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The Energy Within Us
The Energy Within Us

How Acupuncture, Qi Gong, and Reiki work

Michelle Gellis, LAc, MAc, DiplAc

What's the difference between a dead body and a living, vibrant human being? It's the life force, the energy that flows through all of us. It is what animates us and enables us to move through our day.

This life force is known by many different names around the world. In China, it is called Chi (Qi). In India, it is referred to as Prana; in Hebrew, Ruach; Polynesia, Mana; and in Japan, Ki. Everything that lives contains this life force including plants, animals, and people.

Chi helps to animate the body and protect it from illness, pain, and disease. A person's health is influenced by the quality, quantity, and balance of their Chi. We acquire it from breathing, eating, and standing in sunlight. We deplete it by eating a nutrient-poor diet or by not getting enough exercise, rest, or fresh air.

Flow of Energy

Chi can be thought of as a current that runs through our bodies, keeping our systems in good working order. It is circulated through specific pathways, called meridians, which transport life-giving Chi to nourish and energize every cell, organ, gland, tissue, and muscle. There are 14 main meridian pathways throughout the body, and each is connected to specific organs and glands.

When Chi flows freely throughout the body, a person enjoys physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Chi, however, can become depleted or stuck from emotional imbalances, repression, or frequently expressing emotions like anger or even over-the-top joy. Other ways that Chi can become obstructed is through injury, physical abnormalities (such as growths) in the body, or lifestyle habits that restrict the flow of Chi (such as not getting enough movement and exercise). An obstruction of Chi anywhere in the body is like a dam, backing up the flow in one area and restricting it in another. This blockage can hinder the distribution of the nourishment that the body requires to function optimally.

The body's energy also has a proper direction of flow. For example, did you ever get angry and feel Chi rising to your head (maybe you got warm or red in the face)? In this case, the stuck Chi built up and needed to be released. Too much Chi to the head can cause migraines, tension headaches, and high blood pressure. As another example, stomach Chi should move down; if it moves up instead, you can develop acid reflux.

Balance of Energy

The flow of Chi is optimal when a person's energy is in balance. In Asian philosophy, balance is understood using the concept of Yin and Yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, and passive aspects of a person, while Yang represents hot, excited, or active aspects.

Yin and Yang are opposites and are therefore interconnected and interdependent. They can only exist in relation to one another. For example: stillness/movement, happiness/sadness, awake/asleep, darkness/light. Each aspect gives rise to the other, and the two constantly ebb and flow with one another.

According to Asian philosophy, wellness can only be achieved through balance in life. Disease is a symptom of an internal imbalance of Yin and Yang which, in turn, restricts the healthy flow of Chi.

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Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or healthcare professional.
This information is not for diagnosing or treating health problems or diseases, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.