Both Tai Chi (Taiji) and Qigong can help cultivate the Qi (life energy). Qi is a form of immeasurable vital energy; however it is challenging to prove that it works. Through arduous scientific studies, Dr. Shin Lin presented fascinating results at the 2016 World Congress on Qigong, Tai Chi, and Traditional Chinese Medicine and illustrated how the healing art enhances the blood flow and electromagnetic energy.
Shin Lin, Ph.D, Professor of Cell Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Integrative Medicine, as well as Founding Director of Laboratory for Mind/Body Energy and Signaling Research at University of California – Irvine, was the Chair of the 2016 World Congress in charge of the science symposium and also delivered a keynote speech. He explained that Qi-enhancing therapy is the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Through special herbal drugs, acupuncture, acupressure massage, and Qigong exercises, one can increase and balance the Qi to improve the health, prevent diseases, heal wounds, or even cure ailments. The major barrier of understanding how it works biologically is that Qi is an ancient, abstract term that does not have a scientific definition yet. One thing for sure is that the practice of Tai Chi/Qigong can affect bioenergy, which can be measured with modern scientific instrumentation as physical strength, heat, and electricity.
Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, who is a 9th Duan Tai Chi master, helped with some of the experiments. A few years ago, Dr. Shin Lin measured Grandmaster Chen’s hand temperature before and after Tai Chi practices. He also employed the Single Photon Counting System to measure Grandmaster Chen’s biophoton emission before and after practices. Furthermore, Dr. Lin used a Gas Discharge Visualization device to detect bioelectric energy as well as Motoyama’s Single Square Voltage Pulse Method to test pre-polarization conductance at Chen’s acupoints. All four indicators showed significant increases after Tai Chi practices. More interestingly, Chen Style Old Frame Routine One (Lao Jia Yi Lu), which is a slower and softer form, created more desired results than Chen Style Old Frame Routine Two (Lao Jia Er Lu).
One may argue that Grandmaster Chen’s skill is superb so he could generate great results. Dr. Lin taught a simple Tai Chi movement called Single Hand Silk Reeling to his students who were totally new to Tai Chi and found out that Tai Chi practice promotes blood and electrical flow (see a photo below). Additionally, he used various advanced equipment including a Radiant Dome (see photo on the top of the article) to test blood flow, electrical flow, and biophoton emission. The results were remarkable.
Cupping was a star in Rio, Brazil during 2016 Olympic Games. Champion swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, won five gold medals and a silver at a relatively old age of 31. Michael and other US swim team members used cupping to improve their body’s physical condition.
Dr. Lin tested how cupping increase blood flow. He also found similar results with acupuncture, acupoint pressure massage, manipulative therapies, Gua Sha (刮痧), Moxibustion (艾灸), and topical herb medicine. Using research conducted by himself and others, he confirmed with the Western biomedical method that herbs like Carthami Flos, Rhei Rhizoma, and Dipsaci Radix can increase blood flow, abate swelling, reduce inflammation, and promote growth of bone cells. To sum them up, he showed a slide to illustrate the effectiveness of various Qi-therapies as the following.
Dr. Lin also showed a video clip revealing how wounds were healed faster with the help of electrical fields stimulation. In other words, practice Tai Chi/Qigong and using other Qi-therapies can help wounds to close faster.
In conclusion, Dr. Shin Lin stated:
- The research has shown that Qigong/Tai Chi practices produce measureable changes in physiological and bioenergy markers.
- Many of the changes can be explained by an increase in blood flow and conscious control of the autonomic nervous system.
- Similar changes are produced by Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies of heat treatment, acupuncture, massage, and topical herbal remedies.
- Low-level electrical fields similar to that emitted by the human body can affect cellular movement in a cell culture model.
- Input of external energy in the form of heat, light, and electricity can be effective forms of healing therapies.