What is Qi?

Why are you able to breathe? Although the process seems simple, there are many different answers to this question, each of which is correct in its own perspective.

  • An M.D. would explain the intricacies of the autonomic nervous system, the physics of negative air pressure, the structure of the lungs' aveoli, and other technical aspects of the anatomy and physiology involved.
  • Someone in the general public might attribute the act of breathing to the soul. (Although Traditional Chinese Medicine does has the concept of soul, it's not exactly related to this question.)
  • A Licensed Acupuncturist will tell you that you can breathe because the Lung Qi is sufficient, meaning the Lungs have enough energy to carry out the action of breathing. As a contrasting example, someone with deficient Lung Qi might have shortness of breath.

In the big picture, Qi is what makes up the universe - think of how even the smallest atoms in a solid object like a desk are technically all still moving - but most people use Qi more or less interchangeably with energy because it's easier to understand. In our bodies, Qi constantly circulates through our meridians with our Blood, and just as there are different types of energy - nuclear, solar, potential, kinetic, etc. - there are different types of Qi in our bodies, all of which have their own important part to play in our overall health and wellness.


Our day-to-day Qi comes from the air we breathe and the food we eat, so by practicing breathing exercises like Qi Gong or meditation and eating nutritious foods, we provide our bodies with the energy they need to function. Sometimes, though, the body is so muddled with our unhealthy lifestyle choices, that it forgets how to harness this energy on its own, and that's where acupuncture, herbal medicine, and a more targeted diet approach can make a huge difference!

Kathleen Ellerie is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the owner of Beachside Community Acupuncture. She loves providing affordable acupuncture to the residents of Addison, Dallas, and Farmers Branch, Texas, and educating the general public on how acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can treat everything from pain to infertility to stress and beyond. Click "Book Now" at the top of this page to book an appointment or feel free to contact her at (214) 417-2260.