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students of Oriental Medicine.
Medicine, it is the life force and harmony of all your living tissues,
which is reviewed in the case of disease. Life force is known as Qi.
There are four basic types of Qi named by their theoretical existence
relative to observed body function. However martial artists worldwide
have noted an interesting phenomenon. By concentrating and controlling
their adrenal glands and other processes of instant energy through the
concept of Qi, brought gratification in times of competition
and most rewarding to the audience. This is a universal experienced by mankind now for several
Qi protects the body from External Pernicious Influences. Qi is the
source of harmonious transformations in the body. Qi has a
transformative function as ingestion of foods are transformed into other
substances such as Blood, Glandular Secretions, Qi itself, peptides,
hormones, interstitial fluids, tears, sweat, metabolism and bi-products
of catabolism and products of elimination. Oxygen is exchanged in the
lungs and is a source of Qi. This Wei Qi or Protective Qi would be
likened to the human humeral immune response as it pertains to the
lymphatic system and spleen in modern medicine. It circulates
throughout the body, regulates sweat glands and pores, moistens and
protects the skin and hair much as the hypothalamus regulates
unconscious function in Modern Medicine. In Oriental Medicine this is
known as the most Yang manifestation of Qi in the body (Wei Qi).
the retention of the body’s Substances and Organs. Qi keeps the blood
in the vessels and prevents excessive loss of bodily fluids such as
sweat and saliva. Qi is thought to maintain the normal heat in the
today, Oriental Medical Practitioners understand the science of
temperature regulation. However, to achieve the repeatable results
attained by quality acupuncturists, we must understand the traditional
ways of the ancients. We are harmonizing today’s science with the
positive benefits of Oriental Medicine absent the abortion of a
reproducible form of care, which has worked for 2,500. Thus Traditional
Oriental Medicine used Qi forms as well as the Sanjio, which you will
study later to explain harmonious temperature regulation;
independent functions named by an Oriental Medical organ. Thus Heart Qi
or Spleen Qi has distinct functional activities. Meridian Qi is thought
to be channel pathways through which Qi flows among the Organs and the
human body maintaining harmony (homeostasis). Acupuncturists’ attempt
to maintain the harmony of the Body through needling techniques
affecting the nervous system (e.g., One never needles
into any type of nerve as it can cause severe complications... The
acupoints are read by the nervous system...) which affects direct controls and indirect
control through peptides, hormones, glandular secretions and so forth.
or Nutritive Qi, the essence derived from ingestion of oxygen and food,
is transformed into blood and essential nutrients are transported
throughout the body.
is thought to regulate the rhythmic movements of the heart and
respiration, as well as the movement of Blood. It is likened to the
hypothalamus regulating unconscious body process though the sympathetic,
parasympathetic and specific heart nodes. In Oriental Medicine it is
called the Qi of the chest or Zong Qi. This is reference to the Lungs,
the Heart, the Blood, respiration, and control of all factors so they
are in harmony.
In summary, Qi
functions include Transferring, Transporting, Holding, Raising,
Protecting and Warming in Oriental Medicine. Of course these are easily
likened to basic metabolism, basal metabolic rate, and basic
In-depth Qi Differentiation
Qi is differentiated relative to its source, function and distribution.
Basically there is Yuanqi, Zongqi, Yingqi and Weiqi as you already
learned. The following is an in-depth discussion of Qi.
Yuanqi (Primary Qi) is derived from congenital essence and
inherited from the parents. Thus the none congenital or primary Qi.
There is a reciprocal function between the congenital and inherited Qi
in that they are dependent on each other for their production and
nourishment. Congenital Qi promotes acquired Qi, which then nourishes
congenital Qi. This Yuanqi is supplemented and nourished by the Qi
obtained after birth from food essence. Yuanqi is rooted in the kidney
and spleen to the body by the Sanjio to stimulate and promote the
functional activates of the Zang-fu organs and tissues. If there is
Yuanqi deficiency pathological changes occur.
Zongqi is stored in the chest and is therefore called pectoral
Qi. Qi is taken in by the lung and combined with Qi transformed from
food essence produced by the stomach and spleen. The two main functions
Zongqi aids the lung respiratory function and the strength of the
Zongqi ids the heart in the circulation of Qi and blood, the
regulation of temperature, and the motor ability of the limbs and torso.
Yingqi (nutrient Qi) is derived from food essence produced by the
spleen and stomach and circulates in the vessels. Yingqi not only
circulates with blood but aids in its production.
Weiqi (defensive Qi) Weiqi functions are hypothalamic in scope.
It is derived from food essence, but circulates outside the blood
vessels to protect muscular surfaces, control the openings and closing
of pores, moisten skin and hair and to control body temperature. Its
principal function is to defend the body against exogenous pathological
Zhenqi (Vital Qi) is Meridian Qi. It is written in Plain
Questions “Zhenqi (vital Qi) means the Qi of the meridians”. Thus the
meridian Qi aids the functions of the organs, tissues, blood and entire
There are six essential Qi factors, which are interrelated and
supportive. These are Promoting, Warming, and Defensive Resistance to
disease, controlling, Harmonious transformation and Nourishing. The
promotion of growth, repair, and proper physiological functions are
related to Qi.
It is written in the Classic on Medical Problems (21) “Qi
dominates warming”. It is further written in the Miraculous Pivot,
Chapter 47 that “Weiqi warms muscles”. The Qi has a warming function.
It is written in Plain Questions Chapter 72, “The existence of
the antipathogenic Qi in the interior prevents the pathogenic factor
from invading”. Thus Qi acts as the hypothalamus and Immune System. Qi
resists pathogenic exogenous invasion as well as combating existing
disease and aiding recovery.
Qi nourishes the body in the form of YingQi; the nutrient
substance in food. It nourishes the entire body.
Control. Qi controls and regulates metabolic function and key
MERIDIAN QI FLOW
Qi flows through
the organs, and tissues and reaches all aspects of the body. In fact Qi
can be found to be of greatest quantity during various times of the
day. The following chart simplifies Qi flow through the meridians never
ending until death, though interrupted, stagnated, reversed or
accelerated due to disease.
ZANG ORGANS (YIN MERIDIANS)
FU ORGANS (YANG MERIDIANS)
Lung Large Intestine
Heart Small Intestine
Kidney Urinary Bladder
Pericardium San Jiao
ABNORMAL QI MOVEMENT
In Oriental Medicine one mode of
pathologies come from abnormal Qi activity. The normal movement of Qi
circulation in the body is ascending, descending, outward and inward
movement. Dysfunction can occur when there is abnormal Qi movement.
The normal movement of Qi maintains the functional activities of the
Zang-fu organs and meridians, and the relationships between the Zang-fu
organs, meridians, Qi, blood, yin and yang. For example, if the normal
stomach Qi fails to descend and spleen Qi fails to ascend, the clear
yang will not be disseminated, acquired essence is not stored, and
nutrient Qi cannot be received, and numerous diseases are thought to
FUNDAMENTAL Qi DISHARMONIES
disharmonies are broken down into four basic categories in Oriental
Medicine. These are Deficient Qi, Collapsed Qi (aka, Sinking Qi
Syndrome), Stagnant Qi, and Rebellious Qi(Qi Perversion Syndrome).
is insufficient to sustain any of the five Qi functions. Qi is thought
to be deficient within the human body when the five fundamental Qi
functions of transporting transforming, holding, raising, and warming,
and protecting are in disharmony. Further Qi Deficiency is associated
with deficiency of any of the types of Qi such as Deficient Protective
Qi (Humeral Immune Response) one may develop signs and symptoms such as
low resistance to the common cold. Frequent colds and spontaneous
sweating are indicative of Deficient Protective Qi.
can affect the entire system. The signs and symptoms associated with
general Qi Deficiency are a lack in desire for action/movement or
lethargy, Dizziness, blurring of vision, spontaneous sweating worse on
exertion or movement; thus the lethargy. The Tongue Diagnosis reveals a
pale tongue with deficiency pulse. Finally Qi Deficiency is used to
describe that state of a Deficient Qi Organ or Deficiency of specific
Organ Qi. Since the kidney is the Ruler of water, Kidney Qi Deficiency
might be accompanied with incontinence or spermmatorhea. Qi like
everything has a Yin and Yang aspect. Later when you learn to Diagnose
through combined Western/Oriental Medicine, Deficiency and Excess are
important distinguishing categories of the Eight Principal System.
normal flow of Qi is disturbed, slowed or stopped the situation was
described as Stagnant Qi. If Qi is Stagnant, it can disturb the harmony
of the Organs. Since the Lungs rule Qi, then when Qi becomes stagnant
within the Lungs, than signs and symptoms are associated with Coughing
and dyspnea. If Qi is Stagnant in the Liver, abdominal distention and
distention of the rib cage occurs as the Liver stores blood. If there
is a disturbance in flow the Liver over-engorges. When Stagnation
occurs, this generally refers to accumulation of blood in one of the
organs discussed or due to obstruction of blood circulation or
extravagated blood, which has not been dispersed or expelled from an
signs and symptoms are Pain, ecchymosis or petechial hemorrhages, and
masses or tumors. Etiological events included abrasion and contusions,
hemorrhage, pathogenic invasion of the blood, or even deficiency
As you learned
above when this Qi goes the wrong direction compared with that described
as normal, it is known as Rebellious Qi. The most common example is
Stomach Qi. Stomach Qi descends. Thus if Stomach Qi is rebellious or
perverted, the signs and symptoms would be vomiting, nausea, hiccups and
belching. This is usually the result of phlegm in the stomach or food
poisoning, invasion of the stomach by exogenous pathogenic factors.
Rebellious Lung Qi is associated with coughing and asthmatic breathing.
Perversion of Qi relative to the Liver causes headache, vertigo,
dizziness, hemoptysis, hematemesis, and in the worse case coma. Liver
in Oriental Medicine is associated often with stress due to anger or
distribution of defensive Qi (Wei Qi) is dependent on the function of
Chest Qi which can promote the
function of the Lung and Heart is
Yuan Qi (Primary Qi)
Ying Qi (Nutrient Qi)
Wei Qi (Defensive Qi)
None of the above.
Qi circulating within the vessels which
into blood is called?
Ying Qi (Nutrient Qi)
Xin Qi (Heart Qi)
Accumulates in the Chest
Ascend to the throat
Promotes the heart function
All of the
Qi is formed from?
The essential Qi of water and food
The clear Qi inhaled by the lung
A and B
A, B, C
Congenital Qi includes
Qi functions include
Circulate with Blood
Promote water metabolism
A and B
Qi functions include
All of the
10. Wei Qi functions to
the body surface
opening and closing of
Moisten skin and hair
All of the above.
TEMPERATURE REGULATION AND OTHER QI FUNCTIONS IN
MODERN MEDICAL TAXONOMY
Of course today we know that Temperature
regulation in the body is an integration of the autonomic nervous
system, which control heat loss, and the somatic mechanisms that govern
heat production, posture, and behavior, all under control by the
hypothalamus. Clark et al., 1939 found that experimental lesion in the
rostral portion caused severe fever and subsequent death in laboratory
animals. Jarokys and Jreudk (1910), and Ranson (1936 to 1937)
discovered that most of the reactions needed for temperature regulation
could be brought into play by electrical stimulation of the hypothalamus
save shivering, which could not be induced by electrical stimulus.
Other experiments had observations by use of implanted thermodes in
unanesthetized animals, demonstrating that this region was indeed
sensitive to cooling as well as heating. Benzinger in 1969 called the
hypothalamic system and its associated appropriate pathways the
thermostat for the rest of the body in a reciprocal relationship as the
body is cooled when the hypothalamus was too warm and the body warmed
when the hypothalamus was too cool. Specifically the hypothalamus
mediates two mechanisms coordinating the sympathetic and parasympathic
systems affecting widespread physical and chemical processes in the
regulation of body temperature. One is the dissipation of heat and the
other with its production and conservation. The anterior hypothalamus
is sensitive to increases in blood temperature, and sets in motion the
mechanisms for dissipating “excess heat” (page 492 C). In mankind this
consists mainly of profuse sweating and vasodilatation of the cutaneous
blood vessels. These actions permit the rapid elimination of heat by
convection and radiation from the surface of the engorged blood vessels,
and by the evaporation of sweat. It has been firmly established that
lesions involving the anterior part of the hypothalamus abolish the
neural control of mechanisms concerned with the dissipation of heat and
result in hyperthermia. Thus tumors in, or near, the anterior
hypothalamus results in hyperthermia (hyperpyrexia). Conditions
of decreasing body temperature or cooling is relative to the posterior
hypothalamus. This protects the body for the conservation and increased
production of heat when necessary. The cutaneous blood vessels are
constricted and sweat secretion ceases, so that heat loss is reduced.
Simultaneously there is augmentation of visceral activities, and the
somatic muscles exhibit shivering. All these activities tremendously
increase the processes of oxidation, with a consequent production and
conservation of heat. It has been firmly established that bilateral
lesions in the posterior regions of the hypothalamus usually produce a
condition in which the body temperature varies with the environment (poikilothermia).
This is because all descending pathways concerned with both the
conservation and dissipation of heat would be distorted due to
Harmony could not be defined any better than the following
description of these systems in Carpenter Human Neuroanatomy
“These two intrinsically antagonistic mechanisms
do not function independently but are continually inter-related and
balanced against each other to meet the changing needs of the body; the
coordinated responses always are directed to the maintenance of a
constant and optimum temperature.”
Adrenal glands and the thyroid also play interconnected significant
roles in the unconscious regulation of body temperature. These
calorigenic effects of the secretions of these glands are well known.
Stability of body temperature varies with the size of the body, external
work conditions and the amount of metabolic energy results in heat. For
example, when one undertakes strenuous physical exertion, more than
three-quarters of the increased metabolism appears as heat within the
body with the remainder is converted either to work or to heat in the
external system. Fever increased the metabolic rate by 13% for each
degree rise in mean body temperature.
by Dr. Scott Neff, DC, DABCO,