One of the most known concepts in acupuncture is that of qi, also known as chi, but what is it? When you grow up in the world of western medicine, it can be hard to understand. It’s been around for centuries, and has similar concepts for many people, like ki in the Japanese culture and vital energy in western philosophy.
Put simply, qi is our life-force, and it flows through pathways within our bodies, called meridians. When it flows smoothly, we enjoy good health, but it can be blocked. Sometimes, that happens due to external forces, like infection or poor diet, while in other circumstances, it’s hereditary.
How does qi work?
Like our circulation and digestion, qi is a natural part of how our body functions. Ordinarily, it does its job silently, without our knowledge. It’s always just under the surface, circulating vitality through our lives.
While there’s no one comparative concept in the mainstream Western world, it can be compared to our breathing. When your sinuses are clear, you breathe so easily, you don’t notice it is happening. However, if you catch a cold or have an allergy attack, you start having trouble. Your sinuses are blocked; your head aches and cold medicine companies make money.
The same principle applies to qi. Blockages result in a variety of problems. Instead of giving you medication, your acupuncturist finds those blockages and clears them with fine needles, herbs and other traditional techniques. During and after your session, you will likely be able to feel your qi as it’s influenced. It can feel like warmth, coolness or tingling during treatment.
Qi is another word for life force. Just as in every other corner of health, sometimes it needs help to function properly. Acupuncture is the perfect way to get it flowing smoothly again.