The Pathology of QiPathology of Qi

As well as the classification of Qi into its constituent types, one must also consider the pathology of Qi as well. As Qi is closely related to Blood in Chinese medicine, there are also close links between the pathology of Qi and the pathology of Blood. This can be broken down into four types:

  1. Qi Deficiency – A weakness or lack of Qi. Qi deficiency is a common TCM syndrome that is due to insufficient Qi. It is caused by either exhausting one’s levels of Qi by over exertion or by not replenishing one’s Qi enough. The manifestations of Qi deficiency are sallow complexion, apathy and lethargy and a low and weak voice. Qi deficiency may generalised or in a specific area such as a deficiency of Heart-Qi or a deficiency of Spleen-Qi etc.
  2. Qi Sinking – Arising from deficiency, Qi sinking when it should instead be stationary or rising. Qi will sink if it is deficient and generally results in prolapse. This applies mostly to Spleen-Qi.
  3. Qi Stagnation – A failure of Qi to move. Qi stagnation occurs when the smooth flow of Qi becomes disrupted and is a sign of imbalance and illness. Common signs of Qi stagnation are distension, fullness and pain.
  4. Qi Rebellion – Movement of Qi in the wrong direction. For example, Stomach-Qi rising and flowing upwards when it should be descending. In such an instance, it will lead to nausea and/or vomiting.

The pathology of Qi relates not only to the various types of Qi but also to the organs and channels as well.