Chapter 18: Ki Theory
Ki theory originates from ancient Korea. It explores both the physical and the mental aspects of human energy, and incorporates the philosophies of yin and yang. In Ki theory, there are three resources for living longer:
- Good blood material;
- Good blood circulation, and;
- A peaceful mind.
What is good blood material? Our blood must have many beneficial materials in it, such as carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. The term “good blood material” also refers to our blood pH level. In order to maintain good blood material, we must eat well. What does it mean to eat well? Do not over eat. Balance your protein intake with alkaline foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our diets should focus on how good the food is for our bodies, not necessarily how good it tastes.
In addition to eating healthily, we need to incorporate an adequate amount of exercise into our daily routine. Exercise makes for good blood circulation in a variety of ways. The first way is something I call “milking.” When you move, your veins are pushed and pulled by the muscles in your arms and legs, as if the blood is being “milked” out. In contrast, your arteries move about freely and are not dependent on muscle contractions. This function is very important because it pushes the blood in your feet and hands all the way back to the heart. Once again, by exercising, we help the veins circulate the blood, leading to a strong heart that can connect all of the organs together with blood. After all, the heart is the king of our organs. When it is healthy, blood materials are kept in balance. As a result, our blood vessels will be elastic, our arteries will not harden, and our circulation will be good. This leads to long life.
If our blood quality is poor, it will weaken our organs. If one organ becomes weak, then the other organs will assist it until it is repaired and strengthened. Our organs work together for the common good. If we have good blood flow, all of the organs can work together and we will live longer.
Ki theory observes that the kidneys and the lungs function together with regard to the aging process. If the lung function goes down, the kidney function will eventually follow. This is because the inhalation process controls the blood’s oxygen efficiency, which ultimately affects the kidney function.
The kidneys refine blood and clean urine. We have 5 liters of blood in our body at any one time. 36 times a day, the kidneys refine these 5 liters. Every 40 minutes, 5 liters of blood pass through our kidneys. That means that our kidneys refine 180-200 liters of blood a day. This is incredible! If the blood is not made clean after passing through the kidneys, chronic fatigue will occur. Aside from blood cleansing, the kidneys also allow the adrenal gland to produce hormones, keep the prostate and uterus functioning properly, govern sperm and female egg production, and assist our breathing functions. In other words, the kidneys control our entire internal organ system. We need healthy kidneys in order to survive.
In addition to what we have previously discussed, what else does our blood need in order to be healthy? Clean oxygen. Think about how you feel when you breathe dirty air versus clean air. How do you feel when you breathe air in the city, in contrast to air in the country? Our breathing and lung function unites all of our organs together. If our lungs are “ill” from breathing bad air, all of the organs suffer, not just the lungs, because they all work as a unit
I once read an article about a man from Bolivia. He was 120 years old. He ate natural foods, and drank clean water. He also had a wide nose. This meant that a lot of air was getting in through his nose and, subsequently, into his lungs and brain. We already know what affect a lot of oxygen has on the body.
Through his diet, he obtained the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and subsequently electrolytes within his blood vessels. All of these things together led to flexible blood vessels and good blood material in this gentleman’s body. As it should be, no cholesterol or triglycerides were present in his blood. This led to him living a long life.1
According to Ki theory, the body has two opposite types of energy flowing within it. The first is Hot Energy, also known as Fire Energy, which starts at your chest and heart area, and goes all the way to the top of your head. Its counterpart is Cold Energy, also known as Water Energy. This energy starts in the bottoms of our feet. For simplicity and uniformity, we will use the terms Fire Energy and Water Energy.
In Ki theory, there must be good energy circulation throughout the body for it to function properly. The idea is that the Water Energy must make its way upward toward the head, and Fire Energy must migrate toward the feet. This phenomenon makes our bodies warm. Think of it like this. Turn on your shower. If you turn the knob one way, you get very cold water. If you turn it the opposite way, you get very hot water. However, when the knob is turned to the middle, you get warm water. This means there is an equal amount of hot and cold water mixing together, which creates balance. This is what our body energy must be: balanced. If the shower water is too hot, you get scalded. If it is too cold, you shiver. When the water is warm, your body is comfortable and you can take your time and clean yourself off.
Now, why is the Fire Energy in our chest and heart area? The chest is made up of a hot area. It contains several organs, such as our heart, our lungs, and all of the blood vessels contained therein. Not only are these organs close together, but we have our arms and neck connected to our chest as well. Everything creates and shares heat. Think about it this way. What happens if you have 20 people in a ten-foot by ten-foot bedroom? Because everybody is so close together in such a small place, the temperature in the room goes up.
Now let’s look at Water Energy. It originates in the feet, which are the farthest parts of the body. The farther from the heart something is, the cooler it becomes. They also lack warmth because they are separate from the rest of the body. Our limbs cannot share warmth and lose their heat to a much cooler environment.
Cancer and other illnesses begin in areas of the body that have extreme heat or extreme coldness. Our bodies must remain at the warm temperature of 98.6 degrees in order to function at peak efficiency. To achieve this, the Fire Energy must travel down from the top of the head. When it meets the Cold Energy, it creates an energy that is like steam. This “steam” then travels up, cooling the head. Overall, the two should mix together to become warm, thus, keeping the body in perfect balance.
The Korean term for Ki energy flow is “soo seung hwa kang.” Soo means “Water Energy-Kidney Energy.” Seung means “toward up.” Hwa means “hot” or “heart” energy. Lastly, kang means “toward down.” This represents our heat travelling downward and our cold energy traveling up. If soo seung hwa kang does not occur, we will get sick. We must have universal energy circulation in our bodies to be healthy.
What is the evidence for soo seung hwa kang? If our energy circulation is good, it is because the Fire Energy and the Water Energy have successfully combined. When this happens, you will notice that the palms of your hands are warm. Additionally, your head will be cool, and your feet will be warm. All of this shows good circulation. If the abdomen is cold, that indicates that your head is hot, your feet are cold, and your palms are cool. Your body is not in harmony with itself. It is important to be able to determine if your Ki is in harmony; this means that you are healthy.
If you are not feeling well, as when you have a cold, you will notice that your stomach is either hot or cold, not warm. There are several ways to determine if your stomach is warm, both consciously and subconsciously. First, place your palms on your stomach and if it feels warm, this means your whole body is circulating energy well. Your palms should also be warm because energy is flowing properly. If your stomach is cool, then your palms and feet will also be cool, indicating poor energy circulation.
Second, when you go outside on a warm day and you wear a warm shirt, this means your belly area is cold. Your subconscious has told your body that the stomach is cool, and this led you to wear a thicker shirt. Why is the belly area cold? A cold stomach means the upper body is maintaining its heat, and the lower body is retaining its cold. When this happens, we get sick, are prone to diseases, have internal organ issues, or may be susceptible to cancer.
Why does this separation occur? Partly because we think too much. I like to say that we are a “concentration nation.” What this means is that we use our brain a lot. It never gets a rest. For example, we are always looking at the computer, using our smartphones, reading at work, and reading textbooks. It is fine to do these things in moderation, but it is not healthy to constantly fixate on obtaining and processing information. This causes unnecessary stress, because our brains do not get a chance to unwind. When we are stressed, we become easily upset. It is hard to relax, because our minds are constantly racing. Overusing the brain makes our upper body become too hot.
The stomach, spleen, and kidney are the turning points of the body’s energy flow. If the stomach and kidney areas are weak, there will be poor energy exchange. If there is a significant enough problem concerning the kidney, spleen or stomach, there will be bad circulation. Bad energy circulation means bad Ki energy flow.
Let’s look at some symptoms of problems we may experience due to poor Ki energy flow. When the body is hot, we will have headaches, dry or red eyes, nose inflammation, sneezing, and a dry tongue and mouth. If it continues, we can get grey hair or lose our hair altogether. This is a result of too much concentration and stress.
If the belly is cold, then our physiology function is abnormal. In the case of a female, this can mean painful menstruation or diarrhea. For a man, it can mean low stamina and poor erections. It can also make our intestines sensitive. Once this happens, it means it will be easy to get diarrhea, become constipated, or get cramps. Again, you will also notice that your feet and hands are cold.