What is Ch'i?
The following was taken directly from Inge Dougans book on reflexology
Ch'i is Chinese and means the "life force" energy that keeps us alive. The Chinese discovered that this ch'i circulates in the body along "meridians", similar to the blood, nerve and lymphatic circuits. This vital life force controls the workings of the main organs and systems of the body. It circulates from one organ to another. For each organ to maintain a perfect state of health, the ch'i energy must be able to flow freely along the meridians. If this is balanced, it is impossible to be ill in body, mind, or spirit. All illness is a result of an imbalance in the flow of energy.
Meridians are located throughout the body. They have been described as containing a free-flowing, colorless, noncellular liquid that may be partly actuated by the heart. Meridians have been measured and mapped by modern technological methods, electronically, thermally, and radioactively. With practice, they can be felt. There are specific accupuncture points along the meridians. These points are electromagnetic in character and consist of small oval cells called Bonham Corpuscles that surround the capillaries in the skin, the blood vessels, and the organs throughout the body. There are some 500 points that are most frequently used. they are stimulated in a definite sequence depending on the action required. Meridians are named by the live functions with which they seem to associate, so that this name is the same as that of many of the organs we are familiar with.
The Chinese maintain that the ch'i circulates in the meridians 24 times a day and 24 times a night. In a sense, there is only one single meridian that goes right around the entire body, but many different meridians are described according to their positions and functions. There are 12 main meridians, which are bilateral (paired) resulting in 24 separate pathways. Each meridian is connected and related to a specific organ from which it gets its name. It is also connected to a partner meridian and also an organ with which it has a specific mutual relationship.
Within our bodies the yin organs are those that are hollow and involved in absorption and discharge such as the stomach and the bladder; the yang organs are the dense, blood filled organs such as the heart, which regulate the body. There is constant interaction between the yin and yang forces and, if the yin/yang balance between the organs is interrupted, the flow of ch'i throughout the body will be affected and the person will fall ill.
Meridians are classified as yin or yang on the basis of the direction in which they flow on the surface of the body. Meridians interconnect deep within the torso and have an internal branch and a surface branch. The section worked on is the surface branch, which is accessible to touch techniques. Yang energy flows from the sun, and yang meridians run from the fingers to the face, or from the face to the feet. Yin energy from the earth flows from the feet to the torso and from the torso along the inside (yin side) of the arms to the fingertips. Since the meridian flow is actually one long continuous unbroken flow, the energy flows in one definite direction and from one meridian to another in a well-determined order. Because there is no beginning or end to this flow, the order of meridians is represented as a wheel. As we go around this wheel following the meridian line, the flow moves from torso to fingertips to the face and to the feet before returning to the torso.
Comments by Marcy on Ch'i
Our ch'i is our health and this ch'i is kept open and flowing by proper nutrition, positive attitude, exercise and a loving heart. The 12 meridians are lung, large intestine, stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, circulation, thyroid (or triple burner), gall bladder and liver.
Energy Balancing and Relexology are modalities I use to work the reflex points along these 12 meridians. Thus far, all my clients report feeling much more energy the following day. When I am working the meridians, the points which are tender are indicating some blockage. I stimulate the reflex point (there are 3 points along each meridian for this work) for 30 seconds, working it at a tolerable level for the client. Most of these points can be easily accessed by the client, providing they have the flexibility to work on their feet, and I encourage them to do so twice a week, or until the tenderness subsides.