The term Qi expresses the manifestation of all phenomena. As already proven by modern science, light is both wave and particle. In this sense, so is Qi. Qi can manifest in a dense form as matter, or in a dilute form as wave or energy. Qi (or phenomena) is in a constant state of flux in various states of aggregation. The concept of Qi connects all manifestations of reality into unity.

According to Chinese medicine, there are many different “types” of human Qi, ranging from tenuous and rarefied, to the very dense and coarse. All the various types of Qi, however, are ultimately one Qi, merely manifesting in different forms. It is important to see the universality and particularity of Qi simultaneously. On the one hand, there is only one Qi that assumes different forms, but, on the other hand, in practice, it is also important to appreciate the different types of Qi.

Qi changes its form according to its locality and its function. For example, Nutritive Qi is found in the interiorof the body, it is a denser form of Qi and its function is to nourish the bodily tissues, while Defensive Qi which is found on the exterior of the body, it is lighter and protects the body. Derangement of either Defensive or nutritive Qi will give rise to different clinical manifestations and will require different kinds of treatment, although they are nothing but two different manifestations of the same Qi energy.

In Chinese medicine Qi has two major aspects:

  1. Qi is a refined essence produced by the internal organs, which has the function of nourishing the body and mind.
  2. Qi indicates the functional activity of each of the internal organs, meaning the Qi of the organ represents a complex range of functions, responsibilities, dominance and areas of influencethroughout the body.

Various forms of Qi:

  1. Original Qi
  2. Food Qi
  3. Gathering Qi
  4. True Qi
  5. Nutritive Qi
  6. Defensive Qi

Functions of Qi:

  1. Transforming
  2. Transporting
  3. Holding
  4. Raising
  5. Protecting
  6. Warming

Pathology of Qi:

  1. Qi deficient
  2. Qi sinking
  3. Qi stagnant
  4. Qi rebellious


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