"Qi Makes Up Body And Mind"
Qi is everything. All Vital Substances are manifestations of it. They include itself, Essence, Blood, and Body Fluids. The Psyche in Chinese medicine is also a form of it and is discussed in its own section. All things as you know them, exist somewhere on a continuum of Qi.
"It's Material And Immaterial"
One end is non-material and non-substantial. The other end is very solid. Then there's everything else in between the two extremes. It may be a living thing. It may be an object.
The Mind is totally immaterial. Water vapour is rarefied but still detectable. Blood is material, but a fluid. Rock is solid.
"The Meaning Of Qi"
Its true meaning is lost in translation. English lacks the subtlety or symbolism to properly translate it. It contains all Yin and Yang. Its concept is certainly as old or older as Yin and Yang. So, Blood and Body Fluids are Yin materials while solid materials are Yang.
It's kind of like matter and non-matter at the same time. But it's often translated simply as vital force, energy, or life force.
I like vital force. In other Asian languages it is called Chi or Ki. You may have seen these words. I use them interchangeably.
Everything in the universe is made of Chi energy. Life is merely the gathering of this energy while death is the dispersal of energy.
"In the Human Body"
In your body, Chi is about movement, activity, capacity to work, strength, growth, development, and effort.
In your mind, it's about having desires, being aware, weighing options, being motivated, and being determined or persistent.
If you're healthy, then Chi harmoniously ascends, descends, enters, and leaves, moving in all directions. The Nei Jing, a 2 thousand year old text book about Chinese medicine, states that
"Without entering and leaving there is no development, without ascending and descending no transformation, absorption, and storing."
If there is not enough vital force in your body, either due to a deficiency or an obstruction or it moves "recklessly" or in the wrong direction, disharmony occurs and you have disease.
"Different Types Of Human Ki"
Your body uses different types of Ki. Each has a definite purpose. It changes its form depending upon its location and its function.
• Defensive Ki exists outside the body. It acts like a shield, protecting you from external pathogens - germs, viruses, etc. If Defensive Ki is strong, you'll be able to fight off infection.
• Nutritive Ki is located inside the body. It nourishes you via the Blood and moves with the Blood through the vessels to all parts of your body.
• Each organ has its own Ki, which is related to the organ's given function and activity in the body. So the Heart behaves one way due to its Ki and is different from that of the Liver. The Liver behaves a certain way due to its own.
• Ki runs through the meridians or channels of your body. Through them, it harmonizes the organs and other body parts.
• Gathering Ki is located in the chest. It aids the Heart and the Lungs in their rhythmic movements of the heart beat and breathing.
"It Gives You Life"
Essence makes life possible. It's a refined and exquisite product created from coarser materials, from your food and drink. It's of the highest quality. But the food and drink you eat has to be of quality. What you put in is what you get!
Essence forms the basis of growth, development, and reproduction. It controls the growth of bones in children, teeth, hair, normal brain development and function, and sexual maturation.
It controls fertility in both men and women. If Essence is strong and plentiful then conception and pregnancy are successful. You can never have too much Essence.
There are three kinds of Essence.
Pre-Heaven Essence is inherited from your parents at the point of conception. This nourishes the embryo and the fetus. It depends on the mother's Kidneys.
It determines your constitution, health, and vitality. It's a fixed amount, but it can be used up. So that's why it's important for people to take care of themselves and not abuse themselves.
You use Pre-Heaven Essence. What you're born with is what you have and it can get used up during your lifetime. But if you live a balanced life - balanced work life, restrained sexual activity, and eat a healthy diet, you'll be able to reserve that precious Essence.
Post-Heaven Essence is created after you're born when you start taking in food and drink and when you start breathing. The Spleen/Stomach and Lungs start creating Qi from food, drink, and air.
You are continuously using and replenishing Post-Heaven Essence. The quality of your diet is very important.
This Essence is a very specific type of Essence. It is produced from both Pre-Heaven Essence and Post-Heaven Essence and is stored in the Kidneys. This Essence is the essence that directly affects your sexual health and ability to conceive a child.
It is responsible for growth, reproduction, development, sexual maturation, conception, and pregnancy. It must be created by an excellent diet and a balanced life style.
A fast paced, hard working and hard playing life uses up your Kidney Essence. The result is fertility problems, menstrual issues in women, and premature ejaculation in men.
Children born to people with severe Kidney Essence deficiency will have problems. They may have weakened bones, bad teeth, impaired intelligence. So how you live definitely affects the next generation as well as other future ones, if corrective action isn't taken.
"Blood Is Not Just A Red Liquid"
In Chinese Medicine, Blood is a dense form of Qi. Qi and Blood are highly involved with each other. Qi moves Blood in the vessels and Blood nourishes Qi. They can't do without the other.
Blood is created by the food and drink processed by the Spleen/Stomach. This food qi is then transformed when it gets to the Heart. Here it mixes with air from the Lungs to create precious Blood. Such is the energetic nature of Qi.
The main function of Blood is to nourish the body. Besides this, it also moistens the body tissues, such as skin, hair, the eyes, and the sinews. This is important too, because a deficiency of Blood creates dry eyes and stiff joints.
Blood is very important because it is the foundation of your Mind. It houses and anchors the Mind. In a modern way, this is the equivalent to feeding the brain, since Blood's first assignment is to nourish. So it makes sense that it also nourishes the Mind.
A Blood deficiency creates an unhappy or uneasy Mind. It also affects your sleep. If the Mind is not anchored by a lot of Blood, it floats instead of rests.
"Body Fluids Are Denser Fluids"
Body fluids are all the other fluids in the body. They include saliva, sweat, gastric juices, urine, mucous, and all the liquids in and around the cells and the tissues.
There are two types of body fluids. They are either lighter and clearer or they're heavier and thicker. They mostly moisten and nourish your hair, membranes, orifices, muscle, the organs, joints, brain, and bones.
Blood and body fluids are on a continuum of fluids, where Blood is most potent and most pure. The body fluids are less refined. The cleanest and clearest of the fluids become Blood when mixed with Qi from the Lungs.
If there's a lack or deficiency of fluids, whether Blood or Body Fluids, you end up with dryness in the body. The signs are dry skin, dry eyes, dry lips, etc. But there also may be feelings of heat since fluids (Yin) keep the body cool.
You've just learned a bit about the different forms of Qi. Another form of Qi are the Mind and the Five mental/spiritual aspects of the human being. You can read about those in the Psyche, in their own section.
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