The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine

An Introduction to Energy Medicine and Energy Healing

 

"The goal of the Qigong Institute is to promote the scientific understanding of the basis of Qigong". Dr. Kenneth Sancier, Founder of the Qigong Institute.

 

Research into the scientific basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine can be found in at least the following disciplines: Psychoneuroimmunology, Epigenetics, Quantum Biology, Biophotonics, Biophysics, Clinical Psychology, Complex Systems Biology, Neurobiology, Molecular Dynamics, Quantum Mechanics, Bioenergy, Proteomics Bioengineering, Frequency Therapy, Transcriptomics, Mind-Body Practices, Neurophysics, Psychotherapy, Non-linear Biomedical Physics, Integrative Medicine, Energy Psychology, Bioimaging, Chemical Kinetics, Kinesiology, Metabolomics, Theoretical Physics, Connectomics, Integrative Medicine Research, Molecular Genetics, and Signal Transduction. Each of these fields at some level is addressing bioenergy.

A fundamental unanswered question concerning bioenergy ( "qi") is simply this: What is the relationship between physiology and electromagnetism? The ability to observe, measure, and affect bioenergetic function at the nanometer level is one example of recent enabling technology that is being used in many fields to unlock the secrets of how electricity, magnetism, and light affect molecules and cells -- providing new insights into the science and effectiveness of Qigong and Energy Medicine.

Although 'qi' cannot currently be measured, bioenergy can be measured. See Bioenergetic Effects of Qigong and watch Qi Gong & Tai Chi - Evidence Based Medicine.

Qi Gong & Tai Chi - Evidence Based Medicine

Dr. Shin LIn of UC Irvine's Laboratory for Mind/Body Signaling and Energy Research gives a short introduction to scientific research on Qigong and Tai Chi. 

Introductory Books 

Energy Medicine and the Physics of Biology

energy medicine

Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis

Bioelectromagnetic Healing: A Rationale for its Use

 

Cross Currents

Introductory Articles on Qigong and Energy Medicine

Six Pillars of Energy Medicine: Clinical Strengths of a Complemenatary Paradigm. The current status of energy medicine and its increasing challenge to the biochemical paradigm that has dominated conventional medicine are reviewed. Although energy medicine represents only a small fraction of 1% of the $2.2 trillion healthcare industry, 6 properties of energy medicine give it strengths that could augment conventional health care models. These include the ways energy medicine (1) can address biological processes at their energetic foundations (reach), (2) regulates biological processes with precision, speed, and fl exibility (effi ciency), (3) fosters health and prevents illness with interventions that can be readily, economically, and noninvasively applied (practicality), (4) includes methods that can be used on an at-home, self-help basis, fostering a stronger patient-practitioner partnership in the healing process (patient empowerment), (5) adopts non-linear concepts consistent with distant healing, the healing impact of prayer, and the role of intention in healing (quantum compatibility), and (6) strengthens the integration of body, mind, and spirit, leading not only to a focus on healing, but to achieving greater well-being, peace, and passion for life (holistic orientation). (David Feinstein, PhD; Donna Eden. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008;14(1):44-54.)

Qigong - Energy Medicine for the New Millenium. This paper characterizes Qigong as Energy Medicine by examining the scientific basis, the medical need for, and the scientific research supporting the benefits of Energy Medicine. It also proposes a Human Energy Project to fully research and map the human bio-energy field. The Qigong Institute.

Toward an Electromagnetic Paradigm for Biology and Medicine. Work by Lund, Burr, Becker, and others leads to the inescapable conclusion that organisms tend to express quasisystemic electric changes when perturbed, and, conversely, will tend toward wellness either through endogenous repair currents or the application of equivalent external currents. We show that an all-inclusive electromagnetic field representation for living systems is fully consistent with this extensive body of work. This electrogenomic field may provide the basis for a new paradigm in biology and medicine that is radically different from the present emphasis on molecular biology and biochemistry. An electromagnetic field description also enables a more rational transformation from the genome than the present endpoint, universally stated in terms of the so-called visible characteristics. Furthermore, once the organism is described as an electromagnetic entity, this strongly suggests the reason for the efficacy of the various electromagnetic therapies, namely as the most direct means of restoring the body’s impacted electromagnetic field to its normal state. ABRAHAM R. LIBOFF, Ph.D.

A Short History of Energy Medicine. An excellent introduction to the history of Energy Medicine and how it is starting to play a fundamental role in the delivery of 21st Century medicine. From  Energy Psychology: Self-Healing Practices for Bodymind Health Energy Psychology by Michael Mayer published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2009 by Michael Mayer. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

Healing with Electromedicine and Sound Therapies. A very complete introduction to Electromedicine, including a description of the electromagnetic spectrum and how it manifests in and affects biological organisms, and a description of EM therapeutic methods and tools. - Nenah Sylver, PhD.

Physiological Effects of Qigong and Yoga/Pranayama. A description of the affects of Qigong on body oxygen levels, the lymph system, and nervous system - Dr. Roger Jahnke, OMD.

The Science Behind Taiji & Qigong: Why They Work. The physiological and energetic basis for Qigong's benefits - Jim Loretta.

Bioelectricity, Qi, and the Human Body. An overview of the bioenergetic nature of the human body by Don Brown, Mindful Life by Design School of Chi Energy Heals.

An Analytic Review of Studies on Measuring Effects of External Qi in China. Scientists have long been interested in measuring external qi (EQ or wai qi) during qigong healing, and have produced a large body of literature over the past 20 years. This paper reviews the major research on measuring EQ in China and tries to help other researchers to get a picture on what has been done so as to eliminate the simple replication of already verified results. Starting with the historical background of EQ studies in China, this paper analytically reviews the major studies of EQ effects from five different categories of detectors: 1) physical signal detectors; 2) chemical dynamics methods; 3) detectors using biological materials; 4) detectors using life sensors; and 5) detectors using the human body. By Kevin Chen, Director of Research, Qigong Institute.

Qigong Institute Commentary on "Mind-Body and Relaxation Research Focus" collection by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (www.novapublishers.com). Explores the fundamental problems with the current western medical model and proposes specific initiatives to research and promote Qigong as a primary health modality. The Qigong Institute.

Obstacles to the Use of Energy Medicine

In spite of the slowly increasing acceptance of energy medicine, there are many reasons why its adoption is not as quick as it should be. Much of the problem is the existing western medical paradigm that is focused on the use of drugs and technology to treat symptoms instead of being focused on prevention of illness and treating the true cause of illness holistically, taking into account the mind and the body. This view is changing as the healthcare train-wreck is slowly coming into focus. Many government agencies have been at the forefront of trying to change the existing paradigm. See the United States Government and Qigong for more information. Although the government realizes the benefits of prevention of illness, there are many interest groups that are threatened by new medical paradigms. See The Suppression of Energy Medicine and the lack of science behind modern medical practice (How Scientific is Modern Medicine Really?).

Traditional Chinese Medicine
Qi-Enhancing Therapies

  • Qigong/Tai Chi
  • Heat Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupoint Massage
  • Moxibustion
  • Cupping, Gua Sha
  • Special Herbal Medicine

Medical Research on Qigong, Tai Chi, and Energy Medicine

A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi. Amer J. Health Promotion. Jul/Aug 2010. 

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Research Spotlight on Qigong and Tai Chi

Groundbreaking review of the "evidence base" for Qigong and Tai Chi.

Update on Qigong Practice and Qigong Research in the United States, Kevin W Chen, Ph.D. MPH Center for Integrative Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Laboratory for Mind-Body Signaling & Energy Research at University of California, Irvine.

Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis. Comprehensive book on Energy Medicine by Dr. James Oschman.

Meditation Practices for Health: State of Research, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This report was requested and funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Objective: To review and synthesize the state of research on a variety of meditation practices, including: the specific meditation practices examined; the research designs employed and the conditions and outcomes examined; the efficacy and effectiveness of different meditation practices for the three most studied conditions; the role of effect modifiers on outcomes; and the effects of meditation on physiological and neuropsychological outcomes.

EMF Portal. The EMF-Portal is a web-based information platform regarding the effects of electromagnetic fields on humans and on interaction with biological systems or body aids. It is provided for scientists, politicians, lawyers, physicians and interested citizens who want to be able make their own informed decisions. The site contains thousands of articles on the effects of electromagnetic fields on humans and on interaction with biological systems or body aids. Like the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™, access is free.

Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi Research page.

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind (Harvard Health Publications) .

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day Tai Chi Research Database.

What are the benefits of practicing Taijiquan? The Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School, WebMD, and MedicalNet recommend Tai Chi. Taijiquan Enthusiasts Organization.

Dr. Tom Krapu's Tai Chi Research page.

National Qigong Association Qigong and Tai Chi Research Articles.

Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine Journal Archive. The abstracts from these journals pertaining to Qigong and Energy Medicine research were added to the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ by Qigong Institute Founder Ken Sancier starting in 1990. Many other noteworthy articles have appeared here including Presidential addresses given at ISSSEEM Annual Conferences and research and presentations by leaders in the field including: Robert O. Becker, Daniel J. Benor, Larry Dossey, Konstantin Korotkov, Jeff Levin, Hiroshi Motoyama, Dean Radin, Elizabeth Rauscher, Norm Shealy, Charles Tart, William Tiller, John E. Upledger, B. Alan Wallace, and many more.

The World Academic Society of Medical Qigong based in Beijing at the Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine has a conference every two years. The most recent was in 2014. email Prof Fang 582216395@qq.com.

The Shanghai Qigong Research Institute http://www.shqigong.com email shqigong@126.com also has a conference every two years.

Comparison Between Mind-Body and Physical Exercise

Tai Chi and Qigong can increase bioenergy (as indicated by Bioenergetic Markers) to a greater degree than ‘hard' Kung Fu styles, riding a stationary bicycle, or lifting weights. The bioenergy increase produced by Tai Chi practice can also be measured as an increase in physical strength. Tai Chi and Qigong practices can increase both blood flow and bioenergy markers, consistent with the Chinese concept of “blood is the mother of Qi”. 

The following table lists the difference (increase) in bioenergy between mind-body and physcial exercise, as indicated by the bioenergetic marker:

Bioenergetic Marker

How Measured

Higher level of heat emission at the palm

Infrared thermography

Increase in pre-polarization electrical conductance at acupoints

Motoyama’s single square voltage pulse method (averaged over hand and foot points)

Increase in biophoton emission

Single photon counting system

Greater change in bioelectrical charge measured at the finger tips

Bioelectrography: Gas discharge visualization (GDV)

Quantitative Measurements of Physiological and Bioenergetic Changes Associated with Qigong and Tai Chi Practices. Dr. Shin Lin,Laboratory for Mind-Body Signaling & Energy Research, UC Irvine.

Dr. James Oschman on Energy Medicine

Highlights from Dr. James Oschman's presentation at the Annual World Congress of Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Oschman believes that a new milestone in medicine is upon us, harnessing the diagnostic and therapeutic use of energy. This new technology which is entering mainstream medical use stimulates the repair and regeneration of tissues.

"Energy Medicine is the diagnostic and therapeutic use of energy"

Denying the 'direct electromagnetic interactions [among] living molecules would be to deny the fundamental reaction upon which all life depends, namely the absorption of sunlight by green plants.' James Oschman in Energy Medicine - The Scientific Basis

Coherence and Entrainment

The bioenergetic basis of life is comprised of overlapping, interacting energy fields. Coherence (constructive interference) and entrainment are terms used to describe the interaction and synchronization of the fields.

Epigenetics, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Qigong

Research by the Harvard Medical School and others has demonstrated that the practice of Qigong affects gene expression, and immune, nervous system, and cellular function. Qigong positively affects telomeres and telomerase, which allows cells to live longer -- true "anti-aging" and the legendary "fountain of youth". Oxidative stress, inflammation, and a lower dietary antioxidant capacity are associated with telomere attrition. Proper nutrition plus the mind and body practice of Qigong address this fundamental problem. Exercise alone lowers chronic inflammation. Qigong also changes which genes are expressed, thereby promoting gene transcription for stress reduction and improvement of immune function. The scientific basis of Qigong is explained in part through the convergence of epigenetics (cell biology) and psychoneuroimmunology ( neuroscience): Epigenetics, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Qigong.

Buddhism and Neuroscience

In November 2005, The Stanford School of Medicine hosted a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and neuroscientists from Stanford and other universities, as well as Buddhist scholars in a day long discussion of the nature of the phenomena of compassion centercraving, suffering, and choice. Read a summary of this seminar on neuroscience with the Dalai Lama . Project Compassion at the Stanford School of Medicine's Center for Compassion & Altruism Research and Education is an innovative initiative within the Stanford Institute for Neuro-Innovation and Translational Neurosciences that will undertake a rigorous scientific study of the neural, mental and social bases of compassion and altruistic behavior that draws from a wide spectrum of disciplines including psychology, neuroscience, economics and contemplative traditions. The Dalai Lama also appeared in November 2005 in Washington DC at The Science and Clinical Applications of Meditation Conference.

An example of scientific collaboration between Buddhists and neuroscientists can be found in pubmed"Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice". Besides exhibiting gamma synchrony which is a component of the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC), one of the main outcomes of this study is that meditation can create permanent changes in neural pathways.

Guidelines for Selecting Qigong Healers in the Scientific Research of Qigong

In the view of the fact that there is no recognized certificate or licensing system for Qigong healers or Qigong masters in the U.S., nor in China, the Qigong Institute has developed the following guidelines to help research scientists who are interested in Qigong research to select the appropriate Qigong healers or masters in their scientific exploration of Qigong. In general, a good Qigong healer or master should meet at least three of the following seven criteria:

1. A specially invited member or director of the Chinese Society of Qigong Science (about 1000+ of such members existing in China who have been officially evaluated by the Society).

2. A recorded history of scientific research (with published paper(s) or certified report(s)).

3. A member of the national or international professional Qigong organization(s).

4. A formal disciple of the traceable and renowned Qigong master or Qigong tradition, such as lineage holder or representative of a special form.

5. A solid medical training or background, and preferably belonging to some kind of national organization of medical practitioners.

6. Does not currently have any verifiable negative claim against him/her in the field.

7. Have an established Qigong healing practice in this country (Some may be visitors with similar qualifications in their home country).

A Short History of Energy Medicine

A Short History of Energy Medicine (.PDF ). Modern science has demonstrated that electromagnetic fields of the body are generated during various biological processes, including rapid cell division; during natural growth processes, such as growth of bone cells; as well as following fracture, intense nervous activity associated with mental processes, and various pathological conditions, such as abnormal cell growth with diseases like cancer. energy psychology book coverThe distinction between conservative medical practitioners and the new proponents of energy medicine is summed up well by one of the early researchers in the field, Dr. Glen Rein (1992), who wrote: "It is now well known that the human body emits a broad spectrum of electromagnetic and acoustic radiation. Traditional medicine looks at these as by-products of biochemical reactions in the body. They are not considered by most biomedical researchers to be involved with the basic functioning (or healing) of the body. The basic tenet of energy medicine is that these fields are not only involved with functioning of the physical/chemical body but regulate these processes. (From Energy Psychology by Michael Mayer published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2009 by Michael Mayer. Reprinted by permission of publisher).

For more in-depth information on the incorporation of Qigong and related Energy Medicine therapies in clinical psychology, see Energy Psychology: Self-Healing Practices for Bodymind Health  by Dr. Mayer.

Also see Energy Psychology.

Western Medicine's Increasing Acceptance of Qigong and Energy Medicine

Qigong is a mind-body discipline. As a result of the effectiveness of Qigong and other energy-based therapies (e.g. see D. Benor, M.D.'s Energy Medicine for the Internist), western medicine and scientists are beginning to realize that a person's state of mind can affect their health. This should come as no surprise since according to the Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 report, seventy percent of diseases can be prevented, and other research shows that seventy to ninety percent of illness is due to stress.

Up until recently, placebos and "psychosomatic" illnesses were dismissed as byproducts of "legitimate" therapies, usually involving drugs, or made up problems that had no real physical basis or effect upon a person's health. Not anymore. It's been proven without a doubt that mental state can and does affect your health. Candace Pert's ground-breaking Molecules Of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine describes the genesis of an entirely new discipline in the field of neuroscience and medical biology: Psychoneuroimmunology, the interaction of the mind, body, emotions, and the immune system via the body's own internal chemical signaling system. Understanding the combination of the protein-receptor cellular level communication mechanism (the endocrine system) and psychoneuroimmunology is the goal of psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology. Endocrinology is the study of the protein-based chemical communcation system that controls the body's physiological processes. These processes are set in motion by a feedback system based upon energy where environmental signals affect molecular activity in the body. There is increasing evidence of the efficacy of mind-body therapies for common clinical conditions: Mind-Body Medicine: State of the Science, Implications for Practice.

More information on the documented effects of thoughts and emotions on health: Epigenetics, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Qigong.

Placebos have been embraced as a legitimate field of study by neuroscientists -- see Pain and the Placebo. It is encouraging that more researchers in biomedicine, biophysics, neuroscience, and complementary fields are turning their attention to Energy Medicine research and the scientific basis for Qigong's profound integrated mind-body medicine and stress reduction effectiveness.

This is an interview with Mind Body Week speaker Ted Cibik, Ph.D., ND, DMQ (China), a visionary, speaker, healer and author has been passionate about Chinese medicine, meditation, and healing since childhood. A survivor of incurable asthma and cancer, he has dedicated his life to healing himself and others. Dr. Cibik discusses the incorporation of mind-body medicine into western medical practice.

Electromedicine and Frequency Therapy

rife handbook book cover"Every molecule, cell, living body, and object is comprised of energy that manifests as physical matter. Some of that energy is detectible as frequencies that belong to one or more radiation bands in the electromagnetic spectrum. And these frequencies correspond to biochemical and biological processes in the body." Nenah Sylver, PhD.

Healing with Electromedicine and Sound Therapies. An overview of Electromedicine, the science behind electromagnetic frequencies used for therapy and healing, and specific EM therapeutic methods and tools.

For even more comprehensive information on energy-based technologies, devices, and their use for therapy, complementary therapies and how to use them, and holistic health, see

"Ongoing research in the emerging science of bioenergy will play a major, if not defining role in 21st Century medicine where energy-based pharmacology will complement chemical-based pharmacology." Tom Rogers. President, Qigong Institute.

15TH World Congress on Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Symposium (2013)

Dr. Shin Lin, Ph.D. Director of the Laboratory of Mind-Body Energy & Signaling Research and Professor in the Departments of Cell Biology and Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine. Measurements were carried out with ElectromyographyEEGPhoton Migration SpectroscopyLaser Doppler Flometry, and Gas Discharge Visualization.

  • "Qi" cannot be measured, but bioenergy (heat, light, and electricity) can be measured.
  • Coordinated breathing and movement produces the highest blood-flow. Blood flow raises electrical energy flow. Even when the blood flow stops or slows, electrical energy goes higher. Slow Tai Chi produces more electrical energy flow than fast Tai Chi.
  • Theta, Alpha, and Beta brain waves increase during meditation.
  • Research shows that Qigong produces measurable changes in physiological and bioenergy markers. Increased blood flow and conscious control of the autonomic nervous system account for many of these changes.
  • A low level D.C. electrical field similar to that emitted by the human body can enhance wound healing in a cell culture.

For more information see Publications on the Laboratory for Mind-Body Signaling & Energy Research website and Research Leading to a Systems/Cellular/Molecular Model for the Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi on Health and Healing.

Dr. Peter Wayne, Ph.D. Director of Research for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

  • Medical research is a significant factor in the evolution of Tai Chi in the West. There has been exponential growth in clinical and basic research evidence on Tai Chi from 1977 - 2012. The most common types of research in Randomized Controlled Trials involved Tai Chi for balance in older adults, fall prevention, cardiovascular conditions, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, reheumatoid arthritis, respiratory (COPD, asthma), Parkinson's, MS, stroke, depression, anxiety, mood, cognitive function, cancer and sleep.
  • Tai Chi complexity contributes to the challenges of running clinical trials. What exactly are the active ingredients of Tai Chi? Tai Chi has aspects of aerobic exercise, musculoskeletal strengthening, flexibilty, active relaxation, awareness, mindfulness, focused attention, natural breathing, philosophy, spiritual, and ritual aspects as well as social interaction and community. In addtion, what is the proper dose of Tai Chi for therapy? Are there differences between different types of Tai Chi?
  • There is a strong need for eastern asian medicine practitioners to understand western evidence-based research to be able to collaborate on research and integrated clinical care. This will help to address methodological limitations which are common in studies of all CAM therapies.

Dr. Ju Lin, Ph.D. Research Biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics at UC San Francisco and Co-Founder and Research Director of Telome Health Inc.

  • Exercise and mind-body practices buffer the negative impact of stress on telomere maintenance. Lifestyle factors are associated with telomere length.
  • Cells with short telomeres can harm neighboring cells.
  • Telomore shortness is associated with common diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, alzheimer's disease, plumonary fibrosis, and liver cirrhosis. Telomere length also correlates with mortality and increased years of healthy life.

Dr. John Longhurst, M.D. Ph.D. Director of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology & Biophysics and Pharmacology at UC Irvine.

  • There is not much difference between manual and electro-acupuncture (EA). EA is a little stronger and more precise.
  • Pain threshold can go up with acupuncture and this effect can be blocked with drugs, proving the physiological effects of acupuncture.
  • 70% of experimental subjects are responsive to acupuncture. The 30% who are not responsive are affected by CCK, particularly its octapeptide CCK8, which inhibits the action of opiods in the central nervous system.
  • Manual stimulation of nerve fibers leads to local chemical production, and this may be responsible for catalyzing remote acupuncture effects. Electroacupuncture has some effect upon hypertension, even four weeks after treatment. Acupuncture points physically migrate, but the effect of needling the moving point stays the same.
  • Acupuncture Mechanisms: low frequency or manual acupuncture stimulates nerve fibers thus affecting many neuotransmitter systems in the brain and spinal cord, such as the opiod system. Excitatory neurotransmitters include acetylcholine. Example inhibitory neurotransmitters include opioids and serotonin. Acupuncture responsive neurons in the brain can be identified.
  • The World Health Organization diseases and symptoms for which acupuncture is proven effective include pain, depression, nausea and vomiting, blood pressure abnormalities, and stroke.