In 1993, Masters Shen and Master Wu have been participating in an experiment testing the effects of qigong healing in a laboratory situation. Preliminary results of the study have been published in the journal Subtle Energies in 1994.
Excerpts from the journal article are provided below. Please note: Citations have been omitted.
David J. Muehsam; M.S. Markov, Ph.D.; Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D.; Arthur A. Pilla, Ph.D.; Ronger Shen & Yi Wu. Subtle Energies 1994, Volume 5, Number 1, pp.93-108.
This work examines the effect of Qigong from two experienced practitioners on in vitro cell-free myosin phosphorylation. This system has a demonstrated sensitivity to variations in static magnetic fields above and below ambient values. The results show that both Qigong practitioners were able to consistently yield results similar to those observed for variations in applied magnetic fields near the ambient level. Qigong treatment with the myosin reaction mixture in the ambient magnetic field reduced phosphorylation in each experiment by an average of approximately 15% (p <.05). These effects were somewhat lower and not as consistent as those obtained under ambient field conditions.
The results obtained in this study demonstrate that Qigong practice can consistently affect a biologically relevant enzyme system, requiring no physical contact between the practitioner and the sample. The mechanisms of the Qigong effects observed in this study are as yet unclear.
The increasing emphasis on the relationship between mind and body has led to a significant body of research and clinical applications. Evidence of mind/body effects in current medical science includes the health effects of lifestyle and stress, education, social interactions, work status, religious practice, the spontaneous remission of cancers, and the well-documented placebo effect. The developing field of psychoneuromimmunology reflects progress in the understanding of mind/body interactions. In addition, a growing body of evidence supports the efficacy of therapies such as Therapeutic Touch, prayer, and other forms of non-contact healing. Therapeutic Touch has been shown to affect pulse rate, skin temperature, galvanic skin response and hemoglobin levels.
Experiments on the effect of human intent upon seed germination by the Spindrift group have shown that directed attention can consistently affect biological systems. These results indicate that, in certain situations, the possibility of significant interactions without physical contact must e considered. Non-contact interaction implies that coupling between mind and environment may play a significant role in some experimental situations.
Sophisticated studies on human/machine interactions performed at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory provide a strong impetus for further research. Nonlocal effects have been known to modern physics for some time and it has been proposed that application of quantum mechanical concepts to biological systems could help to provide a framework for understanding this relatively new perspective.
The terminology and practice of traditional Chinese medicine is centered around the concept of Qi, or vital force. Qi is thought to be the substantive element in living systems, an essential energy permeating all of space. An essential aspect of the notion of Qi in human life involves the interaction with one's environment. The body is thought to contain a supply of Qi that flows throughout the acupuncture meridia and is exchanged with the Qi in one's surroundings. From this perspective, good health involves a balance and unobstructed flow of Qi.
The term Qigong refers to approximately two hundred related disciplines associated with healing and the martial arts. According to Yan Xin, "Qigong has about a 3,000 year history, with artifacts dating back as far as 7,000 years. It is a system of physical, mental, and philosophical training for cultivation of moral and body strength, exploring the latent ability of humans, prolonging life, and developing human potential." In China, emphasis is placed on Qigong as a committed daily practice, involving the development of skills over the course of many years.
A distinction is drawn in the Chinese terminology between internal Qigong and external Qigong; the former referring to disciplines in which the practitioner manipulates the Qi to bring about beneficial effects, the latter referring to the practice of having effects outside the body through the manipulation of Qi. Both types of Qigong are in widespread clinical use in China and are practiced as a form of health maintenance by millions of Chinese. The focus of this research is on external Qigong, hereafter simply referred to as "Qigong."
As evidenced by several hundreds of studies, a sustained interest in Qigong research exists in China. Research to date outlines many effects and possible mechanisms for the phenomenon of Qigong. Experiments on animals and humans indicate that Qigong may accelerate bone healing in rabbits, elevate T-lymphocyte counts and raise chronic low hemoglobin levels in humans, decrease metastatic tumor formation in mice, and reduce the size of malignant tumors in mice.
Qigong effects reported on in vitro systems include changes in Laser Raman spectra of phospholipids, water, saline and glucose solution, changes in the phases of liquid crystals and lipids, changes in the ultraviolet absorption spectra of nucleic acids, decrease and increase in the activity of saccharogenic amylase, increases in respiration rate and synthesis of DNA and proteins in cultured fibroblasts, and increases and decreases in the growth rates of E. coli bacteria. Studies mentioned above which report both increases and decreases state that the practitioners used different methods to emit either "lethal Qi" or "health-promoting Qi."
There have also been attempts to evaluate the physical characteristics of Qigong. Most of these studies were aimed at the measurement of electromagnetic quantities. Researchers have reported observing low levels of photon emission, infrared light, magnetic fields, alterations in the discharge behavior of a Van de Graff generator, and infrasound emissions. At least one group has put into clinical application an electronic device that mimics measured electromagnetic emanations of an experienced Qigong master. It should be noted, however, that many of the above studies have not yet been replicated or published in peer-review journals.
The reports that Qigong may have electromagnetic components suggested that the high magnetic sensitivity of the cell-free myosin phosphorylation system developed in this laboratory might provide a means of measuring Qigong effects. The experiments described herein were conceived as preliminary trials whose purpose was to assess the potential for more comprehensive future research directed towards providing in vitro experimental evidence for the effects of Qigong treatment.
This study involved a collaboration with two Qigong masters, Ronger Shen and Yi Wu. They were amongst the first in China to learn a Qigong form called Soaring Crane Qigong and were the first to introduce it in the US. Soaring Crane Qigong was first introduced to the public in China in the 1980's and quickly became a popular form with over 20 million followers. Soaring Crane Qigong, according to Ronger Shen and Yi Wu, "is a combination of physical movements and mental meditations with five routines as its basis." They indicate that, for the dedicated practitioner, "it can also tap human potentials."
The results of these preliminary experiments demonstrate that Qigong practice can consistently affect a biologically relevant enzyme system. This interaction requires no physical contact between the practitioner and the sample. Although trials in which samples were placed inside a magnetic field shielding box produced reduced Qigong effects, hypotheses regarding mechanisms by which these effects may be understood are as yet unclear
These results suggest strongly that more comprehensive studies will yield valuable information regarding Qigong effects. Examination, through measurement of fields and further trials utilizing shielding devices, of potential electromagnetic components involved in Qigong practice may help to clarify the results of these experiments. Further research aimed at investigating the possibility of variations due to different treatment modalities and amongst different practitioners is suggested.