A magazine of martial and movement arts, with a focus on the internal style of Tai Chi Chuan
by Christopher Dow
Excerpted from The Wellspring: An Inquiry into the Nature of Chi
(Phosphene Publishing Co., 2008)
Telepathy could be one effect of electromagnetic transmission between two individuals, but other paranormal phenomena also can be explained by the interaction of biofields with other magnetic and electromagnetic fields. One of these is dowsing, which might be a sensing of localized fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field due to the presence of underground water, metals, or minerals.
This notion has received some support through experiments conducted in the 1960s by Nikolai N. Sochevanov of the USSR’s Ministry of Geology. Sochevanov discovered that the accuracy of forty professional dowsers diminished by about seventy-five percent when a current-carrying wire was wound around their wrists or horseshoe magnets were brought near their heads. (19)
Auras are another paranormal manifestation that might be explained by bioelectromagnetic fields. Perhaps the body’s biofield creates a sort of shimmering effect around a person that, like any surface or medium, absorbs some of the frequencies of light striking it and reflects others, giving an impression that the person is enveloped in an intangible ovoid of transparent color. In fact, there is strong anecdotal evidence that the halo floating above the heads of saints in religious paintings is a simplified depiction of the powerful aura that surrounds such people.
Becker, though, is doubtful that auras are visible. “Our biofields,” he writes, “even if they were many times stronger, couldn’t possibly emit light, but an appropriately sensitive magnetic detector in the brain, if it had nerve connections to the visual cortex, might ‘see’ the magnetic field in a manner of speaking.” (20) In this context we should recall the pineal gland from earlier in the discussion. And then Becker makes this statement: “On the other hand, the aura could literally be a form of light, perhaps at frequencies invisible to all but a few of us.” (21)
Ironically, this offhand statement has some credibility, as shown in research by Mitsuo Hiramatsu, a scientist at the Central Research Laboratory at Hamamatsu Photonics in Japan. Hiramatsu has demonstrated that humans—and most living things—actually do emit light. Although the light is too faint to be visible to the average human eye, the photon emissions are most powerful at the hands (especially the fingernails), the bottoms of the feet, and the forehead. It is increased by the presence of oxygen and warm temperatures—both physiological byproducts of deep breathing and exercise. Furthermore, disease and illness appear to affect the strength and pattern of the emission. (22)
Becker also explores the possibility that biomagnetic interaction doesn’t necessarily have to be passive. “All matter, living and nonliving, is ultimately an electromagnetic phenomenon,” he writes. “The material world, at least as far as physics has penetrated, is an atomic structure held together by electromagnetic forces. If some people can detect fields from other organisms, why shouldn’t some people be able to affect other beings by means of their linked fields?” (23) The ability of masters of chi to manipulate the fields of others is often discussed, but the same logic also applies to so-called faith healers. If the cellular workings of bodies are controlled by DC currents and their attendant electromagnetic fields, it is quite possible that gifted healers are able to generate supportive bioelectromagnetic effects that they use to manipulate or alter the patient’s internal currents in ways akin to acupuncture. (24)
In an interview, Parvathy Amma, a faith healer and psychic surgeon from Kuala Lumpur, India, indicated that she diagnoses a patient from the color and condition of the patient’s aura. She also states, “The healer manipulates magnetic energy to penetrate the body, both the spiritual and physical body.” (25)
Astrology is another esoteric system amenable to illumination by the idea that chi is electromagnetic in nature. It is said that astrologers have studied behavioral characteristics of people born at different times of the year and noted the annual cyclic nature of particular sets of traits. But what sort of mechanism could imprint those traits?
The universe, as stated earlier, is awash in electromagnetic radiation, and it presents a generally uniform and stable background electromagnetic field to the Earth as a whole. But for people at any given moment and location, the exact characteristics and interplays of those fields alter because the Earth is traveling around the sun and changing its orientation with the planets of the solar system, most of which contribute nodes of varying force—magnetic, electromagnetic, and gravitational—that continually shift their bearings within the general background field. And those forces continue to progress throughout the course of the year, altering their bearings, until the Earth once again is positioned with all the magnetic and gravitational forces aligned in roughly the same orientation they had 365 days earlier.
We know that electromagnetic fields affect one another; in fact, if a magnetic field interacts long enough with a normal piece of iron, the iron eventually magnetizes. We also know that iron molecules in a semifluid medium, such as clay or magma, align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field and that when the semifluids harden, the iron particles become fixed according to the Earth’s polarity at the time. Geophysical scientists use the alignments of these fixed iron particles to help gauge changes over time in the orientation of the Earth’s crust and magnetic poles.
Certainly the powerful general electromagnetic field of the universe, altered cyclically throughout the course of a year by the changing positions of the closer magnetic fields generated by the sun and the planets that do produce such fields, would have a significant affect on the much weaker fields generated by people. This means it is possible that the stronger universal field might, in some way, imprint itself on the weaker personal field, shaping it or giving it a certain frequency or character.
This is where the timing of birth comes in. Birth is the singular moment when the individual’s field first stands completely on its own—until then, it has been immersed within, buffered by, and oriented with the mother’s more dominant personal field. Only when it emerges as its own entity does the newborn’s field receive its own personal imprinting. Thus, an individual’s personal field becomes inextricably linked to the particular characteristics of the universal field as it manifested at a certain time and place. Notably, birth also is the moment when postnatal chi—the chi generated in the tantien after birth—assumes such great importance to an individual’s energy makeup.
I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination to find possible connections between electromagnetic biofields and phenomena such as ghosts and hauntings, astral projection, and remote viewing. But if, at a basic level, the universe—the space/time continuum—is nothing more than a vast electromagnetic field containing areas or loci of varying densities vibrating in different frequencies, then, just as a stone thrown into a pond produces waves that radiate outward from the splash, an electromagnetic event—such as a supernova—should send out waves through the general universal field, the size and power of the wave being directly proportional to the size and power of the event.
We already know that electromagnetism propagates in waves through space/time, and gravitational waves, first proposed by Oliver Heaviside in 1893 and predicted by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, were finally detected in 2016. Waves such as these would pass through each and every one of us, altering or warping the shape or density of our personal biofields, even if only minutely or briefly. Ever notice that sometimes everyone seems to be having a bad day for no explainable reason? The reason just might be chalked up to one of those massive but subtle waves messing with our energy structures on a fundamental level.
We know it is probable that some people are more aware of, or are more sensitive to, changes in their biofields—perhaps because of natural proclivities or through training—and this sensitivity can take a variety of forms. One person might be a tai chi master, another a highly empathetic therapist, and another a culturally attuned artist or thinker. And there might be some who are able to visualize elements of the particular events that cause the waves because certainly such waves carry information in some form. Further, it might be that waves produced by particular types of events transcend the limitations of the three-dimensional world and have the ability to affect reality across time or other dimensions. People who experience a heightened personal sensitivity to such field-distorting waves and can “read” the information carried by them, might be those we call precognitive psychics, seers, and prophets.
The mechanics of abdominal breathing—as practiced in the internal martial arts—stimulates and strengthens the chi, increasing the strength and sensitivity of an individual’s biofield. Perhaps this is why world-famous psychics, such as Frederica Hauffe, Eileen Garrett, Phoebe Payne, Olive Pixley, and Edgar Cayce all place or placed great emphasis on abdominal breathing, acknowledging that it is the indispensable preparation for trance or astral projection. (26)
We can see that we don’t have to resort to a belief in uncanny magical forces to explain many so-called psychic abilities. Rather than being mystical, in and of themselves, such abilities may simply be offshoots of the natural bioelectromagnetic force we call chi, among its many names, which produces a biofield that can, and does, interact with the innumerable magnetic/gravitational forces at large in the universe. This is not to negate the many elements of life and existence that truly are mystical. It is simply an attempt to point out that physical mechanisms may exist that can give rise to and explain some phenomena formerly shrouded in mystery.
1 Becker, Robert O., and Gary Selden, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life (Quill, 1985), p. 243.
2 Becker and Selden, p. 244
3 Becker and Selden, p. 244–245
4 Becker and Selden, p. 245
5 Becker and Selden, p. 245
6 Becker and Selden, p. 245
7 Becker and Selden, p. 245
8 Becker and Selden, p. 248
9 Burr, Harold Saxon, Blueprint for Immortality (C.W. David Company, 2004)
10 Becker and Selden, p. 50
11 Nordenström, Björn E., Biologically Closed Electrical Circuits: Clinical, Experimental, and Theoretical Evidence for an Additional Circulatory System (Nordic Medical Publications/Ursus Publications, 1983)
12 Morelle, Rebecca, “Magnetic Field Puts Bats on Track” (BBC News Online, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6213402.stm)
13 Becker and Selden, p. 263
14 Becker and Selden, p. 248
15 Becker and Selden, p. 248
16 Becker and Selden, p. 265
17 Becker and Selden, p. 266
18 Becker and Selden, p. 266
19 Becker and Selden, p. 266
20 Becker and Selden, p. 268
21 Becker and Selden, p. 268
22 Viegas, Jennifer, “Human Hands Emit Light,” (DiscoveryNews, September 25, 2006, http://www.novaspivack.com/science/new-study-human-hands-feet-and-foreheads-emit-light). Mitsuo Hiramatsu’s research was published in “Ultra-weak photon emission from human hand: Influence of temperature and oxygen concentration on emission,” by Kimitsugu Nakamura and Mitsuo Hiramatsu (Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, Volume 80, Issue 2, 1 August 2005, p. 156–160).
23 Becker and Selden, p. 268
24 Becker and Selden, p. 268
25 Cruez, Annie Freeda, and Azura Abas, “Faith Healers: Tools of Their Trade Revealed” (New Straits Times Online, October 28, 2006: )
26 Crookall, Robert, Psychic Breathing (Aquarian Press, 1979), p. 9–23