Qi (subtle life energy) is a fundamental part of Chinese philosophy and refers to an invisible or immaterial life force or subtle energy that is generative and animates and encompasses everything.
In Chinese medicine abundant health was seen as a result of a harmonious and balanced free flow of Qi throughout the body.
Acupuncture works with qi. An acupuncturist diagnoses imbalance in the flow of qi through out the human body and works to re-establish equilibrium and free-flowing qi in order to bring about renewed balance and health.
Qi is the motivating force that warms, and helps the nourishing and cleansing functions within the body. Weak, stagnant or blocked qi can lead to disease. An example of strong vibrant qi can be seen in young people, the glow of a youthful complexion and the supple movement of body and mind.
When qi is abundant and strong we have health, when it is weak we may become ill. As we become older qi dissipates and life fades and withers away.
The ancient Chinese understood the Yin and Yang principle, “shadow and light.” Seen as two opposite, but interconnected and complementary forces, the dynamic force and interchange between these two polarities, is said to “act within the universe and give creation to all things”.
The inner teachings of Taoism have been used for thousand of years to develop ways of cultivating internal qi energy for health and longevity.
The classic 6th century Chinese text attributed to Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching, emphasises that to become one with the life enriching energy of the Tao, is to attain health and long life.
The 'Tao or 'Dao' means the 'the way' or 'path' and to know the Tao is to live in harmony with nature and so, with the heavens and the universe. the internal universe of the body follows the same laws that govern nature. When nature follows the way of the Tao all living things are nourished and renewed. When we cultivate qi in our bodies and lives, we connect to the wisdom of the primal nature of energy.
Practices such as Tai-ji or Qi-gong are used to activate the circulation and cultivation of Qi for self healing and long life..
Qi Gong is a mind/body practice, used to promote and balance qi. A mindful, connection and direct experience of the flow of qi energy is practised to strengthen the body, calm the mind and increase self awareness, by integrating posture, movement, and intention, this dynamic process of interaction and response, as the transformation and movement of qi manifests through out the body/mind is deeply healing.
Tao Te Ching
Stephen Mitchell. (1988). tao te ching. Available: http://www.duhtao.com/translations.html. Last accessed 16th November 2012.