What Is Qi?
Qi is often interpreted as the flow of energy that sustains all of life. For thousands of years and across a number of cultures, it was recognized that cultivating strong energy was the key to not only longevity but wisdom, spirituality, balanced emotions and happiness.
How Is Qi Made?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, qi is dependent partly on your constitution (thank your parents) and the qi that is acquired through lifestyle. It is the energy we have available to carry out basic functions as well as our often energy-consuming goals and responsibilities.
How Is Qi Depleted?
Qi deficiency is one of the most common conditions and can range in severity. It often compromises the physiological function of organs and their associated energetic meridians, particularly those of the digestive and respiratory systems which are the key producers of energy. Here are a few reasons for the deficiency:
- Overexertion; “burning your candle from both ends” or overworking without adequate rest is surely to be depleting. (Been there, done that!)
- Over-thinking, stress, worry, over-studying – stress overtaxes the adrenals, sustains high cortisol levels, and lowers blood flow to the visceral organs responsible for breaking down food into energy and excreting wastes and toxins.
- Shallow breathing – puts the body into an acidotic state, lowering immunity and increasing susceptibility to disease.
- Sedentary lifestyle – lack of movement will cause stagnation of energy and slow down all the metabolic processes (including energy producing mitochondria).
- Poor quality foods and beverages – GMOs, MSGs, pesticides, herbicides, additives and preserved, processed, sugar-laden foods (including toxic diet products). Long story short, if man makes it, don’t eat it!
- Poor eating habits – Eating at irregular times, over-eating, under-eating, lack of dietary protein, healthy fats or plant based enzymes.
- Lingering or long-term illness – Recovery from surgery or a long-standing illness can take a toll on the body because the immune system is metabolically expensive and exhausts a lot of energy.
- Environmental pollution and other toxicities – Modern societies are inundated with all kinds of toxins which overtax all the organs and greatly disrupt our hormones, which throws our bodies out of balance and into illness.
- Electromagnetic fields – Disrupts regenerative deep sleep which is essential for good generation of qi.
- Postural misalignment – Innervation to the organs can be compromised, leading to poor function of the organ systems and placing the body into a state of stress.
- Medical procedures and medications – slow down the metabolic processes and poison the body, rendering numerous side effects.
How Do I Know If I’m Qi Deficient?
Symptoms of qi deficiency will often manifest as
- Weakness of the limbs
- Bloating, loose stool or diarrhea,
- Sallow and pale complexion,
- Reduced appetite,
- Spontaneous sweating,
- Shortness of breath,
- Pale-colored tongue,
- Weak pulse
- Low voice and no desire to speak
More severe qi deficiency may progress to prolapse of the uterus, rectum, stomach, and kidneys.
How Do I Reverse The Deficiency And Strengthen My Qi?
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a tremendous number of ways with which to strengthen this vital life energy. However, because TCM bases its therapies on each individual need, herbal formulas and diet is tailored to the individual. Climatic and environmental influences cannot be ignored and constitutional weaknesses must be considered. Below are lifestyle changes which will greatly promote qi production.
- Diet change – Healthy, organic foods don’t just clean up and heal the body but they contribute essential enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals which increase conduction of nerve impulses to promote a healthy nervous system. They are high energy foods.
- Herbs – Modern studies demonstrate that herbal qi tonics raise the immune function, enhance production of white blood cells, and inhibit tumor growth. Herbal formulas can be taken as a tea, capsules, powders, etc.
- Moderate physical activity – Movement is life! Exercise is shown to increase mitochondrial energy production and biogenesis. This includes the mitochondria found in the nervous system; increasing the power of electrical impulses and cell communication throughout the body.
- Deep breathing exercises – Increase oxygenation of the cells, energy production, and a relaxed, healing state of being.
- Postural alignment – Since the nervous system communicates with the endocrine and immune tissues which regulate the chemical reactions that keep us balanced and healthy, getting chiropractic adjustments can increase the flow of energy (bioelectrical signals) and in turn increase immunity and resistance to illness.
- Stress management – Conserves valuable energy by down-regulating the sympathetic “fight-or-flight” response and up-regulating the parasympathetic “rest and digest” response. This extra energy promotes the rebuilding of new healthy tissue leading you closer to radiant health.
Every person has a different bodily constitution, thus the same pattern can manifest with different symptoms depending on each person’s weakness. Qi deficiency often accompanies other deficient conditions such as diabetes, cancer, IBS and other digestive disorders, respiratory disorders, thyroid disorders, muscular dystrophies and organ prolapses.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of disease is a result of 3 main issues: chronic toxicity, deficiency, and mental/emotional stress. All of which physiologically stress the body and drain it of its energy.
You can think of qi as the bio-electrical energy in the body through which communication and transmission of information occurs. Proper and healthy conduction is an absolute must if we are to maintain our trillions of cells communicating and functioning harmoniously.
But when the body is constantly bombarded with outside toxins (or even internal toxic thoughts and emotions) and is not fortified with healthy lifestyle habits, it’s only a matter of time (and not too much time) before it begins to break down faster than it builds up. As you can imagine, it takes a large amount of energy to continuously repair all the damage. And you certainly don’t want to get to the point where the damage is beyond repair.