Qi or Chi? What’s it all about?


Chi, or qi, translated literally as air or breath, can be described as the lifeforce of all things. It is present in animate and inanimate things, natural and man-made, internally or externally to your home or space, even inside and outside your body.


It is in the power of the sun, the moon and climate and weather conditions and determines the quality of environments and landscapes. You cannot see it, hear, physically feel or touch it; it has no form and is invisible, yet it can play an important role in our lives.

The state of chi or qi energy can be positive, flowing, nourishing or can be negative, stagnant and decaying. Dying is a disintegration of qi while death is the complete absence of qi altogether.

Qi in Other Cultures

It is not only defined in Chinese culture, but in other cultures as well to some degree, though it may come under a different name. For example, in India it is called ‘prana’, Japan ‘ki’, Hawaii ‘mana’ and Africa ‘ashe’.

To Native Indians it is ‘the Great Spirit’ and to Christians ‘the Holy Spirit’. To the study of feng shui it is simply referred to as chi or qi and is the very foundation of this ancient art.

The Affects of Qi on Life

When qi is fresh, alive and vibrant, everything around it is in harmony and balance. In the home it can encourage prosperity and happiness.

In the body it encourages good health and longevity. In an office it can encourage good interactions and morale, high productivity and success for the business.

However, when chi becomes stale, fatigued or damaging, it can promote bad luck, hostility and illness. Certain blockages of the free flowing qi can be detrimental for one’s health, relationships and success.

In and around a family it can advocate arguments or tension, in a bedroom a stale relationship and in a study or work environment it can result in induced stress and possible long-term failure or breakdown.

The longer the time that qi is hindered or obstructed or opposed, the more devastating the buildup of negative effects.

Qi and Health

In tai chi, the slow precise flow of movement of the body is designed to support the flow of chi through the body. Similarly in chi kung, the exercises protect and nourish chi.

Both these examples are ways in which people can effectively create better health and in essence prolong their life by the harness of this positive chi or qi energy.

Just as an acupuncturist diagnoses the energy imbalances in the body and works to unblock the bad energy which can otherwise lead to pain or disease, so to in feng shui do we analyze our surroundings to identify energy imbalances and work to create more free-flowing qi for better health, love, wealth and happiness.

Qi and Feng Shui

We know through feng shui that the placement of doors, windows, entrances and exits are important. Also the items in a room and how they are arranged and how they relate to each other are crucial factors.

This is because these things can aid or obstruct the flow of qi in positive or negative ways. This in turn can have a direct influence on our moods, emotions, thoughts and subsequently our lives.

It is up to us to decide what we want and to take greater control in creating a more beneficial environment in which to thrive by harnessing the positive qi and encouraging the free flow of qi energy.