The Importance of Balancing Qi

activities - Saigon/HCMC: Dec. 28, 2021

What is Qi?

Is My Qi Balanced?

How Does Shiatsu Massage Help?

What else can I do?

At Raku Spa, our services are based upon traditional Japanese Shiatsu Massage. Shiatsu works with the energy flow in your body, which is called ‘Qi’. You have probably heard about qi before if you have experienced shiatsu massage before, or if you have used other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments such as acupuncture, but what exactly is qi?

Here at Raku Spa we like to share our knowledge so here is our quick guide to everything you need to know about qi; what it is, how Shiatsu massage can improve the balance of qi in your body, and what to do if you don’t have enough qi.

What is qi?

The idea of a sustaining life force is an essential part of many cultures. In Indian culture, it’s called prana. In Greek culture, it’s called pneuma. In Chinese culture, it’s called qi. The most common way of defining qi is to think of it as the “vital energy” that guides your physical and mental functions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) everything is focused on qi. When qi is blocked, or if levels of qi are too high or too low, people suffer from illnesses. TCM treatments such as massage, acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion (the burning of herbs, close to the skin), are all undertaken to balance the flow of qi.

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How can you tell if your flow of qi is balanced?

If your qi levels are sufficient and balanced, you will feel as though you have enough energy in your body to fulfil your daily needs. You will sleep well and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Completing your daily tasks will not be a problem. If you are injured or pick up a small illness, you will recover quickly. You will not suffer with digestive problems, or a foggy mind. In short, your body will function as it is meant to.

However, if you do not have the right amount of qi, you may feel like your body’s systems are not working correctly. Without the correct balance of qi, you may feel tired, have problems digesting food or have no appetite. If you don’t have the right balance of qi, you might find that you regularly catch a cold or suffer from allergies. You may even feel depressed.

Many people do not know that having too much qi is also a problem. With too much qi you may often feel tense or irritable. Finally, if your qi is blocked, you will often experience pain as a result.

How does Shiatsu massage help restore balance?

Throughout your body there are pathways of energy that are called meridians. Shiatsu massage and treatments apply pressure to specific pressure points that are located on these meridians to improve the flow of qi. By stimulating these points, Shiatsu massage can treat the body as a whole, and your immune system, to help to restore the physical functions of the body's systems, musculoskeletal structures, and internal organs.

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Shiatsu treatments sometimes incorporate gentle stretching and manipulation of the body, but the primary action of the massage therapist is a light ‘holding’ technique. After evaluating the flow of qi around your body, your massage therapist will use a rhythmic, gentle pressure to the appropriate pressure points of your body, using their fingers, thumbs, palms, knuckles, palms, elbows and sometimes, toes. As the flow of energy is restored, Shiatsu massage offers a relaxing, spiritual experience for the patient.

What else can I do to restore qi?

Shiatsu massage is not the only thing that you can do to help improve your balance of qi. Here are three other ways that the staff at Raku Spa recommend to help bring balance back to your body.

1. Focus on your breathing

A simple and very affordable way to increase your level of qi is to focus on purposeful breathing. Many people who suffer with anxiety find that they struggle to take deep breaths, which can in turn reduce your amount of qi.

There are a variety of breathing exercises you can do to help balance your qi, but our favourite is called ‘belly breathing’ (or more formally abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing). You can do this anytime, anywhere and you can do it standing up or lying down.

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Here’s what to do:

- Take a slow, deep breath in through your nose.

- As you breathe in, focus on your belly expanding.

- Think about relaxing your abdominal muscles.

- Allow your breath to enter your stomach and make it full.
(If you rest your hand on your stomach, you should feel it expand.)

- Exhale through your mouth and relax your belly back to its original position

This simple but effective exercise can help you relax, destress and improve your connection with your qi.

2. Try Tai Chi or Qigong

Practising gentle exercise like Tai Chi or Qigong is an excellent way to manage qi. Intense exercises can cause an excess of qi, or even blockages in the flow of chi. To counteract any vigorous exercise you might do, make sure you also include exercises that focus on breathing, movement and body posture.

In addition to restoring the balance of qi, exercises like Tai Chi and Qigong can help with mindful breathing, joint and back pain, relaxation, and mental clarity. Try to include even a small amount each day and see how much difference it makes!

3. Make sure you eat a balanced diet

The majority of your qi is provided by the food you eat. To achieve a balance in your flow of qi, you should supply your body with healthy foods that help improve digestive health and nourish your body.

To help keep the maximum amount of nutrients in your meals, you should try to steam, grill or roast your food as much as possible. Fermented foods like kimchi, miso and natto are all great foods to include in your diet regularly to help with your digestive health.

To summarise, qi is the vital energy you need to live your life to your best ability. If you follow these simple suggestions; breathe well, move well, eat well, you will improve your vital energy. If you feel like your qi is out of balance, come to Raku Spa where we can help you find balance again with a Japanese Shiatsu massage.