Rich Macgurn

Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist

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What is Qi?

Pronounced Chee. Sometimes spelled Chi.

At the root of Chinese Medicine is the idea of Qi. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is an intangible influence which animates our world. It flows in and through us. When we have qi we are alive. Without qi, we are dead. Most every culture has a name for this “life force.” For example, in Egyptian mythology, a persons ‘ka,’ or ‘life spark’ was blown into them at the moment of birth. Similarly, in the Torah (Old Testament) the Hebrew word

for breath, or wind was used to signify spirit. In the New Testament, the Greek word pneumo was used to signify spirit. Pneumo, the root for words like pneumonia, connotes the breath of the lungs.

A key principle is that qi must stay moving. When qi flow is impaired, pain and disfunction arises. To state it simply, the goal of acupuncture is to diagnose and adjust imbalances in qi. From this simple principle is built a vast and complex medicine. Many thousands of books have been written about Qi. For now I will keep this short.

ancient scroll depicting exercises for cultivating and balancing Qi

ancient scroll depicts exercises for cultivating & balancing Qi