Tag: qi

The Three Treasures; Jing, Qi, Shen

The calligraphy above depicts the Three Treasures: Jing, Qi, Shen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the preservation, protection and nourishment of the Three Treasures form the foundation of optimum health and spiritual well being.

The Basics:

Jing means Essence
Qi basically translates as Vital Energy
Shen means Spirit

The Details:

Jing – Essence
Jing is the source of life, health and longevity. We all are born with Jing Essence, which is stored in the Kidneys and which fuels all other energies. As we age, we naturally deplete our Jing essence; but chronic stress, illness and imbalance will exhaust our Jing faster than we can replenish it through foods and herbs. We must nourish Jing daily with acquired nutritive energy derived from healthy foods, water, meditation, exercise and Chinese herbs. To preserve and protect our Jing from depletion, we must avoid drug and alcohol abuse, bulimia or anorexia, excessive exercise and excessive sexual activities. The latter is especially important for men. Most healthy women don’t have to worry so much about losing essence through sexual activity. For all women it is more important to preserve blood. Chinese medicine tells us that Blood and Jing Essence share the same source. Blood preservation is especially important for a woman because when she loses blood, she loses Jing. The wisdom of a woman’s body initiates menopause as a way to preserve blood and essence for a longer healthier life. Women who experience very heavy menstrual periods or whose periods are absent may experience an Essence vacuity and require acupuncture and herbal treatment to regain healthy balance.

Qi – Vital Energy
In English, Qi roughly translates as vital energy, but its full meaning is as vast as the universe. The calligraphy of the Chinese word Qi depicts rice steaming, meaning that Qi is invisible like steam but also as substantial as rice. This energy is not an ethereal philosophical concept; Qi is palpable, movable, dynamic, storable, fluid and sustentative. It makes and defines everything about us, in us and around us. We are all made of Qi. Plants, herbs, insects and animals are made of Qi. The air we breathe is Qi. The energy we get from exercise is Qi. Acute or chronic illness, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles and excessive exercise or sleep will deplete Qi. Breathing exercises and healthy eating habits replenish Qi. Kung Fu practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and other healing exercises that generate, move and store Qi. To nourish our Qi we must live a balanced lifestyle, eat well, breath, exercise and preserve our energy by avoiding types of situations and people that drain our energy.

Shen – Spirit
Chinese medicine views the Spirit as an integral part of our life and our physical wellbeing. Therefore Qi, Jing and Spirit cultivation is essential for health maintenance. The definition of spirituality is uniquely individual because different spiritual practices work for different people. Though the process of Spirit cultivation is dynamic and ever changing, most spiritual practices call for mindful living, intentionally based on right thinking and right action. In addition, certain herbs and tonics can help enhance and develop Shen energy. Buddhist teacher and writer Llama Surya Das imparts these words of wisdom, “Living spirituality and its religions are not monuments or mausoleums, but ARE more akin to rivers, which need and want to keep flowing and inexhaustibly replenishing themselves, outflowing anew while returning to the source, endlessly recycling and revitalizing themselves. Not static but ecstatic — a living river of Dharma, of truth and love, of genuine spirit.” When we nourish our Spirit, we cultivate truth, authenticity and compassion for ourselves and others in our daily lives, the result of which is energetic balance and mental clarity.

 

Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square EAST, Suite 615N
New York, NY 10003
(646) 504.2251

 

What is Qi?

Qi

What is Qi?

Is Qi energy? Those who are fatigued, or always tired, will be particularly interested in Chinese Medicine’s views on qi.

This is one of the most common questions Americans ask about Chinese Medicine, and not an easy one to answer. Qi (pronounced “chee” and sometimes spelled ‘chi’) is possibly the most essential and the most controversial aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Biomedicine often feels it can quite easily dismiss parts or all of TCM by maintaining that modern science cannot verify the existence of qi. The false idea that qi is an ‘energy’ like electricity has worsened this controversy.

Is Qi Energy?

Some TCM practitioners say qi is ‘energy.’ This is not too bad of an explanation. But don’t go away thinking we believe there are electrical circuits running through your body! Some scholars (D.E. Kendall, and Paul Unschuld) maintain that the idea of qi as ‘energy’ was a mistranslation from the Chinese.

Then What is It?

In terms of basic TCM ontology (“what exists”), Qi is one of the four basic constituents of the body:

Yin Blood Qi Yang
< — Substance Function — >
< — Cold Hot — >

Consider this convenient car-engine analogy: Yin is water from the radiator to cool the engine, blood is oil, qi is the force that moves the pistons, and the engine can be said to be in a yang state when operating. Perhaps the explosion itself is yang, while the force of the explosion is qi. We can also say that the gas contains a qi that has yet to be utilized.

(In the actual chinese character for the word, qi is the steam rising from a cooking pot of rice. I hope that explanation made sense to ancient Chinese, because it doesn’t make much to me! To be fair to the ancient chinese, we can think of the steam coming from the rice as being less substantial, more yang than the rice itself, but still…)

What Happens Without Qi?

Another way to understand things is by their absence (darkness is defined as the absence of light). Without sufficient qi,

  • your digestive system cannot break down food or transport nutrients to the rest of your body
  • you become easily fatigued and are always tired
  • you lose your appetite
  • your limbs are heavy
  • you might wake up frequently at night because you need to urinate
  • academic/organizing thought is difficult or impossible
  • everything is overwhelming (you cannot ‘digest’ what is going on)
  • you tend to worry (the emotional component – TCM is a holistic medicine that does not separate body and mind)

How Do I Get More Qi?

  • The proper diet goes a long way. TCM dietary principles are too complex to cover here (I must say though that it is surprising to many patients, perhaps because vegetarianism is thought to be synonymous with alternative medicine, that TCM advocates eating meat and mostly cooked foods).
  • Herbs that increase the qi include ginseng, and codonopsis.
  • Avoid activities that drain the qi – Be sensible about your energy expenditure by living a balanced life; don’t be too sedentary or too active. If you are a couch potato, your qi can’t flow without exercise. If you are a type-A personality, relax and don’t use yourself up too early in life – you may live to regret it!
by Brian B. Carter, MS, LAc. Reprinted with permission by the author
Juliette Aiyana, L.Ac., Herbalist, Author, Creator of HealthyStuffU.com
Aiyana Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
32 Union Square East, Suite 615N
New York, NY 10003
(646) 504.2251