Monday, 30 March 2015

What is Qi?


All of Chinese Medical Acupuncture turns on the concept of qi (chi). But what is it? Is it real? Is it a "new age" concept or an outdated leftover of pre-modern superstition? 

I define Qi as an intelligent energy which permeates the body. If you doubt it's existence, than I invite you to a thought experiment. When you cut your finger, who fixes it? We all know the wound heals, or in other words the tissues are rebuilt, protected, and stitched together in an incredible act of organic engineering. All of this happens without your conscious involvement or knowledge. The intelligent a energy that heals the wound is qi. 

In fact qi is not a mysterious energy at all. In essence it is nothing more than electromagnetic energy. Yet qi is more than electromagnetic energy- it is the electromagnetic energy generated and circulated in a purposeful manner by a biological organism. Qi is constantly flowing through your body in uncountable ways. It is generated by food and air (Guqi and Feiqi in Chinese) on the basis of Yuanqi, or the "Source Qi" of the body, which is a complex pattern of energy organized by your genetic code. The genetic code corresponds in Chinese Medicine to the ancient concept of Jing, a substance from which the rest of the body grows in an ordered manner, and is the mother of Source Qi. 

In the 20th century our understanding of Qi was enhanced by studies on animals who can regenerate limbs of their bodies like salamanders. One doctor found that when a salamander lost a limb an electrical current was generated at the site of the injury. This current energized and ordered the complete regeneration of a new limb out of a clot of congealed blood at the site. Although human bodies are too complex to regenerate in the same manner, a startling and little known fact is that the ability is not completely lost to us. Children under the age of 6 who lose the tip of one their fingers are able to grow a new one. This obscure but fascinating fact was written up in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery over forty years ago, but is little known today even among doctors (Illingworth, C.M (1974) 'Trapped fingers and amputated finger tips in children.' J. Pediatr. Surg. 9, 6, 853-858, quoted in Keown, Daniel, The Spark in the Machine, Singing Dragon, USA 2014). 

Robert Becker, an Orthopedic MD famous for his investigations of electromagnetism, was one of the few western physicians of recent times to take up the issue of using metals and electricity to speed healing of tissues (Becker, R.O. and Seldon, G (1985) The Body Electric. New York, NY: Morrow.). But this is an ancient approach in Chinese medicine, and the daily pursuit of acupuncturists. Acupuncturists are the electricians of the human body, using gentle stimulation of the electrical meridians of the body to aid it in its miraculous self-regeneration. 

Acupuncturists do not add anything to your body, and we do not heal you. All we do is connect with and stimulate your body's natural bioelectromagnetism, or Qi, in order to help your body heal itself.

Next week, read on while we take on the challenge of answering the question what are acupuncture meridians, really?







Sunday, 29 March 2015

Mo Tzu 11.1.9

Mo Tzu said, “The forests were once lovely on Ox Mountain. But as they were near a great city, axes chopped them down little by little. Now there is nothing left of their beauty. Day and night rain and dew is plentiful and there’s no lack of fresh sprouts, but people graze oxen and sheep there and so the mountain is stripped bare. When people see how bare it is, they think that’s all the potential it has. But does that mean this is the nature of Ox Mountain?”

“Without the heart of love and duty alive in us, how can we be human? When we abandon this noble heart, it’s like chopping down those forests: a few axe blows each day and soon there is nothing left. You can sit quietly every morning and take in the clarity of the morning’s healing qi- but the values that make you human keep thinning away. All day long, you are tangled up in your life. If these tangles keep up day after day, even the clarity of night’s healing qi isn’t enough to preserve you, and you are not much different from an animal. When people see that you are like an animal, they think that’s al the potential you have. But is that the real human constitution?”

“With proper nourishment, anything will grow; and without proper nourishment anything will fade. Confucious said, ‘Embrace it and it endures. Abandon it and it dies. It comes and goes without announcement and no one knows its paths.” He was speaking of the heart.”


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Mo Tsu 11.1.2

Master Kao said, “The nature of things is like swirling water, channel it west or east and it will flow that way. Human nature too is like water, it doesn’t choose between good and evil any more than water chooses its direction.”

“It’s true that water doesn’t choose between east and west”, replied Mencius, “but does it choose between high and low? Human nature is inherently good, just like water flows inherently downhill. There’s no such thing as a person who isn’t good, just as there’s no water that doesn’t flow downhill.”

“ Think about water: if you slap it, you can make it jump over your head; and if you dam it up and push it around you can make it stay on a mountain. But what does this have to do with the nature of water? It’s only responding to the forces around it. It’s like that for people too: you can make them evil, but that says nothing about human nature.”


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mo Tsu 11.1

Master Kao said: “Nature is like willow wood, and duty is like cups and bowls. Shaping human nature into love and duty is like shaping willow wood into cups and bowls.”
“Do you follow the nature of willow wood to shape cups and bowls, “replied Mo Tsu, “or do you maul it? If you maul willow wood to make cups and bowls, then I guess you maul human nature to make love and duty. It’s talk like yours that will lead people to ravage love and duty throughout all beneath heaven.”

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mo Tsu 8:12

Mo Tsu said, “Great people never lose their child’s heart.”