Welcome to part one of the series, where we take a look into some of the terms and concepts you might come across in an acupuncture treatment. Today, we’re going to look at Qi and Blood: two of the fundamental substances that we as acupuncturists try to address whenever we see you…
Qi and Blood
Qi and Blood are two of the vital substances of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A body needs a good supply of Qi and Blood to stay in good health.
If you’ve been looking into acupuncture, you’ll have seen lots of reference to Qi (or Chi) so far, but what is it? Often translated as energy, Qi is really about the dynamic functions of the body and mind. It warms, it protects, it holds, and it provides the energy for processes to happen in the body. Qi is not just one thing though – it changes. Different TCM organs have their own Qi, and this is what regulates breathing, digestion, or the pumping of the heart.
If Qi becomes blocked and cannot flow, that’s when illness or pain occurs. When we have enough Qi, we feel energetic and remain healthy and free from disease. Signs of weak or deficient Qi might be tiredness, lethargy, or getting sick easily..
Blood on the other hand is more than the red stuff that we think of in everyday life. In TCM, it is a combination of the physical red stuff that we know, but also the energetic aspect of it.
It is more nourishing than Qi, and helps to moisten and create suppleness. Blood is also closely linked to the Heart and plays an important role in mental health, as Blood is said to house the Spirit. Like Qi, we can also become deficient in Blood, which leads to dry skin or hair, pale complexion or tiredness.
Qi and Blood are closely connected to one another. Qi is more the Yang (active, warm) aspect of Blood which is considered more Yin (passive, cool) as it is thick and heavy. If Qi become ‘stuck’, often Blood becomes stuck too, and vice versa, leading to pain and illness.
In an acupuncture treatment, the main aim is to regulate the level and flow of Qi. Qi moves the Blood, but Blood in turn provides nourishment for Qi, so the maintaining a healthy relationship between the two is the foundation of maintaining good health.
Keep an eye out for Part 2, where we’ll introduce the TCM view of the organs and how they fit into treatment.