What Is Qi?

Qi is life force energy.

There are many different categories of Qi – Meridian Qi flows through the body, Wei Qi flows around the body.  Some Qi is congenital (what you are born with) and some Qi is acquired (energy received from foods, herbs, the breath).

Any energy that exists in the universe can be replenished or transmuted using Qi.  A Qigung master has the ability to summon and “push” Qi to influence and awaken energy in and around others.  This energy can be used to heal or change internal and external conditions in and around the body. Dr Leary works specifically with clients to awaken and strengthen their flow of Qi for self-healing.

Here is a brief overview of the different types of Qi (excerpted from Dr. Leary’s book Traditional Oriental Medicine Now):

Chi, Qi or Ki: The life force that connects all things.  The definition of Qi is not a simple translation, it is impossible to capture the concept fully in one word or phrase, as it encompasses a wide variety of manifestations.  The universe is composed of Qi, but it is neither matter nor energy, but a combination of both. Qi has been translated as “energy,” “vital energy” or “life force.” In other types of medicine it can be called electricity, Prana, Bio-electric current, or the spirit.

Blood: Connective tissue substance that transports oxygen and nutrients to tissue and carries away waste products.

Jing: Essence is the body’s reproductive and regenerative substance. Essence regulates growth, development, reproduction, and promotes and works with Qi to help protect the body from external factors.

Jin Ye: Body fluids are the liquids, which protect, nurture, and lubricate the body in conjunction with the blood.

Yin: The conservative side of the theory of balance in all things.

Yang: The constructive side of the theory of balance in all things.

Congenital Qi: This Qi represents the basic constitution we are born with; it is essentially limited in quality and amount.

Acquired Qi: Derived from the foods we eat and the air we breathe. The quality of acquired Qi depends on our lifestyle, food quality, balance of emotions and physical exercise.

Yuan Qi: Original Qi is also known as Prenatal Qi, it is inherited at conception. It includes a combination of Gu Qi and Kong Qi that influences this type of Qi. The organ associated with this Qi is the Kidneys.

Gu Qi: Comes from the food we eat. The main organ associated with this process is the Spleen.

Kong Qi: Comes from the air we breathe, and the main organ associated with this process is the Lung.

Zong Qi: Gathering Qi, Gu Qi and Kong Qi mix together to   form this Qi.

Jingluo Zhi Qi: Meridian Qi, when Zhen Qi flows through the channels or meridians of the body.

Zang fu Zhi Qi: Organ Qi, when the Zhen Qi flows through each of the various organs of the body, the Qi functions with respect to the characteristics of that organ. Zang is the same as Yin and Fu is the same as Yang.

Wei Qi: Defensive Qi circulates on the outside of the body and protects it from external causes that might give rise to illness.

Ying Qi: Nutritive Qi is essential in the process of nourishing all the tissues of the body.

Zhen Qi: Upright or Correct Qi becomes the Qi that circulates through the channels and organs of the body.


Excerpted from Dr. Leary’s book, Traditional Oriental Medicine Now, (c) 2007.