The Illuminating Light of Science on Qi

By Timothy Booth

This article is about the spectrum of equivalents for Qi in the Western View.

Scientific Domain      Qi Equivalent                                 Three Treasures

Physiology                  Structure and Chemistry                                   Jing

Bio-energy                  Internal energies-ions                                         Qi

Bio-field                      Field of energy-magnetic and light                    Qi

Quantum                    Limitless information and consciousness          Shen


There is now convincing evidence that Qi may be the element that organizes all of our bodily functions into a coherent and integrated expression of health and vitality. For decades now we have been aware that there are dynamic relationships between the nervous system and the organ systems, but the level of complexity that science is now recognizing is really astounding. This is leading to research into the effects of intentionally enhancing coherence of these systems through the use of imagery and Qigong practice.

The second equivalent is internal energy. Western science has begun to speculate that Qi might be the equivalent to bio-electricity or other internal energies such as ions. Qi could be the equivalent of the accumulation, discharge and flow of electrical impulses that operate the heart, the ionic charge that opens and closes the channels of entry and exit to the cell or the ionic discharge that carries neurological impulses along the neurons.

The third is the notion that the energy of the body is not only contained within but circulates around the body as a type of electromagnetic bodily energy.

Research has shown that these fields circulate around and penetrate the human system as magnetic fields and infrared radiation- the human bio-field.

The non-local aspect is the fourth equivalent of Qi in the form of photons or packets of light which are produced by cells and are stored by the body in the form of light. The Chinese have traditionally believed that mind and consciousness are unbounded in either space or time. Physicists are currently exploring the nature of fields of information, consciousness and the mind as a kind of cosmological constant-a form of subtle energy that is pervasive throughout the universe.

Therefore the multi-dimensional nature of Qi is becoming the topic of much research around the world. Maybe Qigong can be the door to even further understanding and scientific investigation by way of inquiry and curiosity where the doubting mind becomes the vehicle for understanding!

That which is looked upon by one generation as the apex of human knowledge is often considered an absurdity in the next, and what is regarded as a superstition in one century, may form the basis of science for the following one!

-Paracelsus, sixteenth-century European Alchemist

[Timothy Booth is a Freelance Musician and Composer in Toronto Canada. Tim has been practicing Qigong for over 15 yrs., is a member of the National Qigong Association and is the Director of Integral Qigong. He currently instructs private and group Qigong classes in Toronto.  He has studied with some of the greatest western Masters of Qigong such as Ken Cohen, and Eric Reynolds, direct student of Dr. John Painter, and received 1998 Certificate of Attainment at Senior Level in Baguazhang from Emerge Internal Arts Tai Chi and Meditation Centre.  He can be reached through his blog at]
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