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All Things Health Team
Written by All Things Health Team

Reviewed by Doreen Kee on October 5, 2023

What Is Qi Deficiency and How Can You Regulate It?

What Is Qi Deficiency and How Can You Regulate It?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), qi (vital force) is believed to form all living entities. It affects bodily functions like digestion, strength, and metabolism. Therefore, individuals with balanced qi tend to have good physical and mental health.

Read on to learn about qi deficiency and how to restore balance to your body.

What Is Qi Deficiency?

Qi deficiency refers to a state of low energy. Each organ is believed to be associated with its own qi, and the symptoms vary depending on the body part affected.

For example, general qi deficiency will likely cause fatigue, mental fog, and a weak immune system.

Other types of qi deficiency are more specific. Among them, spleen qi deficiency is the most common, as TCM believes that the spleen is responsible for digestion and is the source of qi. Hence, spleen qi deficiency may cause digestive issues, like acid reflux, diarrhoea, and nausea.

Lung qi deficiency typically leads to persistent coughs, breathlessness, and increased susceptibility to colds and flu.

Kidney qi deficiency results in asthma, cold limbs, and hair loss.

Causes of Qi Deficiency

Numerous physical and emotional conditions can affect your qi. For one, qi decreases over time as you age. Hence, you are more likely to experience qi deficiency as you age.

Another common cause of qi deficiency is stress. For many people, the fast pace of modern life is a significant stressor. When trying to balance busy personal and professional lives, many individuals tire themselves out, leading to vital qi being drained from the body.

Other common causes of qi deficiency include lack of exercise, emotional imbalances, and poor dietary habits.


Western medicine focuses on managing symptoms, whereas TCM emphasises a whole-body treatment. Therefore, Western medicine may treat tiredness with coffee while TCM addresses the issues causing fatigue.

Following this logic, TCM treats qi deficiency by addressing the root issue: lifestyle choices.

Get Sufficient Rest

Get Sufficient Rest

Getting sufficient sleep can help restore balance in your body.

Stress and sleep deprivation are key culprits of qi deficiency. Therefore, you should try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. It also helps to follow the TCM organ clock, which suggests that the ideal bedtime is 11pm.

Adjust Diet

The spleen is believed to be the foundation of the body’s qi. As such, you can consume food that is good for the spleen to treat qi deficiency.

Some foods to incorporate into your diet include:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Fermented food: kimchi, yoghurt, and natto.
  • Herbs: ginseng and cordyceps in Chinese medicine. However, you should consult a TCM practitioner before consuming these items.

Additionally, you should limit your intake of food that causes qi deficiency, such as refined sugar, fried foods, and cold and raw foods.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise improves blood flow and circulation, thus moving qi throughout the body. However, you should not perform strenuous exercises that may cause your qi to stagnate.

Low-impact exercises like qigong are good additions to your daily routine. Qigong helps you stay in good shape while harmonising and strengthening your body.


When it comes to serious qi imbalances, acupuncture is beneficial. By stimulating the relevant meridians and acupuncture points, practitioners can help facilitate qi flow.


Qi deficiency can significantly affect your health. If it is not swiftly treated, it may lead to chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Therefore, it is crucial to regulate your qi by implementing lifestyle changes like dietary changes and doing more exercises.

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