Loosely defined, qi (chi, ki) is air, breath, blood-breath energy, vital energy or life energy. It is the vital life force. This energy is said to circulate with the Blood within the human body continuously and ceaselessly. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are 14 major meridians or channels of qi that flow in the body. Each energy is said to flow in a specified direction. If the energy is strong, balanced, unobstructed and flows in the proper direction, the person enjoys good physical, mental & emotional health. If the energy is weak, unbalanced, constricted or blocked, or flows in the wrong direction, characteristic pains and sicknesses result in the mind, body & spirit.
TCM was developed 3000 years ago when there were no CAT Scans, X-rays, or blood chemistry work-ups. The physicians of the time relied on the power of observation of the energies of both Nature and Man. The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West; water flows from the mountains to the oceans. Man is awake in the day and asleep at night. They reasoned if there was cough, the Lung energy was going upward instead of its natural downward direction. Nausea and vomiting were signs the Stomach energy was going up instead of down. If there was constipation, the Large Intestine energy was not going downward as it should. Pain in a muscle or joint indicated a stagnation of energy flow.
The ancient physicians observed many pathologies and catalogued them into an entire system of medicine able to encompass even the most stubborn illnesses of today. With these diagnosis’s, came treatment principles to rebalance and stimulate the body’s energy. There are four main branches of Oriental Medicine; 1- Diet/Herbs, 2- Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 3- Qi Gong and Tai Chi, 4- Tui-Na. Diet and Herbs add material substance to the body to rebalance the Qi from the inside; Acupuncture uses needles (inserted and non-inserted), Moxibustion uses heat, Magnets use north and south poles, Cupping uses suction to stimulate the meridians from the outside; Qi Gong and Tai Chi use the body’s own energy to rebalance from the inside; and Tui-Na uses physical manipulation to rebalance the Qi. These various therapies can each be used as a separate system of treatment or done in combinations with each other.