Chi is an ancient Daoist concept that refers to the primary force that forms, connects, and governs the interplay of everything in existence. It is the basic power of the universe that enables things to go, move, change, shift, and transform. Chi flows through everything, including us, traveling within our bodies along established pathways called channels. These channels form very early in our development, before organs and structures, and are like the energetic blueprint upon which everything else is laid out. This is why everything in the body generally runs in the same direction, head to toe: nerves, blood vessels, bones, muscle fibers, connective tissue, even the way we process food and water. Acupuncture points are locations on these channels where the chi comes closest to the surface and can be tapped with specialized acupuncture needles. The theory of chi is very similar to the theory of energy as it is understood in physics; everything is a different form of chi and chi can neither be created nor destroyed, only transferred or converted to another form. For us, it is very important to keep our chi flowing by keeping our bodies moving and to replenish it with rest and nourishing foods. Below are the specific functions of chi in the human body.


Chi Transforms

Chi is the force that powers our ability to transform air, food, and water into energy and nourishment. It is also what underlies both the subtle daily shifts of growth and aging and the major physiological transformations of life like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. In medicine, chi is also what helps us to transform physical and emotional disease and imbalance back to wellness and balance. 
Chi Pathways of the Body

Chi Moves

Chi is the force behind the movement of all things in our body, from the pumping of blood and the transmission of nerve impulses to the processing of food through the many different phases of digestion. In medicine, ensuring that chi flows freely and uninhibited is essential to the optimal functioning of all organs and systems. Chi is also what enables us to be emotionally moved, stirring strong emotions deep inside of us.

Chi Holds and Lifts

Chi is the force that gives us structural integrity. It anchors all of your tissues and organs to your skeleton, holding them in place, lifting them up against gravity. It also holds the blood in the vessels, holds a fetus in the uterus, and controls the holding and releasing of substances to the exterior such as sweat and urine. In this respect, chi is essential for health, preventing organ prolapse, hemorrhage, miscarriage, and the loss of vital fluids. If our chi is strong it also gives us emotional integrity and lifts our spirits. 

Chi Protects

Chi is like an energetic barrier that surrounds you and buffers you against the negative influences of the exterior environment. One of its most important functions is to guard you against pathogens like viruses, air-born irritants like pollutants, and allergens, as well as the negative effects of exposure to the extremes of temperature and weather. To avoid illness it is essential to have a strong defensive chi. Chi also makes us emotionally resilient, helping us maintain strong personal boundaries, protecting us from those who want to harm us emotionally.

Chi Warms

As warm-blooded creatures, we are especially dependent on this function of chi.  It helps us maintain our body temperature and protects us from the cold.  It fuels all of our metabolic functions, helping us do things like grow and burn food for energy.  It even helps ensure the free flow of blood and other fluids by keeping them warm. Chi is also what enables us to be emotionally warm, a quality that is essential for love, friendship, empathy, sensitivity, and kindness.
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