Qi has many different meanings, some call it a vital force and some call it life force but the true meaning of Qi is, cultivated energy from clean air and simple foods. Regardless of the meaning, you’d agree that it has something to do with the energy that is readily available for the human body to function normally.
If we look at the character (Qi) in Traditional Chinese calligraphy, we find that it is made up of two characters. the first character is Qi and it means air (the air we breathe) and the second character is Mi and it means rice or grain. So, a modern interpretation of the character Qi is, cultivated energy from air and food. The name Life force or vital force made sense thousands of years ago but in modern days with the advancement of science and medicine, we are able to explain how the body cultivates the energy using air(oxygen) and rice( simple food). This leads me to talk briefly about the process of producing energy without turning this into a biochemistry class. the star of the show here is Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is the body’s cell currency and it is the main source of energy for metabolic processes. It is produced from the metabolism of glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar and is the most common and easily available molecule in food to produce energy from. Other molecules can also produce energy such as complex sugars, fats, and proteins but they would have to be converted into glucose or assist in the metabolism of glucose. There are 3 ways of harvesting energy from glucose, two are efficient and require oxygen(Qi) the third one doesn’t require oxygen and not as efficient, in fact, it produces a by-product called lactic acid.
The Chinese figured out thousands of years ago the formula to produce energy (QI). Qi in Chinese Medicine has to be cultivated through an easy and simple process that does not cost the body in ATP more than it harvests in energy.
I could safely say that we have come to the conclusion that Qi is not a mystical force that is cultivated by some sort of an ancient practice, it is simply eating and breathing right.