Understanding the Fundamentals of Chi


The ideology of Chi originated in ancient China. It is also adopted in some Asian countries such as Japan and called “ki” while in Korea it is referred to as “gi”. The spelling of the word may differ from one culture to another but the meaning stays the same. Chi is referred to the flow of energy which pertains to all living things such as trees, plants, humans and animals. Relatively synonymous to ‘life force’ is the ultimate principle being carried out in ancient Chinese traditional medicine and in Martial Arts. Another interpretation of the word “qi” or “chi” is breath or air which is the literal meaning of the word.

An Introduction to Chi

The original fundamentals of chi came from China with evidence of its existence in ancient writings that promulgated in the 5th century BC and very much associated with the Chinese religion Taoism. Although there are no evidences of this concept in Western cultures but in Hindu it is otherwise known as ‘prana’ which is a translation of life force in ancient Sanskrit while the Hawaiian counterpart is called ‘mana’. In Japan it is known as ‘ki’, and the Hebrew refer to it as ‘chai’.

The main concept of chi has been an issue of debate in its philosophical aspect in China since there are several interpretations for this. Taoists and Buddhism practitioners in China believed that all things come from chi, while others presented a contradicting idea that chi hails from any physical matter and others thought of it as separate entity from the physical world.

The Ideals of Chi

The concept of chi is that it is the basic component of all things that exists. Chi provides energy or power similar to a fresh breath of air which is considered as life in all living things. Qi or chi is the main reason of existence of human life and a proponent that dictates the quality of health of the human body. It is believed that there is a healthy balance of chi in every one of us and health is determined by harmonious flow of chi. It is important not only for physical health but of one’s mental faculty as well. Chi is the life force energy known as the joy of being alive or the breath of life.

The Secret of Chi

Through the ancient Chinese writings about chi it clearly stated that “steam rising from rice as it cooks” is very similar to this concept. Steamed rice is the main staple food in China and the perfect mix of water which is considered as “yin” and fire which is “yang” are the key components to cook the rice grains. This thought shows the secret of the philosophy of chi wherein it requires the exact balance of yin and yang as a representation of nourishment for longevity. Some believe Chi stands for oxygen because of the steam rising, which best describes how chi feels in the body as motion or the feeling of floating.

Maintaining a Perfect Chi Balance

Chi as revered by the Chinese connotes a healthy lifestyle both on the psychological and physical aspects and can be enhanced through the practice of ancient Chinese breath control exercises called Tai’-Chi and also through acupuncture and soothing massage. Almost all techniques involved in Chinese medical practices are solely based on the ideals of Chi. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that improving one’s chi or qi connotes overall energy and good health for any individual.

Chi and the Human Body

In traditional Chinese medicine it is assumed that the human body has chi that circulates all throughout the system in a flowing pattern. Such chi flow patterns are regarded as meridians. It is believed that the meridians are accessible through the connective tissue underneath the skin which is called fascia. Having an unbalanced chi flowing in the body will result in various health problems and illnesses which can also affect the psychological condition of a person. Any imbalance in the body’s chi could also affect the organs making the body susceptible to diseases and systemic disorders. Acupuncturists use needles to help unblock the trapped flow of chi energy that can cause pain and create ailments.

In order to have good health and longevity the act of balancing the chi in the body through traditional Chinese medicinal approach and other practices will help solve the imbalances. There are many techniques that offer assistance in maintaining chi. Such as Qi Gong, Tai Chi, herbal remedies, acupressure, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and meditation.

QI Gong, Tai Chi and other martial arts are now accepted world wide as beneficial for healing and well being. These ancient arts combine moving, breathing and mental awakening to align and balance our bodies and mind. It takes Qi Gong masters years of practicing specific movements to feel the energy flow of chi. I personally use a Chi Machine daily for these very reasons, to keep the energy flow within my body balanced and allowing me to feel the Qi Gong's flow of chi.

Written by Mara Gerke, CA, CNHP, All Rights Reserved.

Resources: http://www.internalgardens.com/oriental-culture-has-has-concept-of-qi-chi-or-ki-energy-for-thousands-of-years-but-qi