Recently I was published in the Meridians Journal of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.[1] The article I published reviewed a patient I treated in my clinic with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Stay tuned to my articles because next month I will review the use of acupuncture with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

In the article, I reviewed the patient’s case from a Traditional Chinese medicine perspective and western medical perspective. This begs the question, is there congruence between Traditional Chinese medicine and allopathic medicine?

I find that using Traditional Chinese medical terms like qi (pronounced chee) tends give the impression
that I practice a mystical medicine from the deepest forests of China. Previous explanations of qi describe it as vital energy moving through mysterious invisible pathways throughout the body. [2]

Translators left qi in the ancient Mandarin because it has many contextual uses.[3] On the other hand, the term xue (pronounced shuay) was translated as the word blood because it had one contextual use – blood. Unfortunately, the concept that qi is energy is incorrect since qi has at least 40 different contextual uses.[4]

So what are the typical accurate contextual uses for the term qi? When qi was used it referred to the normal function of an organ, oxygenation of a tissue, or the movement of body fluid.[5]

From a modern perspective, the movement of the body fluid blood keeps organs functioning properly. For example, if your liver (organ) lacks blood circulation (oxygenated body fluid) then your liver will not function properly. The ancient concept of qi was a way to convey the vital life process of circulating oxygenated nutrient rich blood.

Article Authored by
Dr. Mark VanOtterloo LAc
Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine