Dr. Yan Xin on Scientific Qigong Research

Selected Publications on Qigong Scientific Research

How Does Qi Relate to Science, and What Do Leading Scientists Think about Qi?
Several universities in China have been conducting research on the application of scientific methods in studying qigong. A considerable number of scientists, including some famous ones, have been exploring this subject.

A number of experts and highly accomplished professors have recognized some of these scientific qigong experiments. Preliminary observations and reports on scientific qigong experiments suggest the following conclusions about qi, and are supported by many professors: qi can be observed, measured and quantified by precise instruments; qi has the properties of matter; qi has the properties of energy; qi conveys comprehensive information content, or has the characteristics of information; preliminary results reveal that qi, emitted by the human body to achieve certain effects, is subject to the regulation and influence of human thoughts and is influenced or disturbed by the emotions of the participants of an experiment, as well as the experimental design and environment.

The above five points are summarized from the perspective of scientific research by a number of scientists based on newly discovered phenomena. Further experiments have demonstrated that external qi possesses multiple attributes. For example, I collaborated with professors at Tsinghua University on chemistry experiments. We studied the bromination reaction of n-hexane as affected by long-distance qi emissions using a "double blind method." Typically the bromination reaction only happens the instant a strong ultraviolet light is introduced. This changes the normally dark reddish-brown mixed solution of n-hexane and bromine into a clear solution. However, under conditions of darkness, long distance, and the "double blind method," external qi turned the reddish-brown solution of n-hexane and bromine colorless within fifteen minutes. By measuring the molecular characteristics of the solution, we found that the molecular structure and density of the solution were changed. Moreover, qi could change the color of the upper two-thirds of the solution in a test tube, while leaving the color of the lower one-third unchanged. These results indicate that qi possesses special attributes.

In addition to the attributes mentioned above, qi is also bi-directional and self-controllable. These attributes were confirmed by a number of scientists, based on the results of limited experiments. For example, following an instance of successfully altering the molecular characteristics of water usingqi,a number of professors wondered if the results were erroneous. To determine whether the results were false and whether or not the molecular characteristics of water actually were modified, they wanted to see the altered water be reverted to the pre-qi emission state, that is, to see the original molecular characteristics of water restored through the use of qi. Follow-up observations and measurements were carried out on qi-treated water every half hour. Within several hours, the laser Raman spectrum of qi-treated water with altered molecular characteristics gradually reverted to a spectrum of the original molecular characteristics of water.

After this experiment, the professors realized that qi possesses the characteristic of reversibility. This reversibility differs from the ordinary decay of energy, and from the half-life of medicines or radioactive nuclei. Specifically, the effects of qi can be reverted according to the qi-emitter's wish. However, subsequent experiments also found that the spectrum changes induced by qi can be permanent. Incredibly, in other experiments, the effects of qi were reduced, reverted (no effect), then reversed (opposite effect). From these experiments, many professors realized that qi has amazing characteristics and possesses multiple attributes.

To summarize, based on a series of qigong experiments I have conducted over the last ten years in collaboration with many leading universities and scientific institutions in China (including, but not limited to, Tsinghua University, Beijing University, Zhongshan University, and within the Academia Sinica, the Institute of High Energy Physics, the Institute of Biology, the Institute of Electrical Engineering, and the Institute of Microbiology), we have preliminarily discovered that the qi of qigong has properties of matter, energy, and information. Moreover, qi can be influenced, disturbed, or controlled by the thoughts of a qi-emitter or people nearby. At the same time, according to different purposes of the experiments, qi can also display different attributes, such as being bi-directional, distance-transcending, self-controllable, reversible, and targeting. Some experiments involving chain reactions have also been successfully completed.

The scientific papers on these qigong experiments have been rigorously reviewed by highly accomplished academics, including Professor Qian Xuesen (Tsien Hsue-sen), former Chairman and current Honorary Chairman of Chinese National Association of Scientists, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, formerly Goddard Professor, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology; Professor Zhao Zhongyao, an eminent expert on nuclear physics in China, member, Academia Sinica, an early academic advisor to Dr. C.N. Yang who later won a Nobel Price in physics (being a member of Academia Sinica is roughly equivalent to being a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences); Professor Bei Shizhang, biophysics expert, world renowned biophysics teacher, member, Academia Sinica; Professor Feng Xinfang, microbiologist, member, Academia Sinica; and Professor Hu Haichang, thermophysicist, member, Academia Sinica. After they became aware of, participated in, or reviewed the scientific papers on the qigong experiments I conducted in collaboration with a number of experts and professors from prestigious Chinese universities, such as Tsinghua University and Beijing University, they all acknowledged that qigong is highly scientific in nature.

Professor Qian Xuesen has unequivocally advocated the creation of human body science. At the same time, he predicted that the integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, qigong, special human body functions, and a unified theoretical and scientific work will result in a great leap forward in modern medicine. Furthermore, he suggested that this event will revolutionize modern science as a whole, and that a second cultural renaissance will arise and come to fruition in China. A number of scientists, represented by Professor Qian Xuesen, including the top leader of Chinese qigong affairs for past ten years, the late General Zhang Zhenhuan (a retired general formerly in charge of the Commission on Science and Industry for National Defense and the first president of Chinese Research Society on Qigong Science), have continuously supported scientific research on qigong and consistently acknowledged the results set forth in various scientific qigong papers.

The incredible upsurge in popularity of qigong since 1985 is in part due to the successful scientific qigong experiments. As a result, more and more educated individuals, professionals, intellectuals, professors from various fields, and people from different religious communities have become interested in qigong. Since I arrived in the United States, I have met many people, including Professor Hsian-Min Wu, a fellow of the US National Academy of Engineering, and Professor Carl Woese, a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences. After becoming aware of Chinese scientific qigong experiments and a number of preliminary research papers, they have concluded that the qi of qigong is scientific in nature, has the properties of matter, and that Traditional Chinese Qigong is an ancient and modern scientific discipline waiting to be explored.

Measurement of Qi through Scientific Methods

As mentioned earlier, preliminary understanding of qi by many scientists is based on current scientific experiments. However, the current scientific qigong experiments are very limited in scope -- many areas have not been studied. And the areas studied have merely focused on ordinarily measurable phenomena. In fact, there are possibly many more, deeper and even more perplexing phenomena yet to be investigated. As for monitoring and measuring qi, I think that modern scientific methods do have limitations. In other words, the whole modern scientific paradigm, including its theories, technologies, and precision instruments is very restricting.

A number of qigong phenomena and functional potentials, as recorded in historical qigong records and displayed by modern qigong practitioners, dwarf the results of current qigong experiments, demonstrating that the completed qigong experiments are very narrow in scope. There is much qigong content currently beyond scientific measurement. The already-performed experiments cannot monitor or measure many of the intermediate processes. Presently, we can only partially explain some aspects of qi through experimental results. For instance, there is still a lack of scientific means to investigate and determine how qi changes the molecular structures of substances and to determine the intermediate processes for the changes in the decay rate of a radioactive nucleus. Strictly speaking, qigong research should involve a much greater effort from the entire society. Currently, the essential qualities of qigong and qi are difficult to study in a detailed, qualitative, and quantitative manner.

So far we have limited our discussion to measurable qigong phenomena obtained from previously conducted experiments. However, as far as the microscopic phenomena within the whole qigong-related macroscopic phenomena are concerned, the unobserved is much greater than the observed. Many characteristics of qi and qigong cannot be comprehensively expressed in terms of current experimental phenomena. There is a need to further adapt contemporary sciences to this effect.

Just as some scientists believe modern-day qigong needs science to unearth, excavate, and renew itself, or to make a great, self-resurrecting leap forward; science also needs qigong's techniques, achievements, and elements to advance itself. In other words, qigong needs science to resurrect itself, and through the process of resurrection and renewal, qigong will enable science to make a great leap forward.

Perhaps at some point in the future qigong will actually promote the advancement of science through joint efforts by numerous qigong enthusiasts in the scientific community. At that time, we will be able to discern ways to detect qi and clarify the essential qualities of qi in qigong -- its mechanisms, principles, and systematic paradigm. Currently, due to the difficulty in monitoring and investigating qi phenomena, qi-related research is still superficial and limited in scope. At best we can measure only a tiny fraction, or an extremely small portion of the qi phenomena.The major portion of the qi phenomena remains to be investigated.

Qi and Four Fundamental Forces -- Gravitational, Electromagnetic, Strong, and Weak Interaction Forces

From a qigong perspective, all things in the universe, whether living or non-living, possess qi. Many things are formed under the influence, or transmuting processes, of qi. Thus, qi is interrelated with various sciences, technologies, and highly technical knowledge. Science is familiar with three or four traditional forces; the energy of qi and qigong are related to these types of energy.

From another point of view, the energy of qi likely encompasses the four natural forces, which are defined by the concepts of modern physics. However, the energy of qi probably extends beyond our current understanding of natural forces. Thoughts and imagery created during qigong practice should also be considered as essentially energetic in nature. This concept is not merely my personal analysis, it is also the conclusion of many other professors and experts. The energetic aspects of qi not only deal with or encompass the three or four natural forces recognized by modern science, they are also associated with a different and more special energy, or even multiple energies within the various phenomena (including unrecognized and unexplained phenomena) in the whole universe.

Consider a simple experiment on qigong potential. In this experiment people used their qi to shake pills out of a sealed bottle. However, the intermediate process was undetectable by any available means. The pills passed through the bottle (analogous to conducted experiments in which a person passes through a solid wall), even though the bottle is completely sealed and intact, without any possibility of tampering. There was no way to detect any trace of the phenomenon of energy change. How did the pills pass through the bottle? Since these kinds of phenomena exist, the result and conclusion of the experiment is evidenced, but we cannot determine the intermediate processes. This demonstrates the probable existence of a form of energy associated with qi which transcends the three or four fundamental forces.

As another example, people have observed that all things on earth are influenced by gravitational force; however, "qinggong," the qigong potential of being weightless exists. Has the gravitational force been suspended?

The energetic nature of qi probably covers much more than the meaning of these three or four natural forces, more than our current understanding of "energy" or "power." This subject demands further investigation.

Physics teaches us that the speed of light is the fastest velocity at which one may transmit material, energy, and information. Are there any material phenomena that can travel faster than the speed of light? From a qigong perspective, it seems very possible. But what kind of energy can make such a speed possible? This is difficult to assess. At the moment, modern scientific means still cannot discover or practically measure such an energy form. It is likely that the speed of thought is faster than the speed of light, but how can this be measured? How can this phenomenon be captured?

In conclusion, many phenomena concerning qigong experiments still cannot be measured or monitored. Many of the measurable phenomena cannot be explained. Questions on the nature of qigong energy demand further investigation.

Scientific Qigong Experiments to Benefit Humankind
Scientific qigong research may require a combined effort from all of society. Many scientists may have recommendations for further study. My personal opinion is as follows: Qigong science should take into account all of the systematic theories and scientific characteristics of modern science, including the entire methodology and model theories of modern science, and rigorous and precise design considerations such as "double blind methods" for scientific experiments. However, qigong science also should strictly observe and take into account the qigong tradition, qigong characteristics, and the three wonders of qigong; subtle wonder, mysterious wonder, and incredible wonder. In other words, those who are engaging in scientific qigong research (including people with qigong training and those who engage in monitoring and measuring qigong effects from a purely scientific angle -- scientists, commentators, promoters, and others) should consider both the characteristics of modern science and qigong. Neither can be neglected nor ignored. Without a combined approach, scientific research on qigong experiments will not occur at a deep level, and scientific phenomena will not be recognized.

For modern scientific qigong research to better serve the entire human society, it needs to stress the study of basic theories, as well as the study of applications and development. Qigong, under the correct guidance of modern scientific theories, with sound experimental designs, and through the combined effort of scientific researchers, will probably achieve a breakthrough on fundamental qigong theories, thereby bringing about an advancement in science.

Consider some of my qigong experiments. Qigong experiments influencing the molecular properties of DNA and RNA, and changing molecular structures have been successfully conducted in China. Although there are partial explanations, these have not been integrated with systematic theories of modern science in designing new experiments. No basic theories have been systematically formed. However, these preliminary experimental results can be utilized to expand scientific research projects, to broaden our view as much as possible, and to make a great leap forward in the field of applied qigong science.

Some scientists consider that if DNA and RNA molecular properties can be influenced, then it is possible to optimize the quality of certain species in the biological sphere. Even though the basic and systematic theories have not been established, scientific applications have moved one step forward. After the DNA and RNA experiments, I collaborated with the Tsinghua University Qigong Science Research Group, as well as some pharmaceutical companies in Beijing, northeastern China, and northern China (these companies being among the largest in Asia) in conducting practical application research which has led to improved production of antibiotics. This industrial production experiment was entitled "The Application of Qigong Treatment for Industrial Production." This research applied the same methods and techniques of my experiments in collaboration with Tsinghua University and other institutions on influencing DNA and RNA molecular properties. They used these methods to process and treat various strands of antibiotic bacteria, and successfully optimized many aspects of the properties of the bacteria.

On April 21, 1990, Tsinghua University, the Institute of Microbiology of Academia Sinica, and the Northern China Pharmaceutical Factory hosted a state-level certification conference in the Conference Hall of the Summer Palace in Beijing with over forty participating institutions. The conference formally certified the results of the above-mentioned qigong application experiment. Research papers on this experiment have been reported on various occasions. The final formal certification concluded it has been proven, discovered, and demonstrated that the application of qigong treatment for industrial production is a biological technology breakthrough. This conclusion was unanimously recognized in five ways: qigong methods can improve the properties of certain antibiotic bacteria, optimizing the selection process; through the processes of mass production, qigong can save large amounts of raw materials; the production period is shortened by using qigong; the efficacy of the medicines are improved when qigong is utilized; and qigong can increase production yields.

Some pharmaceutical factories had been applying this method of production for one, two, or even up to three years up to the certification conference. During those few years, from the beginning of the mass production until the period of the certification conference, there had been no harmful effects of any kind to humans or the environment attributed to the large-scale mass production by those pharmaceutical companies using qigong application. One of the reports originally read "completely harmless to humans and the environment." I later suggested that such a conclusion was inappropriate because production using qi had only been analyzed over a period of at most three years, and it was insufficient to conclude that it was "completely harmless." This statement was eventually dropped. Although we had not found any harmful effects on humans or the environment, there is no way to guarantee a lack of harmful phenomena in the future.

Due to objective and subjective reasons, experimental research on scientific qigong has not been able to formulate generally acceptable systematic theories. There still is the possibility of a breakthrough in fundamental theories. After progress in this area, there may also be a breakthrough in applied experiments. In applied sciences, people have been utilizing biotechnology to make biotic simulation instruments. These activities are also a part of scientific research. From a number of perspectives, it is apparent that scientific qigong experiments should emphasize research on basic theories and applications, thereby serving society and the entire human race better and faster.

The preliminary qigong experiments conducted so far can, on the level of fundamental theories, make many scientists in the contemporary scientific community shocked, excited, confident, and hopeful. At the same time, qigong can also bring hope to people with medical problems, those who wish to use qigong techniques to adjust their physical condition, as well as those who wish to use qigong methods to develop and promote disciplines such as culture, medicine, and the arts. By emphasizing research on both basic theories and applications we may be able to bring good fortune and happiness to many people.

Qigong research should rely on scientists, particularly those with broad interests. However, there should be a prerequisite condition: these scientists should have a certain level of understanding of qigong and cooperate with qigong practitioners. Both scientists and qigong practitioners should, based on an equal status and a foundation of equality, collectively design, explore, and closely integrate basic theories, application science, and application experiments. Only under these circumstances can we quickly bring about fruitful results.

Current research on qigong phenomena is still difficult. For the International Yan Xin Qigong Association, I have given over twenty four workshops. The Third Workshop had two classes with over three hundred persons combined -- about ninety percent of them were in a Bigu state. (Bigu is a state in which a person maintains a normal life without taking any food. Standard Bigu means very little or no intake of water. Basic Bigu means only drinking water and juice. Non-standard Bigu means ingesting water, juice, and occasionally juicy fruits and vegetable soups). The Eighth Workshop had more than four hundred students, among which only a dozen or so people had eaten food (according to a survey). This was ninety to ninety-five percent short-term Bigu, or Bigu within a given period of time. In Beijing, China, a seventeen year-old high school female student has been in Bigu for over six years, only drinking water.

I use Bigu as an example. Perhaps scientific research should explore the basic theories of the Bigu state and further investigate its applications. If we have a scientific breakthrough, perhaps then it is possible that human beings will make tremendous improvements in quality of life.

Take for example the cellular experiment I have collaborated on with people at the University of California, San Diego. Supposedly, cellular tissues can only survive among blood serum. Without blood serum, there is no environmental condition to provide the cells with oxygen and other nutrients. But, in this experiment, there was no blood serum, only ordinary liquid, and the cells still survived for more than three months during which time the experiment was being conducted. According to some scientists' analytical opinions, this survival phenomenon was impossible -- but the cells lived. That cells can live in an ordinary liquid, such as water, is somewhat similar to our friends in a Bigu state who, for a long time, even years, have been drinking only water or occasionally a little juice -- an amount of which is supposedly insufficient to provide the energy needed for the maintenance of life.

Dr. Raymond Lee of San Diego State University has collaborated with the International Yan Xin Qigong Association on two very strict Bigu experiments, with twenty-four hour a day supervision. The two experiments were one month in duration and very successful. Preliminary experimental conclusions showed that during the supervised period, the average person in Bigu drank merely a half quart of plain water each day. Although people in this Bigu experiment needed to drink a little juice due to blood testing and other interfering factors, the amount of juice converted to energy was far below the energy standard level predicted by the present medical establishment for maintaining a normal life.

Judging from these phenomena and preliminary research data, further scientific qigong research may help us discover the energy of qigong, the energy of the qi of qigong, and the characteristics of this energy. Even if no basic theories are developed, we will still make progress on the applications of qigong.

(© 1999 International Yan Xin Qigong Association)