Scientific Qi Exploration – Part 7

Electromagnetic Effects of Qigong Practice on the Body

Electric flow in Body

Martin Eisen, Ph.D.

[This series of “scientific Qi exploration” by Dr. Eisen was originally published in Qi Dao e-journal since 2008.  Click HERE to see a list of other articles posted or newly published on Yang-Sheng web site so far]

1. Introductionb

The effects of Qigong practice on the body will be explored.  Electromagnetic changes resulting from Qigong training will be discussed. These alterations are important, since every normal or pathological event in the body produces electrical and magnetic changes in the body.

Part 8 will examine the relation between Qigong, the field of the body and environmental fields. Effects on other systems of the body will be examined in subsequent parts.

Table 1 provides a review of electromagnetic radiation used in the sequel. Recall that the frequency times the wavelength equals the speed of light (299,792,458 m/s).


Table 1. The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Region Wavelength
Radio > 109 > 10 < 3 x 109
Microwave 109 – 106 10 – 0.01 3 x 109 – 3 x 1012
Infrared 106 – 7000 0.01 – 7 x 10-5 3 x 1012 – 4.3 x 1014
Visible Light 7000 – 4000 7 x 10-5 – 4 x 10-5 4.3 x 1014 – 7.5 x 1014
Ultraviolet 4000 – 10 4 x 10-5 – 10-7 7.5 x 1014 – 3 x 1017
X-Rays 10 – 0.1 10-7 – 10-9 3 x 1017 – 3 x 1019
Gamma Rays < 0.1 < 10-9 >3 x 1019

2. Body Electromagnetism (1,2)

Biological electricity occurs throughout the body in various ways. One way is the movement of ions such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium across cell membranes by diffusion and active transport. This causes the cell membranes to temporarily depolarize and then to repolarize. This process enables nerves to produce and conduct electrical signals. Muscle cells are triggered to contract because of the wave of depolarization that they receive.

All bodily systems are covered with connective tissues, which forms a continuous matrix, connecting every part of the body. The connective tissue has a liquid crystalline form. Each tension or compression of the connective tissue generates a bioelectronic signal that is characteristic of the tension or compression. This is due to the pizeoelectric effect, which results from a structural deformation of a crystal.

Another way that movement generates electricity is by the flow of fluid containing ions over electrically charged surfaces. The charge is produced by the electrostatic interactions between the fixed tissue charge and the moving charges. This type of streaming potential can be produced by blood flow or the movement of extracellular fluid from tissue deformation.

Albert Szent-Georgy (3) suggested certain molecules, such as proteins, are semiconductors. Semiconductors are between conductors and insulators in their ability to conduct electricity, but their conduction can be precisely controlled. Thus, they are used in modern electronic devices and computers.

Szent-Georgy (4) also theorized that molecules do not have to touch to interact, but energy can flow through the electromagnetic field and that water can form structures that transmit energy. Every tissue fiber is surrounded by an organized layer of water that can function as a channel of communication and energy flow. Protons flow through the water layer, which is called “proticity” in (5). Ho and Knight (6) have studied the water system in relation to acupuncture.

In a series of papers (2), Robert O. Becker studied the properties of the perineum, a connective tissue layer which encases every nerve fiber in the body. This perineural system generates slow moving waves of direct current under the primary pacemaker of brainwave oscillation. This is an injury current, which is generated by a wound, and continues until the tissue is repaired. The injury current attracts mobile skin cells, white blood cells, and fibroblasts that close and heal the wounds. As the tissue heals the injury current changes and so feeds back information on the progress of repair to surrounding tissues. Other bodily tissues are also sheathed in continuous layers of connective tissue. Oschman hypothesizes that a current of injury will arise in any tissue, epidermal, vascular, muscular, nervous, or bone, that is injured.

Becker discovered that the perineural tissue was sensitive to magnetic fields. His experiments involved the Hall effect, discovered in 1879, by the physicist E. H. Hall. A conductor has many charge carriers with low mobility. Hence, they are relatively unaffected by a magnetic field applied at right angles to the direction of flow. A semiconductor has relatively fewer, more mobile, charge carriers. Hence, they are diverted by the magnetic field to produce a current a current perpendicular to the direction of flow. The degree of semiconduction is measured by the produced transverse DC Hall voltage. While applying magnetic fields in his studies of the regeneration of salamander limbs, Becker noted DC Hall voltages. This indicated semiconduction. Becker’s research also indicated that the matrix of connective tissue is a semiconductor.

The Hall voltages also increase during recovery from anesthesia. This indicates that the semiconducting DC current correlates with the level of consciousness and so perhaps be increased by a healer’s intent.

Salamanders can regrow a limb by and other parts of their body by de-differentiation of generative cells at the injury site. The cells revert to their embryonic or totipotent state so they have the ability to form any tissue like in embryonic growth. For example, by altering the injury current, Becker was able to regrow a salamander’s forelimb instead of an amputated hind limb. Becker discovered that this reversion of cells was stimulated by weak electrical fields applied at the wound site, which unlocked repressed genes. Becker used this idea to devise an electrochemical method to accelerate healing of skin, soft tissue, bone, bone loss, and ionizing radiation burns. It also helps control bacterial infections and stops the growth of some cancer cells.

Dr. Nordenström (7) became intrigued by a “halo-like” disturbance that he occasionally observed around lung malignancies on routine x-rays. It was never present with tumors that were benign. Nordenström thought it might represent some sort of energy disturbance due to the malignancy and devoted his research to investigating this possibility. He reasoned that blood plasma and interstitial fluid carry ions whose movement produces current. Blood vessel walls and the cells and membranes that surround interstitial spaces insulate these conducting media from their surroundings. Plasma and interstitial fluid are electrically joined across capillary membranes. Thus, blood vessels and interstitial spaces function as insulated electric cables that carry current and transport charged particles over short and long distances. Dr. Nordenström named this electrical circulatory system biologically closed electric circuits (BCEC). Other BCEC probably also exist.

Nordenström hypothesized that there is a local built-up of positively charged ions following injury that creates an electrical voltage potential between opposite ions that are separated. This energy can be balanced once the circuit is closed to permit the flow of electricity between these charged areas. Based on this, he has demonstrated how specific DC micro currents that restore ion electricity balance can be utilized to treat metastatic lung cancer and other malignancies. The BCEC concept has also stimulated research to explore this treatment for Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Nordenström suggests that the forces flowing in BCEC may be thought of as Qi, with positive and negative charges that are comparable to yin and yang. He relates this to some aspects of Chinese medicine and self healing.

Fritz-Albert Popp is a German physicist, who has been studying light emissions from the body for many years, using equipment that can count the light emissions, photon by photon. He was the first to discover that communications with the environment is in the form light emissions. Popp’s explanation is chemical reaction takes place if, and only if, at least one of the reacting compounds is excited by a photon. This means that without photons chemical reactions are not possible and the distribution of photons regulates the chemical reactivity in non-living and living matter.

Popp believes that there is a new communications channel within the body that uses light as a means of non-local signaling to the rest of the living organism. He states that these signals contain valuable information about the health state of the body as well as of therapeutic effects. Theses hypotheses were made plausible by several experiments measuring the change in light production after medical treatment. In one experiment, he and his colleagues applied medicated ointment to a spot on a patient’s right arm, and then measured the light emissions from the treated area as well as a number of untreated parts from all over the body. Popp found a large change in the number of light emissions not only from where the ointment had been applied, but also from distant parts of the body. Furthermore, the size of the changes correlated all over the body: even from those places where no ointment had been applied, Popp recorded the same increase in light emissions as from the spot where the medicine had been used.

3. Some Instruments for Measuring Body Electromagnetism

In a paper, published in 1906, a Dutch physician, William Einthowen, described how heart electricity could be recorded with a sensitive galvanometer. His method has been improved so that the electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a standard tool for cardiac diagnosis.

In 1929, Hans Berger announced that much smaller electric fields could be recorded from the brain, using scalp electrodes. Refinements of this apparatus are now used for electroencephalogram (EEG) tests and have become a standard tool in neurology.

During his physics lecture in 1820, Hans Christian Oersted accidentally discovered that when an electric current flows through a conductor, a magnetic field is created in space. From this law of physics, some scientists predicted that the heart’s electricity should create a heart magnetic field. However, it was not until 1963 that Gerhard Bauer and Richard McFee, using a pair of 2 million-turn coils on the chest were able to detect the magnetic field produced by the heart’s muscle electrical activity.

The heart’s electrical activity is diminished because of the resistance of bodily tissues. However, there is no resistance to the heart’s magnetic field. The field never ends, but gets weaker until it becomes undetectable in the noise by other environmental fields. However, the discovery of new theory and methods make instruments more sensitive and able to separate signals from noise.

Brian Josephson, while a graduate student at the University of Cambridge in 1962, predicted the movement of pairs of electrons through an insulator. This was thought to be impossible in classical physics, but could happen in quantum physics, since electrons are also waves and waves can act in ways that particles cannot. This is called tunneling and several different kinds of tunneling can take place. In 1963, several scientists showed that tunneling could occur.

Pairs of electrons will flow across a junction consisting of a thin insulating barrier placed between two superconductors, such as two metals cooled in liquid helium. This Josephson effect was utilized by J. E. Zimmerman and associates to develop the superconducting quantum interference device (SQID) using one or more such junctions immersed in liquid helium.

In 1967, Cohen and his colleagues used a SQUID in a heavily shielded room at MIT to produce a magnetocardiogram. The shielding was necessary since the heart’s field is one-millionthof the earth’ magnetic field and about one-thousandth of the environmental field. In 1972, Cohen was able to use the SQID to obtain a magnetoencephlogram of the brain’s alpha waves because these waves are a very strong component of the brain’s waves. There were technical difficulties in obtaining these recordings, because the brain’s field is a hundred times weaker than the heart’ field. Sensitive SQUID instruments are now available commercially and are being used in medical research.

In 1989 Del Guiudice verified the existence of the Josephson junction in living tissue, which had superconducting semiconductors present.

Several electrodermal devices have been invented which provide information on the energy distribution among meridians. The forerunner of these devices, called the Dermatron, was invented by Dr . Reinhold Voll, a German medical doctor and acupuncturist. The Dermatron and similar devices are basically ohmmeters. Dr. Voll found that over an acupuncture point, there is significantly less skin resistance than over a non acupuncture point. Over a normal acupuncture point the average was 100,000 ohms. This was represented by the number 50 on a scale of 1 to 100. If inflammation is present, there is less resistance, and thus a higher reading. If degenerative changes occur, there will be more resistance, and a reading of less than 50 will appear. Diagnosis depends on measuring the relative resistance and its time dependence. An indicator drop (ID) occurs when the resistance of a point increases to a maximum and then decreases to a lower equilibrium value. The ID is an important indication in EAV of a functionally disturbed associated organ.

The patient holds a brass rod plugged into the EAV unit in one hand. The rod carries a minute amount of current. A stylus is also plugged into the Dermatron. If it is touched to the brass rod, then the circuit will be completed and give a reading of 100 – i.e., no resistance. The patient is placed into the circuit by touching an acupuncture point with the stylus. Different readings will then be recorded. The higher the reading, the less is the resistance. By touching the stylus to all of the acupoints on the ends of the fingers and toes the condition of the meridians and corresponding organs can be studied. This technique is called electroacupuncture according to Voll (EAV).

Another electrodermal device, called the Apparatus for Meridian Identification (AMI) was discovered by Dr. Motoyama in the 1970’s. The AMI works by monitoring the electrical conductivity and capacity at the Jing acupoints at the tip of fingers and toes.

Nakatami developed the Ryodoraku technique in 1947 and since that time this electrodermal device has been wiely used for diagnosis and therapy. The Ryodoraku technique monitors the electrical conductivity of acupoints on the wrists and ankles.

4. Effects of Qigong Practice on Body Electromagnetism

In (8), two series of EAV measurements were made before and after healthy subjects practiced their own qigong. Qigong exercise decreased the average EAV measured values of the subjects. In one series, . Qigong eliminated indicator drops for three subjects and reduced the indicator drop by 80% for the fourth subject. This indicates that Qigong can therapeutically balance the meridian-organ systems and so improve health. In (9), electrodermal measurements with a Ryodoraku instrument were used to monitor the effects of a 2-day qigong workshop on the participants. The results also showed an improve balance of the Qi energy in the bodies of the participants.

Another experiment, to test whether the conductivity of acupuncture points changes during Qigong, was conducted at the Beijing Institute of Space Medical Engineering. The results were reported at the Second World conference for Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong in 1993. Ninety-six subjects who had practiced Qigong for 2 or 3 years were in the Qigong group and 15 non-practitoiners were in the control group. Skin resistance and microvibrations (low frequency muscular vibrations) were tested at 3 acupuncture points associated with the 3 Dan Tians (Yintang, Shanzhong; Qihai) and Lao Gong in the palm.

Both groups sat quietly with closed eyes for 10 minutes and then focused on the acupoints for several minutes. Both groups were able to cause a change in skin resistance at the acupoints. However, the Qigong group was able to produce a much greater change.

Dr. John Zimmermann conducted a series of experiments on therapeutic touch beginning in the early 1980’s. The healer and his patient were placed in a magnetically shielded room with a SQUID. The therapistt held his hands close to the patient and a baseline recording was made with the SQUID. Then the practitioner went into the meditative state used in therapeutic touch. A large magnetic field was detected coming from the healer’s hands. The signal was so strong that it was out of the range of the sensitive SQUID. Its frequency pulsed from .3 to 30 HZ (cycles/sec.) with the most activity at 7-8 Hz. Non-practitioners were able to produce the biomagnetic pulses.

In 1992, Seto and his co-workers were able to quantify the signal strength. They verified that a variety of healers, different meditators, and martial artists were able to produce strong biomagnetic pulses from their hands. The fields were measured with two 80,000 turn coils and a sensitive amplifier. The field strength was about 1/000 gauss. This is about 1000 times stronger than the heart’s magnetic field and a million times stronger than that of the brain. The magnetic fields pulsed with a variable frequency centered around 8-10 Hz.

Neither study documented that any healing took place during the energy projection. However, these practitioners emitted strong biomagnetic fields in the same frequency that medical researchers have identified to help healing as shown in Table 2 (2). The healing effect of biomagnetic pulses may be due to the Hall effect.

Table 2 Healing Effects of Specific Frequencies

Frequency Hz Effects
2 Nerve regeneration, neurite outgrowth from cultured ganglia
7 Bone growth
10 Ligament healing
15, 20, and 72 Decreased skin necrosis, stimulation of capillary formation & fibroblast proliferation
25 and 50 Synergistic effects with nerve growth factor

The work of Russian scientists who showed negative bioinformation being transmitted from one cell culture to another, presumably through biophoton transfer, is described in (10). Biophoton emission have been demonstrated in many species, with a spectrum ranging from infrared to ultraviolet, and with injury enhancing the intensity of the light (11). Measurements made in England, by Dr. Jessel Kenyon are also cited in (10). There biophoton emissions from her subject’s hand and forehead, corresponding to known points of Qi emission in external Qigong practice, were approximately seven times higher than emissions from other points of the body. Nakamura and colleague experiments (12) showed a drop in surface temperature and an increase in biophoton emission intensity from the hands of Qigong practitioners during Qigong. In (12), Rubik describes biophoton measurements taken by EugeneWallace using a solid state photon counting device: Wallace found that “more photons were measured” when people “intended to emit more energy”. Alvino (13) mentions studies by Hiroshi Motoyama, who measured low levels of light coming from people who have practiced yoga for many years, and by Dr. Zheng Ronliang, whose research showed that Qigong masters emit some “vital force” with “a very low fluctuating carrier wave”.

In (2), pages 82 and 88, Oschman cites papers that indicate that some Qigong practitioners can both emit infra red radiation and absorb it from the environment through their hands. The emitted infrared radiation can increase cell growth, DNA and protein synthesis, and cell respiration and is associated with facilitating Qi. The absorption of this radiation is associated with inhibiting Qi. Living systems can also emit microwaves.

Facilitating and inhibiting Qi may be produced by changes to the circulation in the skin. Vasodilation and vasoconstriction produce warmth and cooling, respectively. This process is mediated by the autonomic nervous which people can learn to control. Besides biomagnetic and sound pulses, the heart also sends heat pulses to every cell in the body via the circulatory system. This can enhance the warming effect.

In 1969, Robert C. Beck began a decade of the brainwaves of many types of healers with different backgrounds. He discovered that all of the healers registered brain wave activity averaging about 7.8-8 Hz. on their EEG. One possible explanation of this fact will be given in the next article where external fields will be discussed.

EEG Tracing of Brain Waves


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2. Oschman, J. L. Energy Medicine. Churchill Livingstone 2000.
3. Szent-Georgy, A. Towards a new biochemistry? Science, 93. 609-11, 1941.
4. Szent-Georgy, A. To see what everyone has seen, to think what no one has thought. Bilologial Bulletin, 175, 191-240, 1988.
5. Mitchell, P. Vectorial chemistry and the molecular mechanics of chemiosmotic coupling power transmission by proticity. Biochemical Soc. Trans., 4, 399-430, 1976.
6. Ho, M. W. Knight, D.P. The acupuncture system and the liquid crystalline collagen fibers of connective tissue. Am. J. Chinese Med., 26(3-4), 1-13, 1988.
7. Björn E. W. Nordenström. Exploring BCEC-systems (Biologically Closed Electric Circuits). Nordic Medical Publications, 1998.
8. Sancier, K.M. The effect of Qigong on therapeutic balancing measured by electroacupuncture according to Voll (EAV): a preliminary study. Acupuncture & Electro-therapeutics Research, Vol. 19, 119-27, 1994.
9. Sancier, K.M. Electrodermal measurements for monitoring the effects of a qigong workship. J. of Alternative and Complementary Med., Vol. 9(2), 233-41, 2003.
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Sciences Review, Vol. 28, 37-9, Winter 1993.
11. Yanagawa, T., et al. Sustaining faculty of living functions and its biophoton observation. Journal of ISLIS 18(2), September 2000.
12. Rubik, B Electromagnetic and other subtle energies in psi research. Subtle Energies and Uncharted Realms of the Mind: an Esalen Invitational Conference, 2000.
13. Alvino, G. (1996) The human energy field in relation to science, consciousness and  health, 21st Link, February, 1996.


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About Martin Eisen

By profession, Dr. Eisen was a university Professor specializing in constructing mathematical models such as those in cancer chemotherapy and epilepsy. He has studied and taught Yoga, Judo, and Aikido. Dr. Eisen was the founder and chief-instructor of the Shotokan Karate Clubs at Carnegie-Mellon and Dusquene Universities and the University of Pittsburgh. He helped teach Yoga in Graterford prison. His curiousity about the relation of Qi to healing and martial arts led him to study TCM, Tai Chi and Praying Mantis Kung Fu. He was initiated as a Disciple of Master Gin Foon Mark. Dr. Eisen now teaches (at his Kwoon and by webcam), writes and researches Praying Mantis, Qigong and Yang Tai Chi - see
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