Ch’i is loosely referred to as “cosmic breath” or “life force”, or more picturesquely the “dragon’s breath”. Ch’i flows through the human body and only departs on death, after which the body disintegrates. Ch’i is therefore literally “the breath of life”
Although not charted by Western medicine methods, acupuncture practitioners have long known of the existence of ch’i, and have built up elaborate maps of the “meridians” or channels it uses to flow through the body. Acupuncture has been used to cure a number of medical conditions. Although acupuncture is widely accepted in the West as a valid form of therapy, there is still some progress to be made before the circulation of ch’i energy through the human body is accepted by Western science as an explanation of acupuncture.Ch’i and martial arts
Further concrete proof of the existence of ch’i is afforded by martial arts techniques which display extraordinary speed, strength and agility, and which are attributed by their body. Kung Fu masters believe that ch’i can be concentrated in the body, allowing the body to perform almost supernatural feats, such as breaking concrete blocks with the edge oh a hand. With the correct breathing techniques, in other words with the correct concentration of feng or air, the Kung Fu master gives his body a strength and imperviousness to injury that would otherwise be impossible.Ch’i in the land
Ch’i also flows through and enlivens the earth as well as the body. For example, slow meandering rivers or streams accumulate ch’i in the land according to the feng-shui masters. This accumulation of ch’I both strengthens the body and the land. In short, through feng ( wind or air ) and shui ( water ) we can accumulate ch’i which is beneficial to both man and his environment.Accumulating ch’i
Those adept with the methods of internal alchemy or the martial arts have learned to accumulate ch’i in the body by a hard and exhausting regime, but for most us the degree of passive absorption of ch’i from our surroundings, either at home or work, is the chief factor governing our energy and lucidity level. An increase of ch’i in a site automatically benefits those living there, and feng-shui provides methods of doing this.
Living near or on concentrations of ch’i is reputed to be a source of greater concentration and clear headedness, abundant wealth, health and happiness. The Chinese see this as an accumulation of “luck”. Luck, for the Chinese, is not something that just happens, it is something that can be worked at and consciously increased.
This brings us to the basic rules of ch’i accumulation, and hence also the basis of feng-shui. Straight lines or fast flowing streams or roads deplete and disperse ch’i, leading to the evaporation of luck. Stagnation contributes to the breakdown of ch’i, just as ch’i disperses when a body dies. The ideal conditions for accumulating ch’i are the slow, coiling, sinuous flow of water or wind which accumulate healthy ch’i in a suitably protected haven. This ch’i must be protected in order to accumulate, but it must also have access to another vigorous flow of ch’i, allowing the site to “tap into a dragon vein”, drawing off and hoarding ch’i successfully.