Qi stagnation and its manifestations in dreams

  • Calvin Kai-Ching Yu (Author)
    Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Identifiers (Article)


Qi stagnation, which is believed to result from repressed emotions and bear directly on dream experiences, is an important diagnostic entity in Chinese medicine. This belief, however, has not received much empirical attention. In view of this, thestudy presented here was geared toward testing the relationship between anger expression, qi stagnation, and dreaming themes relating to qi stagnation. The Chinese versions of the Stagnation Scale, Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, and Dream Motif Scale were administered to 117 Chinese participants. Qi stagnation as indicated by overattachment, body-mind obstruction, and affect-posture inhibition was found to be positively correlated with dreaming of ego anger, bodily inhibition, and botanic elements. This relationship was still significant even after taking a person’s aggressive tendencies into consideration. Specifically, dream themes involving ego anger were positively predicted by internalanger and overall qi stagnation, dreaming of bodily hindrance and botanic elements being respectively indicated by overattachment and body-mind obstruction. Nonetheless, the presenting findings do not necessarily lend support to the qi mechanisms described by the traditional Chinese medicine but might instead reflect certain psychological mechanisms for dream formation, such as dream symbolism and internalizing emotions in waking life.


dream themes, Chinese medicine, ego anger, Five Elements (Wu-xing), inhibition
How to Cite
Yu, C. K.-C. (2016). Qi stagnation and its manifestations in dreams. International Journal of Dream Research, 9(2), 124–129. https://doi.org/10.11588/ijodr.2016.2.29818