Acupuncture

Thoughts on Qi and the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach

Dr. Carl Clarkson • January 5, 2021

When looking at the Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) approach to acupuncture it is very interesting to hear the concept of Qi and how it is applied. Qi is something that most people who have ever watched television or at least a martial arts film at some point in life has probably heard of; however, not many people understand the importance of this to the Chinese. “Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body to channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi” (NHS,2019). When hearing about things such as life forces and flowing energy it left me quite sceptical regarding the TCM approach.

Looking at the TCM approach you begin to understand the logic of Qi and the Chinese approach of it being the life force within us that controls the good, bad and ying and yang forces within us. Using things such as Taichi, Gua Sha, and many more ancient arts the Chinese aim to maintain ones health with this manipulation of Qi. I cannot pretend to fully understand and know the exact detail behind everything as I do not have a degree and studied in Traditional Chinese medicine, however the concept is interesting to say the least.

When discussing Deqi during the acupuncture course I did believe that it was quite an interesting topic. When initially asked regarding if it would hurt having these needles inserted into us we were told that it should not feel sharp or intense enough to be described as pain, however the aim of the treatment is to elicit a “weird feeling” that an unnamed person previously described to Carl as “like holes have been drilled into a pound coin and pushed through water”. Obviously on hearing this my scepticism grew considerably, however when speaking regarding my experience. I would describe it initially as rather dull, however this increased gradually over the space of a few minutes. It felt hard to explain but the build up increased with the slightest of movements even when just a flicker of muscle fibre activity there was an instant increase in this weird feeling.

The feeling of Deqi itself was bearable despite the growing ache, however not intense enough to be described as pain exactly as prewarned. Although this is the case it brings around the question of was it worth it? In my case the improvements I saw after the course were very surprising. I have spent a long time using a combination of foam roller and stretching techniques to manage my regular back issues stemming from years of rugby, however the improvement in this pain was undeniable. Following a day of treatment into the lower back with acupuncture the pain appeared to reduce significantly. The general tightness and aches that I was used to over so many years were no longer there. Although my understanding of Qi and this bringing of Qi is still limited, after experiencing this improvement in such a short space of time my views on Qi and this life force that flows through our bodies has changed from a more sceptical view to a more interested view.

Course Attendee | Physiotherapist

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