Chi, or Qi (pronounced Chee), is the force that connects all things in the universe, according to traditional Chinese philosophy. Relative to humans, Chi is the life force that flows continuously through the body, maintaining balance and health. In other words, Chi carries vital force to all the body's organs and systems to enable them to work with each other harmoniously.
When Chi gets blocked
Various points along the energy channels correspond to specific points in the body. When these points go through trauma, the flow of Chi can be blocked. On one side of the blockage, Chi accumulates, while the other side experiences a devastating lack of the life force. This imbalance results in some form of physical or mental distress.
The trauma that brings on the blockages in energy flow is caused by many factors. Most commonly, this is caused by injury. When this happens, Chi is stopped from running its normal course. It is either diverted or is blocked completely.
Symptoms of blockage in the energy flow vary from lethargy to serious illness. Practitioners believe that nearly all illnesses, even cancer, can be eased using a therapy that follows the Chi philosophy. However, unblocking Chi is not a miracle cure.
Letting Chi flow freely again
There are several ways in which Chi blockages can be cleared to get the energy moving again. Self-help in the form of activities such as Tai Chi and Yoga are two of the best ways. Both involve slow, gentle movements that can be done even when the body is mostly immobile due to illness.
Tai Chi works by manipulating the energy physically with the movement of the body. Even if movement is limited, if the movements are done with the right measure of discipline and relaxation, it can produce profound effects.
On the other hand, Yoga helps regulate your breathing. Chi energy is activated by breathing in and breathing out mindfully. Breath itself is of great importance to the free-flow of Chi.
Meditation, the art of sitting quietly in relaxed contemplation, can also help ease blockages by stilling the mind and relaxing tension throughout. Both Tai Chi and Yoga are forms of physical meditation when the mind works with the body in focusing on performing each movement correctly.
A number of other therapies can also help the movement of Chi. This includes Reflexology, developed in China centuries ago, along with Acupressure and Acupuncture. Shiatsu, the Japanese form of Acupressure, works in the same way. In Reflexology, the feet are massaged, and various pressure points in the feet correspond to areas of the body. In a similar way, both Acupressure and Acupuncture work directly upon the channels in the body by applying pressure at certain points of the energy meridians, either with the hands, as in Acupressure, or with the use of needles, as in Acupuncture.
A skilled therapist is able to feel how the energy flows through the body with their hands. Using this information, they can judge where massage or pressure should be applied to increase and regulate the flow of Chi, ultimately to bring relief.
While there are several studies being done to further discover the influence of Chi on over-all health, some individuals have gone on and are applying this philosophy in their work. One example is the increasing use of Acupuncture on horses by veterinary surgeons in England. Acupuncture is seen to be very beneficial for the horses' health. And since the horses have no preconceived ideas about their treatment, but are still getting better because of it, it must follow that this method works.
Anyone who works actively to regulate and enhance the flow of Chi in their body is almost certain to receive some benefit from it. The body becomes more relaxed, tension is eased, pain relieved, bringing peace to the mind and raising the spirit.
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