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Do you want more energy? Of course, you do. We all want more energy. Fortunately, there are lots of way we can get more energy.

But first, what is this energy that we are talking about and what are the differences between modern and traditional views about energy?

You might be familiar with the concept of energy you learnt at school (or more likely not!). As a high school teacher, I teach energy as part of physics and chemistry. Energy is the ability to do work. Now work has a different definition as commonly thought as the activity you do to earn your living. Work is simply applying a force over a distance, like raising your arm and kicking your legs when you are dancing. Any movement is work. And to move, you need energy.

As a research chemist, I became interested in nutrition, and again the concept of energy pops up there. Most of us would be familiar with the nutritional labels on packets of food. They list the amount of energy contained in the food in calories or Joules. That is the chemical energy stored in food that is converted into energy for our bodies to move. Food releases energy that can be used to move. Pretty neat.

So what about the feelings of low energy? Surely, if I eat enough (and most of us do – and more), I should have enough energy. My scientific knowledge tells me so. But I am not feeling that energy. It doesn’t stack up. Something must be missing.

Well, you are right. The western scientific view of energy is correct, but incomplete. Scientific experiments can measure the energy of food, but not the energy of a person. The feeling of energy depends on the person; it is a subjective experience. So, what is missing?

Well, as an acupuncturist, I am familiar with the eastern view of energy, which aligns perfectly with western science, and goes way further. There are many different levels to it, but let’s start small and describe the concept of chi, qi or ki as loosely translated as energy. Not only is chi the substance of energy (like blood and fluids that we call Yin Qi), it is also the function of energy – the way by which energy moves, the movement of energy itself that we call Yang Qi. So when you don’t feel so great, when your energy levels are low, you might have a deficiency of Yang Qi. You might have enough energy is your system, but it is not moving properly. You might have stagnant energy. The energy might pool is some areas – creating pain, and might be absent from others – creating stagnation and lethargy. Moving energy is the key to feeling energy.

To restore energy, we need to pay proper attention to diet and rest. These are the keys to produce energy and replenish energy. The energy stored in food is transformed to useable energy by the body as Nutritive Qi and Protective Qi, and sleep restores the reserves of energy.

And we all know one way to move energy: exercise. Any physical activity will move energy. Walking, cycling, running, gymnastics, dancing, gardening, chigong, and even singing. Especially if you combine it with equally important stretching, like yoga to relax and restore the muscles we use repetitively during the day and lubricate those we haven’t used much. Simple (when you establish positive habits) and free.

Nothing really new there. Although the most simple things can also be the most difficult things to do, especially when the dominant culture sends unhealthy messages about fast food, reduced sleep and either exhaustion by excessive exercise or no exercise at all.

But again, we have several other ways to come back to health and restore energy. Massage for a full body maintenance and acupuncture for a more precise tuning, so that the energy that you produce is used optimally by you by moving properly in the right direction along the many energy channels. The result is more energy for you, and we all know that we are much more pleasant to be around when we feel we have more energy, don’t we?

If you want more information about the circulation of chi and in particular about how acupuncture can help you, your family or your larger circles, please share with your networks and contact me directly by email at david@puregain.com.au. Always happy to chat!
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Best of health or as the Japanese say: have and be genki – lively, full of spirit, energetic, vigorous, vital, spirited, healthy, fit, the basic energy of the universe that flows through everything – a bit of a mouthful, but you get the drift, hey?