The concept of energy
Click here to see the table of contents






The connecting entity between body and mind is Qi (pronounced chee) which can be differentiated into physical and mental Qi only academically (Freuhauf, 1995). Although Freud identified a life-force energy that animates individuals in his libidinal concept, analogous in part to the Chinese concept of Qi, he did not emphasis its somatic functions. Subsequently, behaviourists ignored the mind, demonstrating the pervasiveness of Cartesian thinking regarding mind and body in the West (Ross, 1993). Wilhelm Reich later described the function of libidinal energy in the body (Ross, 1993), emphasizing connections between the two, but was spurned by his contemporaries, indicating that this idea was inherently foreign to the dominant western model (Ross, 1993). A dichotomy has existed in the West between body and mind since the middle ages when the Church permitted dissection of the body by the laity but reserved the mind for itself (Hammer, 1990). In Chinese medicine there is no distinction. Disturbance can occur on either end of the continuum, or both. Corrective measures focus on regulating energy, regardless of the symptom's origin in psyche or physiology (Hammer, 1990).

Even in contemporary China, psychiatric patients often visit internal medicine specialists. Therapeutic focus, through acupuncture, herbs, and remedial exercise and massage, is on restoration of uninhibited flow of Qi, since unbalanced emotions affect Qi before they influence physical structure. Since chronic Qi stagnation eventually results in formation of structural pathologies such as Blood Stasis(2) or Phlegm Coagulations, and Blood is the material basis for mental activities (Jiezhong, 1997), Blood Moving and Phlegm Purging are standard methods of treating chronic mental disorders (Freuhauf, 1995).

next page


please click to return to the table of contents 


Copyright 1998 Ilanit Tof, All Rights Reserved.