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This Nutritive and Defensive Qi disharmony happens when the Chinese medical equivalent of your immune system (the Defensive Qi) can’t reduce its activity during sleep (the Nutritive phase).
If you want to know what kind of Qi – energy – is stimulated when an acupuncture needle is used, well, you’ve found it – your Ying Qi.
This ying qi – Nutritive Qi – comes from the food you eat and the fluids you drink.
Its job is to regulate the smooth working of your Yin energy organs or Yin zang-fu (these are your Heart, Spleen, Lungs, Kidneys and Liver) and to moisten your Yang zang-fu (your Small Intestines, Stomach, Large Intestine, Bladder and Gallbladder and Three-Heater).
Although it circulates all the time, it becomes active, at least in its nourishing and repairing roles, when you rest and particularly when you sleep. So if you can’t or don’t sleep well, it can’t repair your body properly. What happens? You become tired and more easily damaged and susceptible to frustrations and illness.
(So if you’re receiving acupuncture treatment, make sure you’ve eaten something beforehand. It needn’t, in fact it shouldn’t be a huge meal – but you do need something. Otherwise, acupuncture won’t be so successful. Oh! And please don’t replace food with caffeine! Caffeine – your coffee – isn’t food! To find out more click on coffee.)
Ideally, your Defensive Qi (Chinese name – Wei Qi) circulates in your acupuncture channels during the day. At night it ‘submerges’ during sleep. That’s when your ying or Nutritive Qi takes over and during sleep, re-nourishes your body and mind.
Where does this Defensive Qi circulate? In Chinese medicine, the Yang area of the body, where it circulates, is in – or just under – the skin, and in the parts that move the body, the muscles. This is the external – outside area.
(Just to remind you … Your Nutritive – ying – Qi is what feeds and repairs your body, and circulates in the internal energy organs, being a Yin area.)
What does Defensive – wei – Qi do? If working properly, it defends and protects you from what are called external pathogenic factors, the chief of which are – Chinese concepts again – Cold, Wind, Damp, Heat.
But it does more than that, because it is also feeds these outer areas and keep them warm. So it manages the temperature of your body.
As part of this heat-regulating function it has another very important function. This is to open your sweat pores when you need to cool down. Also, to close them when you need to keep warm. You sometimes find people who sweat all the time or when there’s no reason for it. In that case, their Defensive – wei – Qi is probably not functioning properly.
This defensive Qi does not enter the acupuncture channels, and is mainly managed by your Lung Qi. (So read the link to understand why you should cultivate lung health!)
Consequently, with Lung Qi deficient and Defensive Qi is low, you’ll often feel cold. Also, you’ll be prone to catching more diseases, including colds.
However, how resistant you are to disease – your wei qi – depends also on your Jing-Essence and Kidney Yang. When either of those is weak (check the linked pages) you’ll also have low powers of resistance.
Think of it like this. Suppose you have a house with a garden round it.
In the garden you keep several large ferocious dogs who roam around, barking vigorously at anything that moves.
They can roam at any time within the grounds though they normally sleep at night, but on this occasion they are over-excited. Maybe you forgot to feed them?
So they tear around, frenziedly barking, generally running amok, and preventing your sleep.
(Of course, this could be because you’ve caught a cold, or similar. You get lots of symptoms as your defensive energy puts up a fight, keeping you awake. Lots more about this under six stages, and four levels. But suppose you haven’t caught a bug and you still get the symptoms mentioned? That’s this nutritive and defensive qi disharmony we’re talking about.)
In Chinese medicine, there are acupuncture points which in effect, calm the dogs down and help them to find their kennels, leaving you in peace. These points lie along acupuncture channels where you feel disturbances, like headaches or tension.
In this syndrome the Yang can’t enter its rest-state so remains in its Yang state.
Because the Yang gets ‘stuck’ in its Yang state you get this nutritive and defensive qi disharmony:
This nutritive and defensive qi disharmony syndrome is hard to diagnose in Western medicine. You will probably have tried many medications.
In theory at least, Chinese medicine does have an effective treatment for it, which I’ve used quite successfully from time to time.
Re-balancing any nutritive and defensive qi disharmony is important, because otherwise your system will be too yin or too yang, so unable to repair itself properly.
That means you’ll feel a bit ‘wired’ or restless and more prone to disease.
Acupuncture points used for this include points to open the doors, let the dogs run free and find their kennels.
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