jump to navigation

The Kidneys–“the root of Qi”

In Traditional Chinese Medicine—TCM—(and Vietnamese traditional medicine, too, for that matter, as it’s based on TCM) the kidneys play an important role. In fact, the kidneys are considered “the root of Qi”. Below I’ve copied information from a site called “skepdic“, so I don’t know how reliable the information is, but give it the benefit of the doubt and am posting it here. I’ve included the definition of metaphysical and vitalism for added interest.

Ch’i or qi (pronounced “chee” and henceforth spelled “chi”) the Chinese word used to describe “the natural energy of the Universe.” This energy, though called “natural,” is spiritual or supernatural, and is part of a metaphysical*, not an empirical, belief system. New Agers often refer to this energy as subtle energy. Chi is thought to permeate all things, including the human body. Such metaphysical* systems are generally referred to as types of vitalism**. One of the key concepts related to chi is the concept of harmony. Trouble, whether in the universe or in the body, is a function of disharmony, of things being out of balance and in need of restoration to equilibrium.

* met•a•phys•ics (met´¹ fiz’iks, met’¹ fiz´iks) n.pl.

1 the branch of philosophy that deals with first principles and seeks to explain the nature of being or reality (ontology) and of the origin and structure of the universe (cosmology): it is closely associated with the study of the nature of knowledge (epistemology)

2 speculative philosophy in general

3 esoteric, often mystical or theosophical, lore

4 the theory or principles (of some branch of knowledge)

5 popularly, any very subtle or difficult reasoning

English Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition


“Vitalism—the insistence that there is some big, mysterious extra ingredient in all living things—turns out to have been not a deep insight but a failure of imagination.” –Daniel Dennett Vitalism is the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life. Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes. Vitalism is opposed to mechanistic materialism and its thesis that life emerges from a complex combination of organic matter. The vitalistic principle goes by many names: chi or qi (China) prana (India and therapeutic touch), ki (Japan); Wilhelm Reich’s orgone, Mesmer’s animal magnetism, Bergson’s élan vital (vital force), etc. American advocates much prefer the term energy. Many kinds of alternative therapies or energy medicines are based upon a belief that health is determined by the flow of this alleged energy. For examples, see acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, therapeutic touch, reiki, and qigong.



1. I’m a What? A Kidney Person? « My Gift of Cancer - May 6, 2009

[…] The Kidneys–”the root of Qi” […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: