Part Four: Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Series – Chi Energy and
the Meridian Systems
Chi or Qi or Mana is an untranslatable word in the Chinese dictionary.
It signifies a tendency, a movement, something on the order of energy.
The Acupuncturist measures different types of Chi when diagnosing the problem. Everything in the universe is composed
of, and defined, by its Chi. Chi is often translated as vital force or energy. Chi is neither material nor energy,
but is perceived by what it does, how it acts in the universe, or how it functions. It is an active force, and represents
What does it do?:
- Chi protects the body. It resists invasion of disease.
- Chi is the source of harmonious transformation in the body. Food is transformed into substances that nourish
the body, and these changes depend upon the transforming function of Chi.
- Chi governs retention of the body’s substances and organs. Chi keeps everything in and holds the organs
in their proper place, keeps the blood flowing, and prevents excessive loss of body fluids.
- Chi warms the body. It maintains the normal heat in the body acting as a heat regulator.
Blood in Chinese medicine is not the same as our Western terminology of blood. The major activity of the blood is
to circulate continuously throughout the body, nourishing, maintaining, and moistening the body. Blood moves through
the blood vessels and also through the meridians or channels of the body. In Chinese medicine, the physical pathway
is less important than the function, so there are not any clear pathways described for this flow of blood. Blood
is considered a Yin substance.
Jing is translated as Essence, the source of life, the substance that underlies all organic life. It is fluid-like,
supportive, and nutritive, and is the basis of reproduction and development from conception until death. Jing is
more Yang or more active as compared to Blood.
In females, there appears to be a seven year cycle that the body goes through as it grows, develops, matures, and
ages. In males, the cycle is instead, an eight year cycle. Disharmonies of Jing could include improper maturation,
congenital defects, sexual dysfunction, along with inability to reproduce, and even premature aging.
Shen is translated as Spirit. It is the vitality behind Jing and Chi in the human body. Shen symbolizes human consciousness.
It is associated with the force of human personality, the ability to think, to discriminate, and to choose appropriately.
Shen is the awareness that shines out of our eyes when we are truly awake. Shen is continuously and materially nourished
after birth. Even though it is translated as spirit, it has a maternal aspect. It is a fundamental substance of the
human body, and cannot be separated from the body.
In a healthy person, Shen is the capacity of the mind to form ideas and is the desire of the personality to live
life. When Shen loses its harmony, the eyes may lack luster, and thinking may be muddles, and a person may be slow
and forgetful, or suffer from insomnia, or incoherent speech. In severe Shen disharmonies, there may be unconsciousness
or violent madness. Shen is considered a Yang substance because of its power to activate.
Fluids are bodily liquids other than blood and include sweat, saliva, gastric juices, and urine. Fluids function
to moisten and partly to nourish the hair, skin, membranes, orifices, flesh, muscles, organs, joints, brain, marrow,
Fluids are derived from ingested food and are regulated by the Chi of various organs, particularly the kidneys.
Fluids depend upon Chi, and Chi depends upon the Fluids to moisten and to nourish the organs that regulate the Chi.
Fluids are Yin substances. Disharmonies of Fluids can include dryness of the lips, the skin, the eyes, etc.
The Channels or Meridians are paired together, one Yin organ and one Yang organ:
|Yin Organ||Yang Organ|
|Lung||Large Intestine/ Conception Vessel|
The main function of a Yang organ is to receive food, to absorb the usable portions, and to transmit and excrete
waste. The Yang organs are more exterior than the Yin organs. Exterior means that the Yang organs are not as significant
in function as the Yin organs. The meridian pathways of the coupled organs are connected. The function of a Yin organ
is to produced, transform regulates, and store the Fundamental Substances of Chi, Blood, Jing, Shen (Spirit), and
by Dr. Leia Melead
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