Update-Dec 2017: A new, more in-depth article on Qi (chi) has been published. Click here to view it.
You may have heard the words "qi" or chi" with regard to acupuncture and alternative medicine. But do you even know how to pronounce it, let alone understand the concept? If you've ever wondered: "What is (qi) chi energy?" then read on. Understanding this important concept will help you better comprehend how Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture work.
Qi or chi — pronounced "chee" — is the energy flow created along the pathways that connect the acupuncture points on the body. The pathways between the points are called meridians, which also connect to internal organs in the body. Using acupuncture needles, pressure or heat to manipulate a point or two separate points on the body can improve a person's qi — which is also thought of as one's life force — and relieve the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, digestive issues, respiratory problems and more. This understanding of the human body comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is thousands of years old. It's a different way of thinking about how the body works than conventional Western medicine.
Chi possesses the following characteristics:
- Oscillations of the meridians
- Carriers of the effect of acupuncture on a pressure point to other parts of the body
Imagine manipulating an acupuncture point, or acupressure point, like strumming a guitar string — plucking one part of it sends vibrations along the length of the string. If plucked with the proper technique, the string will produce a beautiful sound. That's just one way to visualize how chi flows through the body and effects your health.
Why it works
Acupuncture points are physical places on the body where chi energy can be accessed and manipulated. Acupuncture treatment helps the body's natural healing process and also serves a preventive function. Energy imbalances or congested energy flow can create or accentuate pain, or impede the body's natural ability to heal itself. Promoting the unobstructed flow of chi improves health and well-being. Depending on how sensitive a patient is, they may feel the chi as it travels along the meridians during a treatment, others may feel pressure at the acupuncture point and some may feel nothing at all.
Treating different ailments
Qualified acupuncture practitioners know what points to use for treating various medical problems, from pain to anemia to hormonal disorders. Each acupuncture point has certain diseases and conditions associated with it, though sometimes a practitioner will manipulate a combination of points to improve the flow of chi through the pathways and balance a patient's energy flow. Many people use acupuncture in tandem with other treatments as part of a health regimen that addresses the whole person — mind, body and spirit.
For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs you can email our admissions department.