What Is Qi?

Chinese character for Qi

Energy of Life

Qi (pronounced chē) is the energy that fuels living – it’s the circulating life force whose existence and properties are the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine.

In Chinese philosophy, we are born with Qi, or prenatal energy, which we get from our mothers, and we receive energy from various outside sources such as the food we eat, our environments, and from rest.

Worldwide Concept

Qi is Chinese — similar words and concepts can be found throughout a wide range of culture and history, including:

  • Prana in Hindu/Sanskrit  
  • Ki in Japanese
  • Pneuma in ancient Greek
  • Lung in Tibetan
  • Mana in Hawaiian
  • Ruah in Hebrew
  • Bioelectricity in contemporary scientific language
  • The Force in the pop cultural language of Star Wars

Cultivating Qi: The Root of Energy, Vitality, and Spirit
David Clippinger

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