[Cultivating the Mind]
The Bioenergtic of Basic Life
by Tom Rogers, President of Qigong Institute
The fundamental principle of Western medical science has been that the basis of life is biological and the combination of biochemistry and molecular biology defines living organisms. However, each cell in the body can generate and receive different forms of energy — heat, light, sound, vibration, magnetism, and electricity11. Historically, these different types of bioenergy phenomena have been treated as byproducts of normal cellular function instead of being recognized as intrinsic to the function.
Emerging fields of research including epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology, biophysics, (including biophotonics and quantum biology), and frequency therapy are proving that energy is just as fundamental to life as biology. This should come as no surprise because in 1905 Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity demonstrating the equivalence of mass and energy (E=mc2). This fundamental equivalence confirms the fact that human beings are half biological, but the other half is energy.
What explains the coordinated function of the estimated 75-100 trillion cells and over 100,000 reactions per second in most cells in the body, day after day, and year after year? Although DNA holds instructions for creating all of the 70,000+ proteins in the human genome, it is still just a blueprint. Proteins that are involved in metabolism and body function are created and then reused many times without transcription being required from DNA. When a protein wears out or is damaged and must be replaced, then DNA is accessed to create information in the form of a biomolecular program to create a new copy of the protein.
Epigenetics research has demonstrated how proteins are turned on and off by environmental bioenergetic signals, such as those generated by thoughts, emotions, and the practice of Qigong. Although epigenetics affects cellular function and modultes the expression of genes, it is only one factor in the production and regulation of metabolic enzymes. Just as computers need oscillators to regulate the rate at which computations take place, the human body also needs oscillators and signaling mechanisms to coordinate body functions and regulate metabolism over time. The heart and brain are examples of oscillators that generate measurable electromagnetic fields11. Researchers are beginning to understand that the complexity and timing of the regulation of body function is simply beyond chemical signal processing speeds and capabilities8.
This has not always been the case. Up until recently, the majority of biology research has been based on classical physics . But many researchers point out that the primary shortcoming of classical physics based molecular biology is that the holistic character of the physical world now recognized in quantum theory is not taken into account. For example, classical physics is inadequate for describing homeodynamics, ontogenesis, and morphology. In addition, fundamental biological processes that involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations are quantum mechanical in nature. These processes involve chemical reactions themselves, light absorption, formation of excited electronic states, transfer of excitation energy, transfer of electrons and protons, etc10. Molecular biology and biochemistry, though well grounded in empirical knowledge, have had no foundation in the principles of quantum theory1. Biophysics must be based on more than classical physics in order to be able describe energy-based phenomena within cells such as quantum coherence and oscillating electromagnetic fields. Today, the field view of the organism and its interactions is finding increasing acceptance in biology, biophysics, and medicine1. Quantum biology is an example of a new discipline which incorporates field theory and combines principles of biophysics and molecular biology based on quantum physics. It’s interesting to note that some emerging sub-fields of bioenergy research are so new that their scientific descriptions are still being defined (e.g. biophotonics, quantum biology, and quantum chemistry).
Understanding the interaction between human energy and human biology is intrinsic to the scientific understanding of the basis of Qigong. At a basic level, all life depends on molecules interacting through vibrating or oscillating energy fields. Each electron, atom, chemical bond, molecule, cell, tissue, organ, and the body as a whole has its own vibratory character11. A growing amount of energy field-based biophysics research is confirming the energetic nature of the human body. The heart, brain, and nervous system generate electromagnetic fields11. Electromagnetic fields have been found to modulate cellular signaling molecules2. Microtubules in cells generate oscillating electromagnetic fields which are believed to have an organizing affect upon water around microtubules and a role in cytoskeleton organization, cellular interactions, and information transfer 3, 6. Bioelectric ion flows and gradients have been found to regulate cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation as well as appendage regeneration, embryogenesis, and formation of prepatterns for gene expression during craniofacial patterning4. Cancer cells have been detected by their electromagnetic signatures5, and their growth has been inhibited by specific electromagnetic frequencies7. Even the stomach generates measurable electric and magnetic fields 9.
The emerging science of biofields23 is a recognition of the fact that humans are comprised of energy as well as matter. Researchers are just beginning to characterize the various electromagnetic fields that occur within cells, tissues, organs, and a human being. Although there are many proven technologies to diagnose, monitor, and characterize eletromagnetic fields within humans, and therapies that are based on energy are becoming more prevalent, understanding the role of energy within the human body is still very much a research project. One of the more established areas of research is biophotonics.
As summarized in Rahnama, et. al.12
All living cells of plants, animals and humans continuously emit ultraweak biophotons (ultraweak electromagnetic waves) in the optical range of the spectrum, which are associated with their physiological states and can be measured. Neural cells also continuously emit biophotons. The intensity of biophotons is in direct correlation with neural activity, cerebral energy metabolism, EEG activity, cerebral blood flow and oxidative processes. There are significant correlations between the fluctuations in biophoton emission and fluctuations in the strength of electrical alpha wave production in the brain.
Biophotons are light emitted by biological organisms either spontaneously or as a result of external stimulation 15,26,27. As early as 1923 Russian researcher Alexander Gurwitsch discovered that living tissue gave off photons, which he termed “mitogenic rays.” He demonstrated that these ultraviolet rays (photons) stimulated cell reproduction. Gerwitsch’s work was replicated in the 1970’s and expanded upon by German researcher Fritz Popp. The resurgence of biophotonic research was enabled by the development of the photomultiplier tube which can detect very weak light emissions. Popp was inspired by Herbert Fröhlich, father of superconductivity theory, who was a theoretical physicist in the field of solid state physics who later applied theoretical physics to biological systems.
Fröhlich proposed the existence of “condensates” which are composed of a collection of vibrational oscillators that concentrate their vibrational energy in collective motion. More specifically, he stated that biological systems are highly nonlinear; far away from thermal equilibrium, and must be treated as thermodynamically open systems that constantly carry out work to maintain this non-equilibrium; and macroscopic quantum systems that are able to produce coherent oscillations17. These coherent oscillations have been observed to generate an electromagnetic field that could enable long-range interactions between cells. The action of the electromagnetic waves causes the excitation of coherent vibrations pumped by energy derived from metabolism. This effect should be visible at normal temperatures and occur in all living things, and cells are able to recognize each other at a distance and be attracted or repelled. Fröhlich’s hypothesis of coherent vibrations in biological systems provides a theoretical framework for the regulation of biological processes in and between cells, organs, tissues, and the whole human body via electromagnetic fields.
Oschman outlines the scope of coherent vibrations11
Coherent vibrations recognize no boundaries, at the surface of a molecule, cell, or organism — they are collective properties of the entire being. As such, they are likely to serve as signals that integrate processes, such as growth, injury repair, defense and the functioning of the organism as a whole. Each molecule, cell, tissue, and organ has an ideal resonant frequency that coordinates its activities.
Fröhlich describes how the coherent vibrations would actually work30
An assembly of cells, as in a tissue or organ, will have certain collective frequencies that regulate important processes, such as cell division. Normally these control frequencies will be very stable. If, for some reason, a cell shifts its frequency, entraining signals from neighboring cells will tend to reinstall the correct frequency. However, if a sufficient number of cells get out-of-step, the strength of the system’s collective vibrations can decrease to the point where stability is lost. Loss of coherence can lead to disease or disorder.
Coherent vibrations in humans have been found in the acoustic, megahertz, gigahertz, and infrared ranges. Macroscopic coherent states occur when an oscillating electromagnetic field is created within or surrounding a cell. Research has shown that mechanical oscillations of microtubules and cell membranes generate an electromagnetic field, and it is proposed that this field plays role in cell physiology and participates in the controlling of the organization of intracellular processes and interaction between cells 14,18,28. The constant stream of energy in the form of photons and heat that microtubules receive from mitochondria 12,25 has been found to catalyze the ordering of water in cells into a crystalline lattce structure which may play a role in meridians and qi flow in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Biophoton emission has been found in oxidative metabolism in mitochondria, free radical reactions with biomolecules, and in proteins and DNA. There is extensive research on electromagnetic cellular interactions13. Although the use of biophoton emission for diagnostic and treatment purposes is in its infancy28, biorhythms of biophoton production have been found to be on the order of weeks and months and may vary considerably after just ten minutes due to the dynamic nature of biological systems. The intensity of biophoton emission is much higher in the hands and face and can vary considerably (up to fifty percent more or less than the daily average) depending upon skin temperature 16,29. Palm locations produce significantly more photons than dorsal locations, and emission rates vary considerably depending upon the time of day 15.
Popp and other researchers have proposed the possible biocommunicaton and bioregulatory effect of photons 17. In this theory, the generated field of photons is a quantum information field that interacts with body molecules and chemistry in a regulatory biofeedback mechanism. It is hypothesized that photons released by the cells form a whole interlinked system working as a synchronized coherent field 17. The high degree of order in such light reflects its laser-like properties 21. This light is very quiet and shows an extremely stable intensity, without the fluctuations normally observed in light. Because of the stable field strength, its waves can superimpose, and by virtue of this, interference effects become possible that do not occur in ordinary light. Because of its high degree of order, the biological laser light is able to generate and keep order and to transmit information in the organism 19,22.
Popp’s biophoton theory also postulates a web, or hologram, of light created by the constant emitting and absorbing of photons by DNA, cells, tissues, and organs and proteins. This hologram could correspond to auras, chakras, meridians and other energy matrices that have been part of eastern philosophy and healing traditions for millennia. An energetic matrix could also explain basic morphology, or cell differentiation, and the regulation of myriad other cellular functions. However, there are other theories of morphology that are based on ion flows and gradients4. Although this ion-based theory also depends on electromagnetism, it does not as yet involve biophotons.
There are myriad unanswered questions in biophoton research, such as how and why are biophotons generated; how do biophotons contribute to cellular organization, regulation and communication; what is the source of the information that they carry; can biophotons be modulated; which signals result in which metabolic actions; can photon emission reliably be used diagnostically; what is the relationship between biophotons and DNA; what is the function of the absorption of biophotons by photosensitive molecules; how does weak and strong radiation interact with biological tissue; can condensates (collective electron oscillations) form in biological tissue powered by photons; how do microtubules, mitochondria, and photons interact; and what role might biophotons play in the regulation of cell division and cellular differentiation.
Ongoing research in the emerging science of bioenergy will play a major, if not defining role in 21st Century medicine. For example, imagine energy-based pharmacology instead of chemical-based pharmacology.
More information on the bioenergetic basis of life can be found in the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ and on the Energy Based Medical Technologies and Therapies and The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine pages on the Qigong Institute website (http://www.qigonginstitute.org).
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Tom Rogersis the President and CEO of the Qigong Institute, a 501©(3) non-profit organization which has been promoting Qigong scientific research and education since 1984. He has practiced Tai Chi and Qigong for eighteen years and yoga for over twenty five years. He visited China six times on business, qigong study trips, and personal travel which included training with Master Wan Su Jian and Master Duan Zhi Liang. Tom is a certified Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor from the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi. He earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Oregon and an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University then spent over twenty years in Silicon Valley specializing in mission critical database and computer system performance and reliability.