Qi Flow Theory

Traditional Chinese Medicine evolved from the ancient worldview that all things are interconnected and interrelating all the time.

Interestingly, after many years, the scientific community has recognized that this worldview is a very important truth and in modern terms it is called a “Systems approach to understanding biological systems”. Two thousand years ago the ancient practitioner did not have tools to measure phenomena like we do today.  Instead they had to rely on the interpretations of phenomena through their senses: sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing.

Through their keen investigation of life the ancients discovered patterns and observed that everything in nature is in movement, a sea of change. Observing this they recognized that there is a force that creates change, a vitality that is inherent in all things, the early doctors called this “Qi” sometimes spelled “Chi.”. From the Chinese Medicine point of view, everything in nature has its own Qi, Matter, heat, cold, blood, fluids, are all different kinds of Qi.

This Qi, from the TCM experience, flows in 12 main pathways and is stored in other areas called vessels. One way to conceptualize this is to imagine that if one cell produces a tiny bit of energy as a byproduct of living, then trillions of cells will produce a field of energy. This field of energy, like all phenomena in nature will want to flow. Just as water from a melting glacial field on top of a mountain will flow down the mountain along the path of least resistance, similarly in the body, the pathways for energy flow will occur along the path of least resistance. Since we as humans all share the same anatomical landscape, then this energy will flow in the same patterns in individuals. In acupuncture, these pathways in are called the meridian system. Points where energy along these flows pool or accumulate, are called acupuncture points. These points have different electrical properties from surrounding tissues and therefore can be located with electrical devices that measure the electrical resistance of skin.

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