There have been a variety of Western explanations for the Qi of traditional Chinese medicine, but all have essentially had to compromise between expression of energy, matter and flow. The author suggests that a non-linear, fractal approach, similar to that of Chaos theory, offers a tool to understand Qi; the yin-yang and five phases theories of Chinese philosophy can be regarded as fractals. Qi, as the “net of life”, can also be looked on as an information network with close parallels to the computer-based web of the internet. This article therefore suggests a new Western definition of Qi, proposing that: “The Qi of Chinese medicine is inter-cellular information communicated within the body: information which enables all bodily functions and is a key component in regulation”. Referring to Qi as information offers the chance to integrate Chinese medical philosophy with current biological research on cellular communication.
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