Xie qi in the Ling Shu: balance, harmony and the possibility of invasion

There is a tension evident in the use of some TCM concepts in a modern context. Xie qi (evil qi) is an ancient concept which is still in use, but speculation remains about its meaning in ancient texts such as the Nei Jing Ling Shu (Inner Classic Spiritual Pivot). The concept of evil qi can be difficult to integrate into the modern practice of Chinese medicine, due to its resonance with what are now often seen as antiquated and superstitious ideas. This paper analyses the use of xie qi in the Ling Shu, and illustrates how the concept provides useful information about the cultural origins and conceptual frameworks which underlie the theories of Chinese medicine.

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