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I. Definition

A. Broad: Basic substance constituting the universe. Everything in the universe is a result of the
movement and change of Qi

• Earth = Yin Qi = land and water
• Heavens = Yang Qi = sky and air
• Qi is material, but in a non-material form
• Energy and function
• Vapor, gas, and steam
• Usually relatively invisible, i.e. water is more visible (more yin) than steam (more yang)
• Blood and body fluid are qi = Yin Qi
• Body function is qi = Yang qi

B. Narrow: Human body’s qi

• Pre-natal qi from parents
• Post-natal qi from food and drink

C. In TCM: Refined substance produced by internal organs which has the function of nourishing
the body and the mind. Also, the function of internal organs. Material, in a non-material form.

II. Types of Qi

A. Original Qi = Yuan Qi

• Formation: Transformed from Kidney Essence; relies on nourishment from post-natal qi
• Location: Rooted in Kidney, pours into San Jiao
• Function
• motive force to life. Stimulates and promotes all internal organ
• functioning
• stimulates Kidney
• tonify Yuan primary points to tonify Yuan Qi
• Deficiency symptoms: fatigue, cold, inactive, quiet, body aches, Chronic Fatigue

B. Gathering Qi = Zong Qi

• Formation: Air + Food (Gu) Qi
• Location: Formed in chest; circulated by Heart to whole body
• Function: Nourish Heart and Lung; promote and enhance Lung and Heart functions

C. True Qi = Zhen Qi

• Formation: Zong Qi transformed into Zhen Qi. Yuan Qi stimulates this
• transformation
• Location: Stays in meridians; formed and circulated in meridians
• Function: Transforms into Ying Qi and Wei Qi as needed.

D. Nutritive Qi = Ying Qi

• Formation: True (Zhen) Qi transforms into Ying Qi in the channels
• Location: Meridians, channels and blood vessels
• Function: Nutrition; nourishes internal organs and whole body

E. Defensive Qi = Wei Qi

• Formation: True (Zhen) Qi transforms into Wei Qi in the channels.
• Location: Between the skin and the muscle; flows on the outer layers of the body surface.
• Function:
• protects body from external invasion
• controls opening and closing of pores
• warms the body; regulates temperature by opening and closing the pores
• Deficiency symptoms: spontaneous sweating; flu and colds caught easily and last a long
time; intolerance to cold

F. Upright Qi = Zheng Qi

• Formation: (Qi, Blood, Body Fluid, Essence) transforms into Zheng Qi
• Location: Anywhere in the body
• Function: Fights and Resists Evil Qi (Zheng Qi includes Wei Qi).
• Note: Antipathogenic Qi; opposite of Evil Qi. Includes emotional and spiritual “good Qi”;
keeps ghosts and evil spirits away.

G. Middle Burner Qi = Post-Natal Qi = Zhong Qi

• Formation: Spleen Qi + Stomach Qi
• Location: Middle Jiao
• Function:
• Spleen and Stomach functions
• Keeps organs in original positions
• Deficiency symptoms: diarrhea, poor digestion, organ prolapse.

H. Pre-Natal Qi = Xian tian zhi qi

• Formation: Kidney Essence
• Location: Kidney
• Function: Nourishes fetus; dominates growth, development, fertility, reproduction, aging

I. Food Qi = Gu Qi

• Formation: From food and drink, through Spleen and Stomach
• Location: Middle Jiao
• Function: Ready to transform to any kind of nutrition (qi, blood, body fluid, essence)

J. Internal Organ Qi = internal organs’ functions

K. Evil Qi = Pathogenic Qi = Xie Qi: Any factor causing disease.

III. Functions of Qi

A. Warming

• Qi = Yang; Blood = Yin
• Wei Qi has a warming function

B. Protecting: Wei Qi and Lung Qi

C. Raising: Spleen Qi; Middle Jiao Qi; Kidney Qi

D. Holding: Spleen holds Blood; Kidney hold urine; Lung holds sweat

E. Qi Hua:

• transformation and transportation, i.e. metabolism
• qi = blood = body fluid = essence

F. Promoting function: Yuan Qi promotes internal organ functioning

IV. Abnormal Qi

A. Qi deficiency

• Lung: SOB, weak voice, asthma
• Spleen: diarrhea, bleeding, bruises, poor digestion
• Kidney: low back pain, poor hearing, frequent urination
• Heart: palpitations, chest tightness
• Liver: very unusual

B. Qi stagnation: not circulating well

• Liver: anger, irritation, mood swings, PMS, sighing, hypochondriac pain; depression
• Large Intestine (may come from Liver qi stagnation): constipation with incomplete bowel movements, not smooth, but NOT dry.

C. Qi sinking

• Spleen: diarrhea, organ prolapse
• Kidney: incontinence

D. Rebellious qi: qi moves in wrong direction

• Lung: ascends causing cough and asthma
• Stomach: ascends causing nausea and vomiting


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