Qi Stagnation in Chest

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 胸中气滞      Pinyin name: Xiōng Zhōng Qì Zhì

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Qi Stagnation


Common causes: 1. Emotional stress, 2. Diet, 3. overwork



Common formulas: Xuan Fu Hua Tang


The pattern of "Qi Stagnation in the Chest," as detailed in the context of Liver fixation from "Essentials from the Golden Cabinet," involves a significant obstruction of Qi dynamics within the chest area.

This blockage impedes the movement of Qi into the Blood, causing it to become constrained within the collaterals. Symptoms manifest as sensations of fullness, distention, or pain in the chest, which notably improve with external pressure or massage. This relief indicates the connection between the physical manifestations and the Stagnation of Qi.

Interestingly, when patients are not experiencing these symptoms, they tend to prefer warm beverages. This preference suggests that, although the obstruction is evident at the Blood level, its underlying cause is rooted in the Qi level, specifically due to a constraint of Yang energy. The diagnosis is further supported by the wiry and large qualities of the pulse, signifying stagnation and a channel-level issue, respectively, rather than a deeper organ dysfunction.

Additionally, this pattern is relevant in certain gynecological conditions. For instance, uterine bleeding in the second half of pregnancy, attributed to blood Stagnation rather than Deficiency, can occur when a woman’s Qi is insufficient to manage the increased volume of Yin fluids and Blood in her body.

The pattern of Qi Stagnation in the Chest, therefore, has implications beyond the immediate symptoms and can manifest in different physiological contexts, requiring a treatment approach that addresses both Qi movement and blood dynamics.


Emotional stress: it leads to a disruption in the smooth flow of Liver Qi

Diet: irregular eating habits or consumption of cold, greasy foods that impair Spleen function and Qi movement

overwork : It depletes Qi and weakens the body's energy systems;

Diagnosing Qi Stagnation in Chest

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Main symptoms: Chest pain Chest fullness Chest distention Chest pain improve with massage Preference for warm drinks and foods Uterine bleeding during second half of pregnancy

Diagnosis commentary: sensations of fullness, distention, or pain in the chest area, which often improve with pressure or massage

Treating Qi Stagnation in Chest

Herbal formulas used to treat Qi Stagnation in Chest

Xuan Fu Hua Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Unblocks the Yang. Expands the chest. Removes and transforms Stagnation.

Formula summary

Xuan Fu Hua Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that invigorate Blood and dispel Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Xuan Fu Hua Tang