The Physiology of the ‘Qi Movement’ Theory of the Emotions

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The association between emotions and the directional movement of qi is one of the most important theories in Chinese medicine psychology. While the ancient classics were not explicit in their definition of qi movements, they may have been a conceptualisation of the physiological changes in the body sensed during emotions. These sensations can be explained by changes in cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular and brain activities, which implies a shift from a metaphysical to a physiological understanding of qi. This approach supports and provides guidance for further research on the differentiation of emotions as pathological factors and provides a theoretical basis for Chinese medicine emotion-regulation techniques and Chinese medicine therapies in general.

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Author Yoann Birling, Mingxian Jia, Andrew Wong & Xiaoshu Zhu
JCM Issue JCM131
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