Holistic wellness
by Eloise Lonobile

Qi, the dance of the Universe

«Imagine being by the sea on a sunny spring day and squinting until you leave just a small crack to look at the reflections of the sun on the surface of the water moved by the wind. You will be able to see hundreds, thousands of small "stars", which seem to explode in a flash of joy at each moment, and then recreate themselves in the next. Perhaps then, by moving your gaze from the surface of the sea to the sky, especially if there is wind, you can also catch something similar in the air: like small flashes of light that fill the blue sky. Imagine closing your eyes and listening, after having calmed down and concentrated by bringing your attention to the breath; you may then, at some point, feel that the whole environment around you continues to be permeated with that vibrating and pulsing. And, if you remain with your eyes closed long enough, you may perhaps perceive as if your body, losing some of the solidity and shape that we usually attribute to it, is participating in this sort of dance of the Universe that surrounds us.

Here then our borders with the outside world become less certain, or perhaps dissolve completely. Until we can come to no longer perceive ourselves as distinct entities from the environment that surrounds us and everything begins to pulsate, sparkle and dance. There is dance without any dancer.

This is experiencing directly and concretely what the ancient Chinese called Qi.»

Free translation from: F. Bottalo - R. Brotzu, Fondamenti di medicina tradizionale cinese

L'Olio di Mandorle Dolci

As you can guess from this wonderful description, it is difficult to give an exact definition, in Western and rational terms, of what Qi (pronounced "╩ži" in its oldest form) is. In a completely approximate way, however, we can say that, in Chinese culture, it represents the energy or "vital breath" that permeates the entire cosmos and that manifests itself in all living beings. The sun that shines, the waves of the sea crashing on the rocks, the wind that blows, the petals of a flower that open, are all manifestations of the Qi of nature, just like man is. Thus, according to ancient Chinese medicine, if the Qi in a man is lacking, we feel tired and exhausted; if, on the contrary, the Qi is abundant and its movement harmonious, we feel strong and balanced.

«Heaven in me is De (Virtue). Earth in me is Qi (Energy). When De flows and Qi spreads, it is life»
(From the ancient text "Lingshu")

Its ideogram represents, in its most concrete form, the steam rising above a pot full of rice, and therefore expresses the idea of movement and transformation of matter into nourishing energy. In a broader sense, it represents the breath, the vital breath, the smoke that transcends cooking and fire, therefore the combustion of matter and its ascent to heaven. The combustion, the movement, the explosion of life (lower left part) is however somehow enclosed (right part) in a form that hinders its dispersion, its destruction. Qi is therefore energy and continuous movement but also containment and distillation of energy and therefore represents life itself.

Traditional Chinese medicine deals with the state of health of man when there is an imbalance in his fundamental elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) but, like all oriental medicines, even only with the maintenance of his well-being. To do this, it uses numerous forms of applications: acupuncture, moxi, cupping, qi gong, etc. But even the massage, which is the oldest of the wellness therapies ever experienced by man, is a fundamental part of it.

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