What Does Qi Stagnation Mean?
Qi in the broadest sense is simply energy, which embraces all manifestations from the most material aspects such as flesh and blood, the chair you’re sitting on or the ground beneath your feet, to the most immaterial aspects such as light, heat, nerve impulses, thoughts and emotions.
In Chinese medicine, the harmonious flow of qi is the foundation of health and wellbeing. A pathological change in any area, channel or organ will often begin with a disrupted flow of qi.
When the proper flow of energy is compromised, accumulation of this nonfunctional qi will result in a multitude of symptoms, some of the common ones being pain and distention.
“Lack of free passage results in pain.”
Free-flowing Qi Is Vital To Balance And Health
Try visualizing yourself on the freeway driving relaxed and at ease having no encounter with any accidents, road work or traffic. You arrive to your destination on time, with ample energy and in good spirits. Now picture yourself in a different scenario; imagine yourself stuck on the freeway at a standstill traffic. Are you a happy camper? Probably not. In fact, many of us experience anxiety and stress, worry that we won’t make it to our destination on time, frustrated or angry for wasting so much of our time stuck on the road, and even drained of energy.
Well, when we zoom into our bodies, we find that our cells respond the way we would when they encounter any congestion. They do not like stagnation and naturally prefer an easy, unobstructed flow. This way every cell can get to where it needs to be, in proper time, to carry out its functions correctly and harmoniously.
Why is this so important? Well, if all of the parts of our system are in harmony with one another, then the whole system is in harmony. And a system that is in harmony gravitates towards health, wellbeing and sustainability.
Disturb one thing and you create a disturbance that ripples through the entire system. A system that is in disharmony gravitates towards illness and disease, suffering, and eventually collapse.
What Does Qi Stagnation Look Like In Our Bodies?
The particular manifestations depend upon the location of blockage. Let’s look at a few examples of commonly encountered symptoms; see in any of these look familiar to you.
- Chest and back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain and distention (bloating)
- Belching (aka burping)
- Acid reflux
- Irregular bowel movements (diarrhea or constipation)
- Nausea & vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Hypochondrial pain and distention (flank or sides of your torso)
- Painful urinary dysfunction
- Irregular menstruation
- Painful menstruation (including breast tenderness!)
Other symptoms not necessarily part of our “trunk” could include headaches, depression, irritability, joint pain, sciatica and muscular pain. Any previous traumas or old injuries which have developed scar tissue or bring regular discomfort even a long time after the initial incident can be viewed as an obstruction of qi.
If you experience any of these symptoms, take a moment to think about the habits in your life that may be bringing about or exacerbating the stagnation of your qi. Making some adjustments may be wise in order to move toward a state of health and away from that of degeneration and bodily breakdown.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog where I delve into some of the main causes of qi stagnation.