What is Qi?At the core of this ancient medicine is the philosophy that Qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy, flows throughout the body. Qi animates the body and protects it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
How does Qi move?Qi flows through specific pathways called meridians. There are fourteen main meridians inside the body. The diagram to the left shows the meridian pathways in the body. Each of these is connected to specific organs and glands. Meridian pathways are like rivers flowing inside the body. Where a river flows, it transports life-giving water that provides nourishment to the land, plants and people. Similarly, where meridian pathways flow, they bring life-giving Qi that provides nourishment to every cell, organ, gland, tissue and muscle in the body.
How is Qi disrupted?An obstruction to the flow of Qi is like a dam. When Qi becomes backed up in one part of the body, the flow becomes restricted in other parts. This blockage of the flow of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health, cutting off vital nourishment to the body, organs and glands. Physical and emotional trauma, stress, lack of exercise, overexertion, seasonal changes, poor diet, accidents, or excessive activity are among the many things that can influence the quality, quantity and balance of Qi. Normally, when a blockage or imbalance occurs, the body easily bounces back, returning to a state of health and well-being. However, when this disruption is prolonged or excessive, or if the body is in a weakened state, illness, pain, or disease can set in.
Blockage of the flow of Qi can be detrimental to a person’s health and leads to various signs and symptoms or health concerns.
What does an acupuncturist do?During the initial exam a full health history is taken. Questions are asked regarding health, symptoms and lifestyle. An appropriate physical exam is conducted, including pulse and tongue diagnosis. Gathering this information enables the practitioner to effectively diagnose and detect any specific imbalances of Qi that may have contributed to a person’s health problems. The practitioner can then create a well-structured treatment plan. Once the imbalances of Qi are detected, an acupuncturist will place fine, sterile needles at specific acupoints along meridian pathways. This safe and painless insertion of the needles can unblock the obstruction and balance Qi where it has become unbalanced. Once this is done, Qi can freely circulate throughout the body, providing adequate nourishment to cells, organs, glands, tissues and muscles. This can eliminate pain and restore balance and harmony, as well as the body’s ability to heal itself—ultimately leading to optimal health and well-being.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are safe, effective and drug-free therapies that can help address a wide variety of common ailments and problems.