Nutritive and Defensive Qi Disharmony

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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).

Your Nutritive Qi - Ying qi

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. 

Your 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 HeartSpleenLungsKidneys and Liver) and to moisten your Yang zang-fu (your Small Intestines, Stomach, Large Intestine, Bladder and Gallbladder and Three-Heater). 

It works closely with your Blood and your blood vessels, and connects everything up via the acupuncture channels, through which it circulates.

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, it can't repair your body so well and you become tired and more easily damaged and susceptible to frustrations.

Your Defensive Qi - Wei Qi

Ideally, the Defensive Qi (the Chinese name for it is Wei Qi) circulates in the acupuncture channels during the day, but 'submerges' during the night when the Nutritive Qi takes over and through your sleep, re-nourishes your body and mind.

Where does the 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 Qi is what feeds and repairs your body, and circulates in the internal energy organs, being a Yin area.

What does Defensive Qi do? If it is 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 considered to feed 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 which is that it opens your sweat pores when you need to cool down and closes them when you need to keep warm. You sometimes find people who seem to sweat either all the time or inappropriately: their Defensive Qi is often not functioning properly.

This form of Qi does not enter the acupuncture channels, and is mainly managed by your Lung Qi.

Consequently, if your Lung Qi is deficient, or your Defensive Qi is low, you'll probably feel cold and be prone to catching more diseases, including colds.

However, how resistant you are to disease 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.

Guard Dogs Run Amok

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.

So they tear around, frenziedly barking, generally running amok, and preventing your sleep.

Acupuncture Points to Open Doors

In Chinese medicine, there are acupuncture points which in effect, calm them down and help them to find their kennels, leaving you in peace.

In this syndrome the Yang can't enter its rest-state so remains in its Yang state.

Symptoms of Nutritive and Defensive Qi Disharmony

Because the Yang gets 'stuck' in its Yang state you get this nutritive and defensive qi disharmony:

  • you can't close your eyes so you can't fall asleep
  • if you do get to sleep you find it difficult to remain asleep
  • lots of dreams
  • headache
  • a sense of pressure in the head, often coming up from the chest
  • intolerance of drafts and wind
  • Pulse: wiry
  • Tongue: possibly redder tip

If you have it, this syndrome is hard to diagnose in Western medicine and 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.

Return from Nutritive and Defensive Qi Disharmony to Insomnia.

Click to get back to Syndromes.

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Qi Stagnation - Signs of Stress

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Western Astrology and Chinese Medicine

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