Qi (pronounced chee) is the word used in Chinese Medicine to describe air, vitality, or oxygen inside and outside the body.
Qi is the non-physical aspect of your body that is involved in the health function of all your organs and systems.
This means that it’s vital for the function of all aspects of your fertility, and pregnancy health too. When your Qi is deficient your body struggles to function efficiently, and this can lead to a variety of fertility issues.
Qi is needed for every process in your body including cell creation and division, activity, and function – think of egg and sperm cells here too. If there isn’t enough Qi available then your cells, tissues, organs and systems of your body start to function at a lower and slower level, making them less efficient at supporting the processes they should support.
Your body slows down and works with less efficiency, and the ability of the eggs and sperm to function properly is also affected, making them weaker and underactive.
When Qi becomes more severely deficient you will likely present with hormone imbalance, typically with reduced Progesterone, Testosterone and/or FSH levels. In some cases the FSH can rise and present itself as being elevated, due to the ovaries or testes being underactive and sluggish or tired.
Pregnancy becomes harder with lower levels of Qi, and once pregnant your body will need higher levels of Qi to support the first 12-weeks of elevated Progesterone and growth of your baby.
Some key symptoms of Qi deficiency are:
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Lack of motivation
- Poor circulation
- Dizziness on standing up
- Poor appetite
- Loose bowel movements
- Sore lower back
- Low levels of hormones such as: Progesterone, Testosterone, and FSH
- Weight gain and problems with losing weight
- Slow metabolism
- Low blood pressure
- Under-active thyroid (Hypothyroidism)
Women will typically see one or more of the following:
- Short luteal phase
- Miscarriage (cases that are not related to genetic issues)
- Irregular cycles
- Erratic and constant dropping BBT chart temperatures
- Slow rise of BBT chart during and after ovulation
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation
- Prolonged menstrual bleeding (past 6 days)
- Pre-period spotting
Men will typically see one or more of the following:
- Poor sperm motility
- Low sperm count
- Slow semen liquefaction
Each person is conceived and created with a certain amount of Qi.
This amount is determined by the amount of Qi your parents had at the time of your conception.
This corresponds to the modern understanding that egg and sperm quality determine the health of the embryo, strength of the pregnancy, and health of the future baby. And it’s why in China people traditionally prepared for a future pregnancy to try to optimise the babies health before it is conceived.
Once you were conceived you used your mums Qi to further support your own Qi until you were born and able to breathe independently.
From birth on you were able to support your own Qi by taking it from the outside world through air, food, and fluids.
This will continue for the rest of your life, but the way you eat, sleep, live, breathe, think, act physically (exercise, rest etc) and many other factors – will determine how strong your Qi remains and this determines how well your body can function.
Qi deficiency is at the cause of many people’s fertility health issues and so this is an important aspect to strengthen. The good news is that it’s possible to strengthen it through the correct balance of the 5 Fertility Foundations.
Long term effects of Qi Deficiency:
If you experience Qi Deficiency over an extended time frame it will typically lead to one or several of the following patterns of imbalance: Qi Stagnation, Blood Stagnation, Blood Deficiency, Yang Deficiency or Dampness
Some common foods to treat Qi Deficiency are:
6 key ways to treat Qi deficiency at home:
1. Recharge your Qi correctly. Modern life often means that we deplete Qi quickly, negatively affecting our ability to function properly. This isn’t good for general or fertility health over the long-term .
Try to increase your Qi with a good 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and go to bed by around 10pm at the latest. This will allow a proper recharging and cleansing of your body that will serve you well the next day.
When you have times of higher stress, put a big focus on sleeping lots to counter balance the consumption of Qi.
2. Eat regularly and do not go hungry for long periods of time. If your Qi is very deficient it’s also advisable to avoid any form of fasting until the Qi is fully recovered.
3. Keep exercise to a low level in terms of high cardio workouts. Walk, swim (in warmish water), cycle gently, do yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi, and make sure you spend as much time outdoors in nature as you can. The more deeply you breathe the more Qi you take in, and this helps to build your Qi.
4. Keep stress to the lowest levels you can. If there are stressful situations that you can avoid, do so. If you can’t avoid them then try to simplify your life in other areas as much as you can to help ‘buffer’ the effects of the stress until it passes.
5. Practice mind-calming activities such as meditation or hypnosis, EFT (emotional freedom technique).
6. Avoid raw foods and eat at least 85-90% of your diet as cooked foods.
There are many more things that you can do at home but these are some of the key points.
If Qi deficiency is more deeply rooted I recommend using prescribed herbal medicine as this has a deeper and stronger Qi stengthening effect. Acupuncture will generally not help in raising the Qi and is not hugely helpful for this type of pattern when used alone.
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