Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) focus on the flow of qi in the body, and the entire model of the body in this form of medicine focuses on qi. So what is qi? Pronounced chee, it's the vital force that informs and animates all living things, and according to Chinese medicine, qi flows along channels or pathways called meridians.
TCM practitioners believe that the body contains 12 major meridians that flow to the various organs and allow for energy and messages throughout the body. These meridians can become blocked, which prevents the body from regulating itself and makes the patient unwell. Practitioners focus on unblocking these meridians through the use of acupuncture, acupressure, breathing exercises, posture changes, diet changes and herbal medications.
Chinese medicine practitioners have also identified hundreds of points along the meridians that affect various organs and functions in the body. By treating these points, the model indicates that the organs or functions associated with these points should also function properly.
In this model, qi is directly related to the blood, as it is carried in the blood and nurtured through the blood. Losing blood can cause a qi deficiency, which will manifest in illness or a fever. Understanding the relationship between qi and the blood has helped these practitioners choose appropriate treatments for patients interested in pursuing Chinese treatments for various medical conditions.