The World of Chi

wind and solar energy to compare with Chee or life force energy

Chi or Qi (Chee) is the life force energy that is in all living things. If you have heard of the word chi before, then you probably know it is an Eastern term, or maybe you know more specifically that it is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even though the word chi is unfamiliar to most, the thing it represents, energy, is widely known. Some forms of energy include thermal, kinetic, light, electrical, and nuclear. Energy is all around us and even inside us!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) began in China and has been around for thousands of years. During that time, those who practiced TCM studied the chi in the bodies of animals by watching the world around them. Chi consists of two main aspects, and the simplest way to explain them is to use the well-known symbol of yin and yang (pronounced yong). You can clearly see that one side is dark and the other is light, but each has a piece of the other inside of it. Yin and yang are opposites, yet they are in constant balance with each other. They are related and cannot exist without the other or death will occur. They are interdependent and infinitely divisible. Lastly, they can transform easily, like how day turns to night and night turns to day.

yin and yang symbols showing balance in the world of chi
The symbol to the left is one you might recognize as the yin yang symbol. Its real name is Tai Ji. Yin and Yang are represented as white and black or light and dark in this symbol. The symbol to the right is Poll to Pastern's logo. It represents balance just like the Tai Ji symbol, but shows yin and yang as water and fire.
crops need sunlight and nighttime just like we need both night and day
Crops need a balance of sunlight and water to grow.

What are the characteristics of chi?

Characteristics of yin are dark, night, cold, wet, passive, descending, solid, weak, and rest. Characteristics of yang are light, day, warming, dry, aggressive, ascending, hollow, strong, and active. Even though these characteristics seem very opposite, they are both needed in a balanced environment. For example, crops need sunlight and warmth of day, but crops also need the cool of night and water to grow. TCM uses the same characteristics of yin and yang to discern disharmonies in the animal.

There are several types of chi

Like energy, there are various forms of chi:

  • source (yuan)

  • nutrient (ying)

  • pectoral (zong)

  • defensive (wei)

  • immune (zhong)

Source Chi or Yuan Chi

Source chi is the chi that the animal is born with. Source chi originates from the parents and is passed to the child. The source chi you are born with is the only source chi you will ever receive. Although you cannot replenish source chi, you can help it last longer by living a healthy life. This is why source chi is called the root of life. In TCM, source chi is known to be stored in the kidneys. You can see the relationship of source chi and kidneys when you see the similarities of disharmony: If your kidneys start to fail, your health begins to decline. If one’s source chi diminishes, so will their health.

cat eating food we provide nutrient chi to the body

Nutrient chi or ying chi

Nutrient chi is the chi that nourishes the body. It is an acquired chi, meaning it is acquired through the environment. The food that is eaten is transformed into a chi that our bodies use to produce blood and nutrients that will be circulated throughout the body.

Pectoral chi or zong chi

Pectoral chi is the refined oxygen that we breathe into our lungs. It also is an acquired chi. Both nutrient chi and pectoral chi are needed for not only their own specific reasons, but also to create defensive chi or wei chi. It is the first line of defense for the body. It helps to keep out the pathogens that may be harmful to the body.

Immune chi or zhong chi

Immune chi is the body’s ability to healthfully cope within its environment.

Acupressure can help support each form of chi. If your pet or horse is on the verge of a cold, for instance, we can support immune chi to help the body fight back.

balanced rocks on the beach to represent balance

What are the functions of chi?

The functions of chi are important to know since it is the reason acupressure and acupuncture are around. Chi moves and circulates vital substances. Vital substances moved by chi are blood, body fluids, spirit (mental attitude), essence (material basis of the body), and chi itself. It also creates body heat to warm the body and defends the body by supporting the internal and external immune system. Chi is the manifestation of life and the proper functioning of the zang-fu organs (the internal organs that are connected by meridians in the body). Acupressure and acupuncture both serve to promote a healthy body, and if there is disharmony, these holistic practices serve to help bring balance back to the body.

All living creatures have chi

Horses, dogs, cats, humans, and all other living creatures have the same types of chi, meridians, and acu-points. In fact, we can use acupressure and acupuncture on all animals! Poll to Pastern caters to canines, equines and felines, but it is important to know this holistic practice can be used on every living creature. Acupressure is a natural and holistic way to bring balance back to the body.

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