Qi:
1.Deficient Qi (Qi Xu)
In this instance there will be insufficient Qi to carry out adequately the various functions. thus,for example,in older people a deficiency of Qi resulting from aging can lead to chronic cold because the Qi is not performing its warming function adequately.
2.Sinking Qi (Qi Xian)
If the Qi is very deficient then it may no longer adequately perform its holding function and it may sink. This is most obviously seen in conditions such as organ prolapse.
3. Stagnant Qi (Qi Zhi)
If normal Qi flow is impaired for any reason,this can lead to sluggish flow or blockages.A single bump on the arm will cause localized swelling and pain because of the stagnation of Qi in the meridians. Stagnation can also affect internal organs, leading to more serious disharmonies.
4. Rebellious Qi (Qi Ni)
In this instance, the Qi flows in the wrong direction.For example, Stomach Qi is characteristically considered to flow downward, carrying food to the intestines. If the Stomach Qi rebels, it will move upward,leading to problems such as hiccups,nausea,and, in extreme cases,vomiting.
|Much has been written about energy fields. It is suggested that the physical body is merely the densest level of energetic matter that exists within a frequency range that makes it both tangible and visible. There are other levels of energetic matter surrounding the physical with increasingly subtle frequency distributions. The various levels that are believed to exist are: physical,etheric,astral,mental (containing instinctive,intellectual,and spiritual sublevels) and pure spirit or causal.It has been suggested that the energy levels cannot be considered to have dstinct divisions. In this view,each level interacts with its neighbor, and the development and organization of the physical body are preceded by stimulation of the higher-frequency energy bodies. In other words, the organizational field commences at the pure spirit or causal level, which then creates an organizational matrix at the mental level, which in turn causes the same to happen at the astral level,thence at the etheric level;and finally the organizational matrices manifest in physical form-the human body. An energetic view of the body dramatically differs from a mechanistic view,as it suggest that energetic organization precedes the body ‘ s physical organization, and not the other way around!|
|It seems that Qi flow in the body and the meridian or channel networks that carry it operate at the cusp between the physical and the nontangible energetic systems. Thus,as the etheric body is seen to be closest to the physical system,the meridians may be seen as forming what Richard Gerber calls the physical-etheric interface.The Qi energy of the universe enters throught the etheric energy level, accessing the body through the major and minor acupuncture points and flowing to the cellular structures by way of the energy gradients and the concentrations that we term the meridian sysyem. Thus,when a disharmony appears in the body it has firstly manifested itself at the etheric level. Physical illness comes at the end of a chain of energetic processes.|
|It is thought there are two ways in which blood is produced for use throughout the body.As will be seen, in Chinese medicine, the Spleen, Stomach, Lungs, Heart, and Kidneys all have important roles to play in the development of blood.1.Transformation of blood
Food and Drink are transformed into Blood, starting with the Spleen. The Spleen extracts Gu Qi from the food ingested into the Stomach and this is sent upward to the chest area. The Lung Qi begins the process of transformation into blood, and the Gu Qi is then sent from the lungs to the Heart where the Yuan Qi and Jing facilitates the further transformation into Blood.
2. The action of marrow
Marrow is also involved in the process of the production of blood. In this instance, the Jing that is stored in the Kidneys produces Marrow. This is turn produces Bone Marrow, which further contributes to the manufacture of blood.
|It is thought there are three main functions of Blood in the body.1.Nourishing the bodyProbably the most important function of Blood is that by continuously circulating throughout the body it carries nourishment with it to all the organs, muscles, tendons, and so on. Remember that in Chinese medicine, blood is seen as an aspect of Qi and as such it helps carry the nutritive aspects of Qi.
2.Moistening the body
Being a fluid, blood has an important role in moistening and lubricating throughout the body.
3.Aiding the mind (Shen)
Chinese medicine sees the blood as helping to anchor the mind, allowing for the development of clear and stable through processes. When an individual is blood-deficient, there can be a tendency toward irritability and anxiety because the blood is not adequately anchoring the mind.
|Blood has important relationships with all the Yin organs (zang) of the body. This will be discussed in greater detail when we look at the function of the various organs.It is, however, worth saying a little more about the intimate interdependency between the Blood and Qi. Blood is an aspect of Qi. Qi can be considered Yang with respect to blood since it is more ethereal; and ,by implication, blood is considered Yin with respect to Qi since it is more tangible. This close relationship can be seen in the following ways.
*Qi produces blood.*Qi moves blood around the body.
*Qi holds the blood in the blood vessels.
*Blood nourishes Qi.
The Chinese sum up this close relationship between Qi and Blood by stating that
Qi is the commander of blood, and blood is the mother of Qi.
|Three main types of blood disharmonies are thought to exist.1. Deficient Blood (Xue xu)If blood is deficient, this is usually connected with the Spleen ‘ s ability to move Gu Qi for blood production. Typically, this can lead to pale complexion, dry skin, and dizziness on occasions.
2. Stagnant Blood (Xue Yu)
If Qi is weak or stagnant, it may fail to move the blood adequately, thus leading to stagnation of blood. Typically, this will lead to attacks of sharp and often intense pain. There may also be the development of tumors.
3.Heat in the Blood
This usually results from internal heat generated by the disharmony of another organ-usually the liver. Heat in the blood can lead to skin conditions and mental/emotional problems, among many other disharmonies.