Updated: May 29, 2019
Qi. It is a big one. It is everything.
Jing (Essence), Shen (Mind) and Blood are all but different manifestations of Qi. As Maciocia says
Although Qi remains fundamentally the same, it 'puts on different hats' in different places and changes its form according to the place it is in and which of its different functions it is assuming.
Even though Qi manifests in many different ways, it's core functions are:
WARMING ~ all physiological processes depend on warming e.g. Body Fluids need warmth to transport, transform and excrete. The source for warming is Kidney Yang and the Minister of Fire.
TRANSPORTING ~ Qi transports substances anywhere in the body e.g. Spleen Qi transports Gu Qi.
RAISING ~ ensures body is held up e.g. Spleen Qi raises organs up.
HOLDING ~ Qi holds fluids and Blood in place and so they do not 'leak' e.g. Kidney Qi and Bladder Qi hold urine.
DEFENDING ~ defensive Qi (Wei Qi) protects the body from External Pathogenic Factors.
TRANSFORMING ~ Qi transforms food and fluid into more subtle forms of matter.
The picture below is from my shoddy attempts to work through all the various forms and what they each do. It is easy to see how Qi can be affected by external factors - which is why what we eat is so important as it is the source for all Post Heavenly Qi (with Da Qi).
The ways in which we might see problems with Qi are:
QI DEFICIENCY is often caused due to overwork or poor diet/irregular eating. Stomach, Spleen, Lungs and Kidney Qi are prone to being deficient.
QI SINKING can happen when Qi is deficient. This may mean organ prolapses. Spleen and Kidney Qi are most like to be affected by Qi sinking.
QI STAGNANT occurs when Qi rails to move and it stagnates. This pattern mostly occurs to Liver Qi (as it ensures the free flow of Qi to all organs, in all directions) but also to Intestines and Lungs.
QI REBELLIOUS is when Qi goes in to the opposite direction to the one that it is meant to be going. Stomach Qi (whose Qi should flow down) we may see nausea / vomiting.
But not all is lost! In fact we can work on our Qi in six ways to help it with its functions.
ACUPUNCTURE and other forms of bodywork stimulate Qi flow in the body and facilitate internal connection.
QI GONG and other forms of movement work help regulate Qi flow throughout the body.
BREATH WORK emphasises connection and flow, exchanging Da Qi with the universe.
Intake of FOOD OR HERBS and expulsion of waste materials is a fundamental exchange of energy with the universe.
Expression of SELF and COMMUNICATION with others, be it creative or emotional, intellectual or intuitive, is essential for maintaining optimum Qi flow.
MEDITATION is a state of mind of connectedness with the now
There is so much more to Qi. I am still (and will always) be learning more and more about it.
If you ever have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.