Variously translated as "energy", "matter-energy", "vital force", or "life force", Qi may be thought of as matter on the verge of becoming energy, or energy on the verge of materializing. Qi is said to course through the meridians.

Defined functionally, Qi:

  1. Promotes movement in the BodyMind. All physical/mental activity are manifestations of Qi.
  2. Protects. Examples: Lung-Qi protects the organism from exterior pathogenic factors. Heart Qi protects the organism from internal emotional chaos.
  3. Transforms. Examples: Spleen Qi transforms food, fluids, and air into nutritive Qi. Kidney Qi transforms fluids. Heart qi transforms nutritive Qi into Blood.
  4. Transports. Examples: Spleen Qi transports food Qi . Lung Qi transports fluids to the skin. Stomach Qi transports food Qi . Liver Qi transports Qi in all directions.
  5. Holds. Examples: Retains blood in the vessels and holds organs in their proper place, especially in the abdominal region. (Basically a function of the Spleen).
  6. Warms. Example: This is a function of Yang Qi. Both Spleen-yang and Kidney-yang have the function of warming the body.


Calvin Dale Smith, BA, MSc, R-TCMP, R-Ac
Registered Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner
Riverside Acupuncture and Wellness Centre
2211 Riverside Dr., Suite 106
Ottawa, ON K1H 7X5