What is Qi?

By Dr. Daniel Keown, Ghost Flower's Chief Scientist

What is Qi?

Qi (pronounced as ‘chee’) is the vital life force that flows through the body. 

The idea of an animating life force is (obviously) not new.   Many cultures and practices describe this concept.  Yogis speak of “prana” — a concept which informs practice, guides treatment, and allows us to adopt healthier postures and lifestyles.  It’s movement through nadis (channels) mirrors the Chinese description of Qi.  In English, we speak of “spirit” that animates us.

Qi is (almost certainly) the same as prana and spirit.   But because of its different cultural and scientific background, Qi teaches us new things about how the body works and how to fix it.

Chinese philosophy teaches that Qi exists in the cosmos but is concentrated in our bodies. In the cosmos, Qi is the energy that gives order to the world.   It does the same in our bodies.  This starts when we are just a few cells.  Qi is the intelligent energy that helps cells organize — to determine whether they are going to form an arm, a heart or an eye, until the whole of us is formed.  

And once we are formed, Qi animates our body.  Qi flows to every cell in the body, nourishing them and keeping our muscles and organs healthy and vital.   It’s our body’s natural anti-aging system.

Qi animates our body.  Qi flows to every cell in the body, nourishing them and keeping our muscles and organs healthy and vital.   It’s our body’s natural anti-aging system.

(Note that while they may not all acknowledge Qi, Western doctors inherently understand that electricity animates us.  They use EKGs (electrocardiograms) to read it! While doctors don’t tend to think of EKGs as ‘energy readings’ that is exactly what they are.  When issues arise, in an effort to correct them, doctors even put energy back in via defibrillation.)

For this reason Qi is the single most important factor in our health.  Because it tends to run so quietly in the background, it is typically ignored.   But when the organization of our body — the Qi — gets disturbed, we get sick. 

To understand Qi is to understand the most fundamental aspect of how our bodies work.

 

How do we know that Qi is real? 

Skepticism is at the heart of all good scientific study,  so this is a great question.

First, there is incredible historical precedent for Qi, with the first known description in the Tao Te Ching in 600 B.C.   This knowledge has remained essentially unchanged over this time. While this is not ‘proof’ per se; it does show that the concept should not be dismissed.

I can also speak from personal experience — in my practice as a licensed doctor and Acupuncurist, I work with Qi every day.  And I have personally seen the results — countless times by now — of the incredible impact that helping people release blocked energy has on their health.  My own father was rescued from near-death in intensive care by Chinese medicine.

But beyond ancient practice and personal experience, Western science is also starting to recognize Qi (or something like it) as filling a huge hole in our understanding of how the body develops and organizes.  To get from a single cell to 100 trillion cells working together, something has to organize all of that development and growth.  It can’t be the brain (it has to develop too).  And DNA only provides the roadmap.  So what does?  Science is now understanding that what controls the process of your growth from a single cell to the trillion cell wonder you are is electricity, intelligent electricity.

Science is now understanding that what controls the process of your growth from a single cell to the trillion cell wonder you are is electricity, intelligent electricity.

Finally, for those of you for whom “seeing is believing”, I would encourage you to check out this short video of a frog embryo developing.  <link> You can literally see the Qi flowing as the frog’s face develops!

 

How can we harness Qi to improve our health?

Qi is the most vital part of our health but it works so quietly in the background that you barely notice it: it’s like a perfectly running computer OS or a new Tesla. Both of these examples run on electricity, but in our bodies this electricity is unbelievably smart.

Qi is so efficient that you really only notice it when it goes wrong.  When it does, your cells are being denied a key source of nourishment — you can feel irritable, stiff, sluggish or even sick.

My advice at that point is… listen to it!  Stuck Qi may just be telling you to massage something; sometimes to itch it; and other times, especially when you’re feeling stiff and irritable, is just asking you to move more.  

Qi is so efficient that you really only notice it when it goes wrong.  When it does, your cells are being denied a key source of nourishment — you can feel irritable, stiff, sluggish or even sick.

This is where the science and art of yoga, resistive stretching and Qi Gong come in…. Yoga has mapped out the movements of our body and works in harmony with them to create strength, balance and harmony.  Stretching along channels frees up the fascia that lines those channels, allowing Qi to flow more freely.  Qi Gong works at an even deeper level to map out the movements of Qi in our body. Both are about working with our body to create greater change.

We practice these so we stay strong and don’t get sick but sometimes we still need a little extra help. Knowing how our body is built means we can better fix it.

 

Qi and Ghost Flower

That’s where Ghost Flower can help.  By integrating channels and points into the design of the clothes, Ghost Flower has provided a “road map” to your body’s energy network.  Our designs show you not only where the energy might get stuck, but also which direction and where to push it to help it get moving again.  And our team has built a practice specifically designed to help you get your energy flowing.

Working with your body’s Qi means we get it back to 100% again… and then we forget it was ever there!

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