Qi Energy and the Acupuncture Meridians

At some point during the course of treatment, most people will ask

"how does Traditional Acupuncture work?"

This is difficult to explain purely in western scientific terms, as the foundation of all acupuncture treatment relies on understanding the dynamics of the Life-force energy, which the ancient Chinese referred to as Qi (Ch'i).

This living, vital, transformative and health-giving energy is said to be rooted in the organs and moves through the body along the acupuncture channels or 'meridians'. 

Qi Energy

Qi is the fundamental life-energy of the Universe, which permeates everything that lives. It was known to all of the world's ancient systems of medicine and philosophy, and referred to by various names:
  • In Indian Yoga, it is called Prana
  • This became known by the Theosophists as the Etheric Force.
  • The ancient Egyptians referred to it as the Ka
  • Until quite recently, even modern western medicine acknowledged the concept of the Vis Medicatrix Naturae - the Healing Force of Nature

We know, from the discoveries of Einstein and quantum physics, that everything is energy, with a measurable energy-field within and around it. Many physicists are now going further to say that "matter does not exist, all that exists is consciousness".

This has profound implications regarding health and healing. If everything is energy and consciousness, then by understanding how to change the energy dynamics in a system such as the human body, this can also bring about a change in a person's mental and emotional outlook and attitude.

 Healthy Body - Healthy Mind

It means too, that there is no separation between our minds and our bodies, which was profoundly understood by the founders of Chinese Medicine. They understood that if you treat the body, you will affect the mind, and if you treat the mind, you will affect the body.

Only in the last 400 years of Cartesian thinking in the West, has there been the concept that the mind and body are somehow separate. This has led to a deep split within the collective western psyche, producing all sorts of unbalanced consequences when such fragmented thinking has been applied in the fields of philosophy, religion, science, medicine and our approach to the natural world.

By treating a person's Qi, acupuncturists treat the mind and body simultaneously. As physical symptoms improve, then we inevitably feel better in ourselves; similarly, if we can be helped to feel better in ourselves, this can help our symptoms to improve also. 

Blocks to treatment

When symptoms don't improve, it is usually because there is something blocking the flow of Qi, inhibiting its healing potential. There may be many such blocks to healing, such as:

  • genetic or inherited factors
  • a deep or unconscious belief, which conflicts with the healing process
  • any residual shock or trauma in the system
  • the unresolved remnants of previous illnesses or operations
  • pathogens that have become stuck in the organs, or tissues
  • the results of previous wrongly administered, or traumatic treatments
  • previous treatments, which have merely suppressed symptoms, rather than treated the causes
  • any build up of chemical toxins
  • any build up of emotional toxins, produced by long-term fear, anger, grief, sadness, lack of self-esteem, etc
  • poor lifestyle, insufficient exercise or poor diet
  • long-term difficulties in relationships at home or at work
  • and so on

Body, Emotions, Mind & Spirit

To the ancient Chinese, Qi was the coherent life-force in Nature that binds together and moves through all levels of our being. Originating at the level of our spirit, vital spark or essence, it flows through and animates all levels of the mind, emotions and body.

When the flow of Qi energy is directed, by the skillful use of acupuncture needles, to create a healthy balance between the spirit, mind, emotions and body, and between all of the different organ systems and functions of the body, this will inevitably result in greater levels of health and immunity from disease. When Qi flows in a way that brings all aspects of our being back into balance, we will remain strong, vibrant, positive and healthy.


Acupuncture Meridians

Tradition and experience teaches that there are 14 major acupuncture meridians or channels in the body, along which the Qi energy flows. Twelve of these originate in the main organs and are linked with their associated systems (eg: lungs and skin, heart and circulation, etc). Two others serve as the main 'reservoirs' of energy for the 12 organ meridians.

In addition, there are a number of minor connecting channels which act as links between the main meridians. There are also 8 Extra-ordinary meridians, linked with our early development in the embryo.

Together, all of the meridians form a complete, integrated system, with the Qi of each meridian flowing freely into the next, providing energy and enhancing the free-flow of blood and nutrients to all parts of the body.

Acupuncture Points

The acupuncture points that lie along the meridians, at specific locations, each have a particular effect on the movement and flow of Qi around the body. Some points are useful for clearing and dispersing disease pathogens, or accumulations of heat (inflammation), cold (rigidity or stiffness), dampness (fluid retention), or stagnation (congestion); other points are more useful for strengthening and energising the organs, the mind or emotions; some points are known to have a specific effect of raising ones spirits and helping to restore a more positive, optimistic and creative outlook on life.

During treatment, combinations of points are chosen that will help to clear any blocks to the free-flow of Qi, and then strengthen, nourish and enhance any weakened organs and tissues as well as supporting the person's underlying constitution.