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Understanding Qi & Simple Ways to Boost It for Better Health

Have you come to a point in life where you’re searching the meaning of life? Do you think life is all about chasing after success and wealth or just living to meet the expectations of others? If that is you, I invite you to join me on this journey of self-realization where you will be able to find your answers.

“Qi, in Chinese philosophy, believes it is the vital energy and is described as the body’s innate intelligence – the intangible yet measurable way of how one maintains what’s known as homeostasis or the body’s ability to regulate its internal environment to create good health.”

If you’re a fan of kung-fu flicks or have tried acupuncture or visited a traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor, it is most certain that you have come across the term ‘qi’ (pronounced as ‘chee’) before.

So, what is qi? In most major cultural traditions, qi is identified as a ‘vital energy’ that helps guide someone’s physical and mental process. In the Indian culture, qi is known as prana, while in Greek, it is called pneuma.

Qi, in Chinese philosophy, believes it is the vital energy and is described as the body’s innate intelligence – the intangible yet measurable way of how one maintains what’s known as homeostasis or the body’s ability to regulate its internal environment to create good health.

At the same time, do you know everything is based on qi? And do know there are such things as blockages of qi, deficiencies of qi and even too much of qi that could cause illnesses.

That said, let’s delve deeper to learn if we have a qi deficiency. First of all, how can you tell if you have enough qi?

To know if you have sufficient qi in your body is by typically seeing yourself to be both outwardly healthy and energetic.

People who have a balanced qi can quickly fight off a virus or recover quickly from an injury – they have good endurance, digestion, and immunity as well as a clear state of mind.

Those who do not have enough qi are easily to be fatigued and might feel as though some of their body systems are not working properly. This could include anything from difficulty to digest food, lack of appetite, catching colds easily due to allergies, being anaemic and suffering from depression. Additionally, a qi deficiency can also be emotional as being frightened can scatter your qi and anger can stagnate it.

On the other hand, there is also the possibility to have an excess of qi. People with excess qi may appear irritable, stressed or tensed.

So, how do you regulate your qi?

As qi is involved in all of the body’s processes, there are various of ways you can regulate it.

If you breathe well, eat well and sleep well, your qi will likely be good. However, if you don’t do these three things, your qi may not be able to flow effectively and likely to continue to struggle with the medical problems you have.

Here are some ways to help regulate your qi:
1. Get enough sleep
Being tired is a key sign of a qi deficiency. So, getting sufficient restful sleep – around seven to nine hours per night, is essential to balance your qi. In addition, taking life more slowly can be a vital part to balance your qi – if you’re always busy and always on the go, your qi is highly likely out of balance. Do avoid multi-tasking and remember to pause when necessary.

2. Work on your breathing
One way to improve qi deficiency is through purposeful breathing. And if you find it hard to take deep breaths, you may be experiencing anxiety – which could contribute to qi deficiency. There are many different breathing exercises you can do to regulate your qi. One is belly breathing, also known as, abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. This technique can be done either standing up or lying down.

Here’s how to do it:

  •  Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose.
  •  As you breathe in, think of your belly expanding.
  •  Let that breath enter your stomach, making your stomach full.
  • Relax your abdominal muscles.
  • Exhale through your nose.

3. Try tai chi or qigong
Gentle exercise is an important component to mange your qi. Not only does it help with stress, it can also give your body the light motion it needs. Two common forms of martial arts used to balance qi are tai chi and qigong. These exercises can help with breathing, knee and back pain, relaxation, mental health and more.

4. Yoga and Meditation
Combining yoga asanas and mindfulness breathing can help one regulate and balance “Qi” in the body. Yin Yoga in particular can help remove block “Qi” that are stuck in our muscles and tissues due to long-term emotional baggage, etc. Once the block “Qi” is removed, it also opens up the channel for “Qi” to flow smoothly results in lightness of body and mind.

5. Try acupuncture
The objective of acupuncture is to move around your stuck qi and balance your body overall energy. If you are suffering from physical pain as a result of stuck or deficient qi, such as migraine, headaches, lower back pain or osteoarthritis, acupuncture could be worth trying.

6. Balance your diet
A healthy balance diet is crucial to have a balance qi. Most of the body’s qi comes from food, so nourishing your body with healthy food that heal and promote digestive health is vital. Nutritional therapies to balance one’s qi involved avoiding cold food, raw food, fried food, dairy products and junk food. Cooking your food through steaming, grilling and roasting is advised as ingesting warming food such as chicken,
ginger, wholegrains, bamboo and mushrooms help regulate your qi.

7. Take care of your mental health
The mind-body connection is crucial to regulate your qi. If your mental health is out of balance, your body will be too. It is important that you take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, do consider consulting a mental health professional for counselling. At the same time, do also apply some strategies said above such as acupuncture, exercising, and getting sufficient restful sleep can help manage your mental health. Meanwhile, do ensure you also maintain strong, positive social connections as loneliness can cause a range of negative physical symptoms such as increased inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones.


Michael Teh, 7th February 2020.