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  • Alisa Wong

What the Qi?!

Updated: May 4, 2020


What Is Qi?

You hear Chinese medicine practitioners talk about it all the time but what the heck is it really? Ancient Chinese describes Qi is the most fundamental substance that is essential for the human body, allowing the body, organs, and its systems to function on a daily basis.


I like to compare Qi to oxygen. Oxygen and Qi physically can’t be seen but they are needed in order to exist. Both enters and exits the body giving us liveliness. In some instances, oxygen can be blocked or insufficient like when we are choking on a piece of food or in higher altitudes this can also happen with Qi.


Qi is the life force energy that drives the body to function and when we are not feeling well it is because there has been a change in how your Qi is free flowing throughout your body by having insufficient or blocked Qi. This free flow change can manifest in minor issues such as body pain, stomach issues, headache, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, stress, constipation, diarrhea, or more serious issues like coronary artery disease, diabetes and hypertension to say the least.

Where do we get Qi from?

In general, we get Qi from two different places. We get Qi at the time of conception (congenital Qi) and once we are born Qi is acquired from foods we eat, water we drink, and air we breathe (acquired Qi).


Congenital Qi is given to us from our parents at the time of conception. A person’s body and health constitution are dependent on the quality of Qi their parents had when conceiving them. So, if mom and dad had poor health at the time of conceiving their child it is possible for that child to have more health issues compared to parents who were in better health.


After we are born, we sustain and replenish our Qi through acquired Qi from food, water and air. The quality of acquired Qi we intake can also dictate the quality of our health. If we eat unhealthy foods, drink sugary beverages and rarely get exercise over time we would possible be obese, have diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol. A healthy lifestyle is not only important in preserving the health we obtained from our parents but also for our future children.

Functions of Qi

1. It helps in the formation and transformation within the body like taking the foods we eat and turning it into energy for our body to use.

2. Defends the body from outside pathogens preventing us from getting the flu or skin infections when we get a cut.

3. It holds organs in place, keeps blood in the vessels and removes unnecessary waste.

4. It is the foundation of all growth and movement of the body

5. It helps to sustain homeostasis and provides warmth to the body.

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