Qigong is becoming very popular in USA, and there are many intellectuals and academics taking up the practice. I had related how I came to know two professors in San Francisco who are practising Qigong. To further enhance the knowledge and research on qi and Qigong, several universities in California have collaborated with universities in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to form the International Alliance for Mind/Body Signaling and Energy Research. The founding director, Dr Shin Lin, is a much respected practitioner and researcher of Qigong, apart from having impressive scientific credentials.
Through their joint efforts, research into qi and Qigong is gathering momentum, and it will not be long before there will be enough scientific data to elevate Qigong to become an “evidence-based” therapy, acknowledge by the scientific community. Here are some of their findings ( references are available on request ).
QIGONG AND TAI CHI INCREASES ELECTRICAL CONDUCTANCE AT ACUPOINTS
It is known that a decrease in electrical conductance and capacitance is associated with physiological dysfunction and diseases, which are expected to improve when these parameters increase. Studies in California showed that the electrical conductance and capacitance measured at acupoints increase substantially after 15-20 minutes of Qigong or Tai Chi practice.
QIGONG AND TAI CHI IMPROVES BLOOD FLOW TO THE HANDS.
Studies in California and Illinois (USA) showed that when Qigong and Tai Chi movements are coordinated with deep breathing, the blood flow to the palms is greatly increased, consistent with the teaching that combining regulation of body movement and respiration during Qigong/Tai Chi practice increases blood circulation.
QIGONG MASTERS EMIT VISIBLE LIGHT FROM THEIR HANDS
Researchers in California detected the emission of visible light from the hands of Qigong masters who focused their mind on their hands. Previously, Infra Red Thermography ( for quantifying temperature changes ) and Gas Discharge Visualization ( for bio-electric Kirlian Photography) have detected the bio-energy fields surrounding energy practitioners ( including Qigong masters ), but these are non-visible energy forms. Detailed studies on the effects of Qigong using all three methods ( visible light, temperature and bio-electricity ) are now in progress.
QIGONG BREATHING CAN REGULATE THE HEART, AND RELAXES THE BODY
Studies in California and Shanghai on the regulation of respiration by a group of Qigong experts showed that conscious control of breathing can lead to indirect control of heart function, which is normally regulated only by the autonomic nervous system. Qigong and some types of meditation were also able to produce the type of heart-variability pattern normally seen during deep, relaxed, sleep ( which refreshes the mind and the body ).
QIGONG IMPROVES OXYGEN SUPPLY TO THE BRAIN
The same researchers also proved that Qigong deep breathing and breath-holding exercises produced a large increase in oxygen-content in the blood of the capillaries of the forebrain. Having a focused, relaxed mind is a requirement in Qigong. It is not surprising that the studies also found that mental and physical stress, which leads to vasoconstriction, reduced the benefit of the practice.
QI SLOWS DOWN GROWTH OF CANCER CELLS
Research in Taiwan showed that external qi slowed down the growth of cancer cells grown on culture plates. Furthermore, the treated cancer cells became better differentiated ( assumed more of the characteristics of normal cells ).
GUOLIN QIGONG IMPROVES PROTECTION AGAINST CANCER
Research in Hong Kong University showed that after 14 weeks of practising Guolin Qigong, a group of healthy people had a substantial decrease in cortisol ( a stress hormone ) and white blood cells secreting Interleukin-10 (which suppresses anti-cancer immunity), and an increase in white blood cells secreting Interferon gamma (which protects against cancer). The overall result is enhanced cellular protection against cancer.
QIGONG HEALTH BENEFITS ARE REAL
I am very pleased to discover that many more scientific studies are on-going and that the latest scientific instruments are being used to prove that qi is real and the claimed health benefits of Qigong are also real. For the thousands who have benefited from practising Qigong, all the scientific studies are irrelevant. However, it is still important to provide the scientific evidence, so that we can convince more people, especially the doctors and other health practitioners, that Qigong is indeed a useful method in the fight against all sorts of diseases and cancers, and that it is not just mumbo-jumbo or that the claimed benefits are merely due to placebo effect.
I hope this report has convinced more readers to take up Qigong as part of their overall health strategy.