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As always, seek professional advice before using any of the methods listed.

Intro and Info

In Traditional Chinese Medicine and culture, qi (more precisely qì, also chi, ch'i or ki). Qi is an active principle forming a key and highly important part of every living thing.

Qi is often translated as "natural energy", or "life force", as well as "energy flow". The literal translation of "Qi" is "breath", "air", or "gas".

Qi is a central and underlying principle that is found within Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as martial arts.

Concepts that are very similar to qi are found in a number of other cultures, for example, "Prana", that is found in the Hindu religion, "Pneuma", found in ancient Greece, "Mana" in Hawaiian culture, "Lüng", which is found in Tibetan Buddhism, "Ruah", from Hebrew culture, and "Vital Energy", discovered in Western philosophy.

A lot of the elements of Qi can be understood in the term energy when used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric beliefs and Alternative Medicine.

Some of the elements of the concept of qi can also be found in Sci-Fi culture, one great example would be "The Force" in Star Wars.

Etymological Explanation

The etymological explanation for the form of the qi logogram (or chi) in the traditional form 氣 is "steam (气) rising from rice (米) as it cooks".

The earliest reported way of writing qi was three wavy lines, used to represent one's breath seen on a cold day.

A later variation is - 气, identical to the present-day simplified character, this is a stylized version of those same original three lines.

Appropriately, that character combined the three-line qi character with the character for rice. So 气 plus 米 formed 氣, and that is the Traditional Chinese character still used today (the oracle bone character, the seal script character and the modern "school standard" or Kǎi shū characters in the box at the right show three stages of the evolution of this character).


Some other spellings would include;-

  • simplified Chinese - 气
  • traditional Chinese - 氣
  • pinyin - qì
  • Wade–Giles - ch'i
  • Jyutping - hei

Qi is pronounced;-

  • ˈtʃiː/ in English
  • [tɕʰî] in Standard Chinese
  • In Korean - gi
  • Japanese - ki
  • Vietnamese - khí, (pronounced [xǐ])

The approximate English pronunciation of qi, similar to "chee" in cheese, should also be distinguished from the pronunciation of the Greek letter chi (χ), which in Modern Greek is a voiceless velar fricative ([x]), as in the German ach.

Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine, makes claim that the body has natural patterns of qi that circulate in channels called meridians, and the symptoms of various illnesses are believed to be the result of disrupted, blocked, or unbalanced qi movement through the body's meridians, as well as deficiencies or imbalances of qi in the Zang Fu organs.

Traditional Chinese Medicine often seeks to relieve these imbalances by adjusting the circulation of qi using a variety of techniques including herbology, food therapy, physical training regimens (qigong, t'ai chi ch'uan, and other martial arts training), moxibustion, tui na, and Acupuncture.

Qi Field

A qi field (chu-chong) refers to the cultivation of an energy field by a group, typically for healing or other benevolent purposes. A qi field is believed to be produced by visualization and affirmation, and is an important component of Wisdom Healing Qigong (Zhineng Qigong), founded by Grandmaster Ming Pang.