- (1) Qi is the essential substance of the human body
- (2) Qi maintains the body’s vital activity and various functions
- (3) Mental activity, a higher vital function of the intangible body, relies on Qi circulation; sensing, thinking, and feeling are also vital activities of the human body, all of which consume more vital Qi
Qi is described as the basic element of human vital energy in classic Chinese literature. The underlying theory of TCM is fully based on balancing Qi according to the theory of Yin–Yang, and five elements. Medical application of Qi for health and healing consists of internal and external Qi. Internal Qi refers to Qi inside the human body, and external Qi refers to Qi projected outside the human body by a highly talented/trained practitioner.
Human beings are both the accumulation of Qi and the product of intercourse between Heaven and Earth. Man is a natural product of the interaction between Yin-Qi and Yang-Qi. As one Chinese philosopher stated, “When Qi is concentrated, a solid object will be produced; when the Qi of an object is dispersed, the object becomes Wind and disappears.”3,5 So, Qi is the primary material which makes up the human body.
Essential Qi is the root of life: It is the innate vital substance inherited from one’s parents before birth. The combination of Essence Qi and Universe Qi forms the human body with vital functions.
Qi promotes the vital functions of the body, a part of which is the continuous absorption of substances from sunlight, air, food, etc. The human body must exchange substances with nature and maintain its vital activity.
The essential Qi of the Zang– and Fu-viscera forms a Qi circulation system along with the meridians and spaces or gaps in the body, which supports such bodily activities as oxygen with Blood circulation, food and water processing. The circulation and processing constantly consume essential Qi and produce waste. Human beings not only have a solid, tangible body of flesh and bone, but also an intangible Spirit body with Qi circulation, which regulates the tangible body’s functions and activities. Usually, the two bodies work in harmony and function together during a person’s lifetime.
(3) Mental activity, a higher vital function of the intangible body, relies on Qi circulation; sensing, thinking, and feeling are also vital activities of the human body, all of which consume more vital Qi
Essential Qi (mainly from the five Zang-viscera) is the material basis for spiritual and emotional activities. The Spirit, the root of vital activity, animates and controls the solid body. The Spirit and mind still can have a great influence on Qi circulation. The external Qi from the mercy Heart of practitioners can help the patient to release the stagnation of circulation.
In its myriad states of material, energy, and information, Qi is the refined vital substance and the material basis for the vital activity of the human body. Human life is absolutely dependent upon this Qi.