A Practical Look at Qi and Energy
Paolo Propato, L.Ac. and Grace Rollins, L.Ac., licensed acupuncturists at Bridge Acupuncture in Doylestown, PA, sit down to discuss the energetics of acupuncture and what it is like to work and train in their field of medicine.
Paolo: Acupuncture is said to be a medicine that harmonizes “Qi” (“Chi” or “Ki”). Can you describe Qi from your experience as a practitioner?
Grace: Many people think of Qi as “energy,” but I think that’s too materialistic of a translation. It’s interesting that one of the many direct translations of the character for “Qi” is "weather," if you add the symbol for “heaven” just before it. In other words, the Qi of the heavens is weather. So to me, Qi is basically a very useful term that sums up certain complex processes that together, create recognizable phenomena in the body. If you try to think of Qi as some kind of literal substance or force you’re just going to frustrate people interested in an anatomical corollary, because you won’t find a measurable “energy” that corresponds to what people who practice Asian medicine and martial arts are talking about.
So how would you describe weather? It’s electromagnetic and gravitational relationships between elements and molecules; it's also the interaction of all those molecules with a wide spectrum of solar and celestial radiation, as well as with the gravitational and electromagnetic fields of the earth and moon. On top of that it’s the outcome of complex pressure systems, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, so many chaotic processes, all overlapping and influencing each other. And even with all this complexity, we can study it, characterize it, make tenuous predictions about it.
“Qi” for acupuncturists is like “weather” as it relates to the body. And the same way that we recognize many patterns and phenomena in weather, we learn how to recognize patterns in Qi as acupuncturists, which aids us in influencing the functions of the body to promote health.
P: What do acupuncture methods actually do?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.