Qi (pronounced chee) is the Chinese Medicine word used to describe life force, vitality – the “stuff” that creates life.

Qi must always flow efficiently through the body to properly support the thousands of functions required of the organs and systems every day.

If the flow of Qi slows down it is regarded as being a Qi constraint pattern.

The Chinese character used to describe this condition 鬱 (yù) is often wrongly translated into English as “stagnation”, when it really means that the Qi is constrained or “rootbound” as my classical Chinese teacher Dr Sabine Wilms translates it.

It is literally like the roots of a plant that end up bound up together in a dense mass, that results in the Qi and other things being restricted.

It is not “stagnation” like murky stagnant water, which is a different type of presentation. 

Constraint typically results in a variety of symptoms that can lead to tension, mood changes, hormonal imbalance, and other functional symptoms reflecting a lack of circulation of Qi in the body.

All of these have the ability to affect your fertility health as the production, regulation, and ‘switching’ of hormones, fluids, energy, and blood require a smooth and constant flow of Qi to work properly.

There are 2 main causes of Qi Constraint in the body:

  1.  A deficiency of Qi that results in a lack of circulation of the Qi
  2.  A restriction of Qi due to psychical tension of the body (stress or coldness), or obstruction of the pathway of the Qi by accumulated fluids (blood and body fluid)

Both of these causes have the effect of reducing the flow of Qi throughout the body, causing the symptoms associated with constraint.

Of the thousands of people who’s health I have assessed worldwide since 1998, the majority have had some level of Qi constraint.

This is one of the key patterns of health imbalance that is seen in many people in the industrialised parts of the world  – possibly due to increased physical and emotional stresses.

Qi constraint rarely causes fertility issues on it’s own, unless it is more extreme. In such cases it can disrupt the Pituitary balance and cause an elevated Prolactin level, which may disrupt or even stop ovulation and cause irregular cycles, anovulatory cycles, or ammenorrhea (no cycles).

Typically however, this pattern will be involved alongside one or all of the other patterns of imbalance.

If you’ve read all of the other 7 patterns I’ve written about (see links below), you may have noticed that this is the only one that is mentioned in all other 7 patterns.

It is therefore involved in most fertility issues to some degree.

Common symptoms of Qi constraint for men and women are:

  • Feeling irritable, angry, crying, shouting, rage, short tempered
  • Depression or lack of motivation
  • Stop start mood changes that come and go
  • Feelings of stress
  • Unable to tolerate stress
  • Sighing frequently
  • Regular or constant frustration, or jealousy
  • Problems getting to sleep
  • An overactive mind
  • Aggression or feeling ‘harsh’ towards others
  • Frequent restricted feeling of the rib cage

Qi constraint Symptoms unique to women during either the Pre-Period or Ovulation Phases are:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Temple headaches
  • Bloating
  • Changeable bowel movements (diarrhea to constipation)
  • Mild pain around the ovaries
  • Mood changes – typically feeling irritable, angry, or tearful
  • General feelings of tension
  • PMS symptoms

Qi constraint Symptoms unique to men are:

  • Performance anxiety
  • Uneasy or unsmooth ejaculation
  • A semen analysis won’t typically reveal a Qi Stagnation pattern, but will show the other patterns that may be involved alongside it.

Key biomedical disorders related to Qi constraint:

PMS, Irregular Cycles, Mood Changes, Irregular Menstrual Flow, Clotted Periods, Painful Periods, Hormone Imbalance, Ovarian Cysts, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Polyps, COS, Blood Clotting Disorders and Immune Issues – to name a few.

Long term effects of Qi constraint:

If Qi constraint exists for an extended time it will typically present along with one or more of the following: Qi Deficiency, Blood Deficiency, Blood Stagnation, Dampness, Yang Deficiency, Yin DeficiencyHeat.

Some common foods to help with Qi constraint are:

Chilli, Radish, Leek, Carrot, Leafy green vegetables, Garlic, Ginger, Kholrabi

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