Chi, or energy, is the universal life force. It flows through all things. It is the foundation of all things. Chi is a Chinese term but the same philosophy exists throughout the far east. In Japan it is called Ki, and in India Prana. The concept of Chi is widespread and fundamentally accepted. It is said that we can live without food for 3 weeks, without water for 3 days, without breath for 3 minutes but we cannot live for a moment without Chi. Chi is what makes us, and all living things, alive.
In terms of practical experience, chi can best be termed an energy. It seems to be both an innate energy which pervades all things and also a flowing energy, which flows through all things. We know we have chi because we are alive, yet we feel better and more vital when chi is flowing. In this sense it is like water, it can just sit there in a stagnant pond or can flow like a river.
Chi seems to be both internal and external. We have a field of energy within and around our body. In this sense chi is like the electro-magnetic forces, created by the electrical impulses of our body. It has been observed that the observed flow of chi, along channels and meridians, in the body seem to follow the paths of greatest conductivity. These are not along the nerves, but through muscles and fascia. Chi seems to be related to the nervous system, but is not the nervous system.
Within the body we can observe energy centres, where the chi is seemingly concentrated. These are often called chakras, which is an ancient Sanskrit term for wheel. These energy centres are likened to wheels, which turn. The centres tend to be located in parts of the body with a concentration or plexus of nerves and also near major glands. There seems to be a close relationship between the energy centres, the nervous systems, the glandular system and the major organs of the body.
There is also chi external to us. Not only in other living things but in more static things e.g. rocks and crystals, and dynamic things like air and water. Chi does not seem to be separate, it does not seem possible to draw a line between internal and external chi. It also seems to be possible to connect and link to external chi.
It is very hard to put a definitive scientific definition onto chi. Yet science is demonstrating that there is a single force behind all things. Increasingly what has been observed for centuries is being proved by science. Chi has been part of the underlying philosophy of the far east for centuries, yet modern science is now demonstrating both a link and connection between all things, an underlying energy which pervades matter, and the possibility of a single basis of all things which merely alters in vibration.
While Chi is perhaps a relatively new concept in the western world, the principles of chi are now being more widely acknowledged and accepted. Many healing and complementary therapies are based on the use and flow of chi. These includes acupuncture, reflexology, healing, chi kung and many more. While Chi remains to an extent conceptual, the effects of improving the flow of chi are tangible. Practitioners of Tai Chi, Yoga and Chi Kung are able to feel and experience Chi directly.