Chong Mai Rebellious Qi

chong mai rebellious qi emotions
Anger and Pain and Disarray - Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash

Chong Mai Rebellious Qi underlies many painful periods, but much else too. In Chinese medicine the Chong Mai vessel is perhaps the first place life establishes itself in the foetus.

Read more about Chong Mai vessel by clicking here.

This page explains the signs of Chong Mai when its Qi rebels, which means its Qi goes in the wrong direction: in this case, that’s UP.

Woman with tense expression
Chong Mai Rebellious Qi affects Women more than Men


Chong Mai Rebellious Qi

This is the most common Chong Mai syndrome, in which a sensation of fullness in the abdomen seems to push out and up.

It is thought to occur when the fascia or membranes in the abdomen become enmeshed by Qi stagnation. This condition is more common in women, but does occur in men. Being enmeshed in the abdominal membranes, Qi fails to flow along the pathways of the Chong Mai and fails to ‘nourish’ downwards. As pressure builds up, instead it ascends.

This can happen when you are pregnant, as another form of lump starts to stretch the abdomen.

In other words, Qi seems to desert the lower parts and instead it pushes upwards and you get –

Feet and Leg

  • cold feet; can be purple; sometimes hands too;


Lower Abdomen

Apple on Abdomen
© Szabolcs Stieber – Dreamstime
  • in the lower part of the abdomen you get a disturbance that feels distending or full, sometimes blocked – pain; this often seems to push upwards to the Heart;
  • in the abdomen, tangible masses and hernial swellings (including a foetus!)
  • abdominal rumblings, noises, borborygmi
  • infertility
  • urinary incontinence or pain
  • around the umbilicus you may get tension, the blocked feeling, an expanding or distending feeling; can be painful;
  • these feelings may occur before or during a woman’s monthly period;


Upper Abdomen and Sides

  • the area around the stomach, ie below the ribs and above the umbilicus may also feel full, tight, ‘urgent’, fluttering, or pressing upwards;
  • nausea and eructations, even regurgitation of food
  • this sensation may come with nausea, even vomiting if bad – can occur during pregnancy
  • hypochondriacal pain and fullness or distension with irritability


Chest and Breasts


Breasts often affected by chong mai rebellious qi
Breast pain – Photo by Houcine Ncib on Unsplash
  • as the rebellious qi pushes upwards it disturbs the proper balance of flow in the chest, giving a sense of constriction or tightness in the chest;
  • difficulty breathing or breathlessness; wheezing, signs of asthma, difficulty breathing when lying down;
  • palpitations, the heart beat seems to race or become unreliable – making you anxious;
  • a women’s breasts may feel as if distending, or bursting or expanding (and they may actually swell in size – it’s not always just a subjective feeling);
  • tendency to sigh, or yawn or take deep breaths from time to time, or stretch to expand the chest/lungs;



  • the throat can feel as if there are lumps in it, so impeding swallowing, often attributed to nervousness or anxiety, and often exacerbated in situations of anticipation, tension, worry or fear; indeed, a common feeling is of Qi pushing up from the abdomen to the throat, stifling you, both exciting and frightening. This shows how sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between a symptom caused by something emotional and something originating from inside, as here from Chong Mai Rebellious Qi.


Face and Head

  • face feels hot (you could say that this happens because Qi and Yang and Blood push up from the feet, leaving you with the cold feet first mentioned above);
  • dizziness and, often because Liver Blood is deficient, blurred eyesight;
  • headache which, remembering where the channel’s pathway goes, can be like a facial sinus pain or, because of the connection with the Stomach, above the eyes and at the corners of the temples or, because the vessel has strong connections with the Kidneys, in the occipital area or, because of the strong connection with the Liver, and more so if Liver Blood is also deficient, at the vertex;


Mental consequences

Mind under pressure with chong mai rebellious qi
Get some treatment after the attack!
  • the sensations occur often with anxiety, a lack of confidence. Nowadays, people with this syndrome may attribute it to an external situation causing anxiety rather than to internal rebellious qi. It can be either or both.
  • Pulse in Rebellious Qi of Chong Mai: either Firm in all positions or hard and full in the middle position on both wrists.


Why Causes Chong Mai Rebellious Qi?

  1. When you are basically in good, robust, health but are undergoing an emotional situation that you do not know how to handle. (This could be because you lacked challenges growing up or were over-protected; could be because the situation is just too tense, frustrating, aggravating, infuriating or belittling; could be from extended periods of stress beyond a normal person’s ability to handle; the situation might be no problem to one person and a huge challenge to another). At any rate, this may, in susceptible people, be enough to cause Chong Mai Rebellious Qi.
  2. When you have deficient Blood or Kidney Qi. This is commoner in women than in men, partly because of the monthly menstrual cycle which clears out blood monthly. Normally women’s bodies are very good at making Blood again. However, if she has become deficient (see for example  Blood and Kidney) she becomes more susceptible to this syndrome. Without sufficient Blood and Kidney Qi, you can fairly easily get Chong Mai Rebellious Qi.


What can YOU do about Chong Mai Rebellious Qi?

  • This condition responds well to acupuncture.
  • My book on Qi Stagnation sets out at length a range of strategies to deal with the Qi Stagnation. Read the Introduction and chapters 1 – 7. Next, read the chapters on Heart, Stomach, Spleen and Kidneys.
  • Exercise. For at least 20 minutes daily take a fast walk. You should walk fast enough to make conversation difficult. (Of course, there are many other forms of vigorous exercise that also work.)
  • Sedentary workers should use a Timer to warn them every 30 minutes to get up and walk about for several minutes.
  • If your condition is partly due to Blood Deficiency, you need to address nutrition, your diet and digestion. Acupuncture often helps to normalise the latter (taking medication for a bad digestion makes you susceptible to the secondary effects of the medication, whereas good treatment not involving medication eventually frees you of symptoms naturally). For a while you may need to take food supplements and/or Chinese herbs – for which see your acupuncturist.
  • If you are one of those people who reacts excessively to ‘situations’ you may find learning to meditate helpful.
sleep is a great healer for rebellious chong mai
Photo by Toa Heftiba


More on Chong Mai?

This page has been about Chong Mai Rebellious Qi, but to understand why it rebels in this way, do please read about

Jonathan Brand colours

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