Our Vital Energy
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the principle of the unconditional, unifying energy of all phenomena. Called qi (pronounced chee), it is ephemeral, active, and constantly changing. Qi is vital energy, the basis for all organic life, and for all inorganic substances, as well. The great symbol of qi is the sun, the most unlimited source of energy we experience in daily life. This concept of qi is the basis for the success of TCM in the area of health maintenance and longevity. In Chinese medicine, energy is all. The entire TCM system is based on bringing qi into balance in all parts of the body and mind. Ayurveda has very similar ideas, and calls this vital energy prana.
Qi is all about movement, evolution and change. It’s ephemeral, so we perceive its effects, not its substance- it’s energy. It is associated with movement, odor, sound and form and the intuitive, unlimited and spiritual qualities of life.
In the Chinese view, the primary principle of health is recognizing and promoting the flow of qi and eliminating its blockage. All TCM techniques, whether herbs, diet, acupuncture, or others, are ultimately aimed at balancing the quantity, quality and flow of qi. For example, ginseng is an herb noted for its ability to increase the total qi in the body.