What is wai ke?

Naming a business is really hard.  You want it to have meaning, be descriptive of what you’re doing, speak to your guiding principles, and represent your creativity.  When I was starting this venture I went through so many iterations of names.  Writing them down, saying them over and over, thinking about whether they represented my vision.  What was my vision?!   Wai Ke Botanicals is almost at its 1st birthday and I feel like this refining is an ever evolving process. 

My vision has changed from one of wanting to craft anything I could get my hands on and learn about to really wanting to refine how our products interact with our name, how they encourage healing and what they’re able to unblock for each of us.  This leads me into a question I get all the time!  What IS wai ke (pronounced why cuh)?

So, what is wai ke?  In Chinese medicine, just like Western medicine, there are specialties that practitioners can choose to work in: gynecology, dermatology, internal medicine, pediatrics, stroke rehab, and external medicine or wai ke.  Wai ke is the historical specialty of external medicine that focuses on the distribution of wei qi (our body’s protective qi) in the superficial layers of the body, specifically the cutaneous regions of the channel and collateral system. 

The specialty of wai ke deals with things like rashes, boils, broken bones and lesions but isn’t just focused on treating conditions that manifest on the surface of the body.  It also helps dispel deeper stagnations to the exterior.  This makes it an interesting aspect of TCM and one that can be helpful for a multitude of conditions.  On a basic level, wai ke is about eliminating stagnation and restoring flow.

This is the one of the basic principles of our products.  How can each one unblock stagnation and help restore our flow?  I see this happening through both our emotional and physical bodies – removing obstructions that keep us from taking care of our selves, restoring the flow of fluids and blood through our tissues, affecting our external body both directly and through our senses.

All of this influences my thinking and creation of new products, and helps dictate which of our older products will continue into our second year and which will be phased out.  Our name and all of its associations influence our guiding principles as we navigate this terrain of natural healing.  As I continue to refine what our guiding principles are during this sweet week off, my love for this work and the fluidity it has asked me to accept are so apparent.  I can’t wait to share the deep work this week is calling forth and am excited to hear how my interpretation of wai ke influences how you view our products and your experience with them!