"The basic idea [underlying] all these phenomena is the superposition of electromagnetic fields, in particular biophotons, in a way that during biologically relevant time intervals within biologically relevant structures, interference patterns of destructive and constructive interference are built up that 'organize' the movement and activity of the biomolecules within and between the cells."
Popp, A. and Zhang, J., Mechanism of interaction between electromagnetic fields and living organisms. Science in China (Series C). October 2000. Vol 43. No 5. 507-18.
The emerging science of biofields is a recognition of the fact that humans are comprised of energy as well as matter. Researchers are just beginning to characterize the various electromagnetic fields that occur within cells, tissues, organs, and a human being. Although there are many proven technologies to diagnose, monitor, and characterize eletromagnetic fields within humans, and therapies that are based on energy are becoming more prevalent (see Energy-Based Technologies and Medical Therapies), understanding the role of energy within the human body is still very much a research project. One of the more established areas of research is biophotonics.
As summarized in Rahnama, et. al.12, all living cells of plants, animals and humans continuously emit ultraweak biophotons (ultraweak electromagnetic waves) in the optical range of the spectrum, which are associated with their physiological states and can be measured. Neural cells also continuously emit biophotons. The intensity of biophotons is in direct correlation with neural activity, cerebral energy metabolism, EEG activity, cerebral blood flow and oxidative processes. There are significant correlations between the fluctuations in biophoton emission and fluctuations in the strength of electrical alpha wave production in the brain.
Biophotons are light emitted by biological organisms either spontaneously or as a result of external stimulation15,26,27. As early as 1923 Russian researcher Alexander Gurwitsch discovered that living tissue gave off photons, which he termed "mitogenic rays." He demonstrated that these ultraviolet rays (photons) stimulated cell reproduction. Gerwitsch's work was replicated in the 1970's and expanded upon by German researcher Fritz Popp. The resurgence of biophotonic research was enabled by the development of the photomultiplier tube which can detect very weak light emissions. Popp was inspired by Herbert Fröhlich, father of superconductivity theory, who was a theoretical physicist in the field of solid state physics who later applied theoretical physics to biological systems.
Fröhlich proposed the existence of "condensates" which are composed of a collection of vibrational oscillators that concentrate their vibrational energy in collective motion. More specifically, he stated that biological systems are highly nonlinear; far away from thermal equilibrium, and must be treated as thermodynamically open systems that constantly carry out work to maintain this non-equilibrium; and macroscopic quantum systems that are able to produce coherent oscillations17, 32. These coherent oscillations have been observed to generate an electromagnetic field that could enable long-range interactions between cells. The action of the electromagnetic waves causes the excitation of coherent vibrations pumped by energy derived from metabolism. This effect should be visible at normal temperatures and occur in all living things, and cells are able to recognize each other at a distance and be attracted or repelled. Fröhlich's hypothesis of coherent vibrations in biological systems provides a theoretical framework for the regulation of biological processes in and between cells, organs, tissues, and the whole human body via electromagnetic fields.
Oschman outlines the scope of coherent vibrations11:
Coherent vibrations recognize no boundaries, at the surface of a molecule, cell, or organism -- they are collective properties of the entire being. As such, they are likely to serve as signals that integrate processes, such as growth, injury repair, defense and the functioning of the organism as a whole. Each molecule, cell, tissue, and organ has an ideal resonant frequency that coordinates its activities.
Fröhlich describes how the coherent vibrations would actually work30:
An assembly of cells, as in a tissue or organ, will have certain collective frequencies that regulate important processes, such as cell division. Normally these control frequencies will be very stable. If, for some reason, a cell shifts its frequency, entraining signals from neighboring cells will tend to reinstall the correct frequency. However, if a sufficient number of cells get out-of-step, the strength of the system's collective vibrations can decrease to the point where stability is lost. Loss of coherence can lead to disease or disorder.
Coherent vibrations in humans have been found in the acoustic, megahertz, gigahertz, and infrared ranges. Macroscopic coherent states occur when an oscillating electromagnetic field is created within or surrounding a cell. Research has shown that mechanical oscillations of microtubules and cell membranes generate an electromagnetic field, and it is proposed that this field plays role in cell physiology and participates in the controlling of the organization of intracellular processes and interaction between cells14,18,28,33. The constant stream of energy in the form of photons and heat that microtubules receive from mitochondria12,25 has been found to catalyze the ordering of water in cells into a crystalline lattice structure which may play a role in meridians and qi flow in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Biophoton emission has been found in oxidative metabolism in mitochondria, free radical reactions with biomolecules, and in proteins and DNA. There is extensive research on electromagnetic cellular interactions13. Although the use of biophoton emission for diagnostic and treatment purposes is in its infancy28, biorhythms of biophoton production have been found to be on the order of weeks and months and may vary considerably after just ten minutes due to the dynamic nature of biological systems. The intensity of biophoton emission is much higher in the hands and face and can vary considerably (up to fifty percent more or less than the daily average) depending upon skin temperature 16,29. Palm locations produce significantly more photons than dorsal locations, and emission rates vary considerably depending upon the time of day15.
Popp and other researchers have proposed the possible biocommunicaton and bioregulatory effect of photons 17. In this theory, the generated field of photons is a quantum information field that interacts with body molecules and chemistry in a regulatory biofeedback mechanism. It is hypothesized that photons released by the cells form a whole interlinked system working as a synchronized coherent field17. The high degree of order in such light reflects its laser-like properties21. This light is very quiet and shows an extremely stable intensity, without the fluctuations normally observed in light. Because of the stable field strength, its waves can superimpose, and by virtue of this, interference effects become possible that do not occur in ordinary light. Because of its high degree of order, the biological laser light is able to generate and keep order and to transmit information in the organism19,22.
Popp's biophoton theory also postulates a web, or hologram, of light created by the constant emitting and absorbing of photons by DNA, cells, tissues, and organs and proteins. This hologram could correspond to auras, chakras, meridians and other energy matrices that have been part of eastern philosophy and healing traditions for millennia. An energetic matrix could also explain basic morphology, or cell differentiation, and the regulation of myriad other cellular functions. However, there are other theories of morphology that are based on ion flows and gradients4. Although this ion-based theory also depends on electromagnetism, it does not as yet involve biophotons.
There are myriad unanswered questions in biophoton research, such as how and why are biophotons generated; how do biophotons contribute to cellular organization, regulation and communication; what is the source of the information that they carry; can biophotons be modulated; which signals result in which metabolic actions; can photon emission reliably be used diagnostically; what is the relationship between biophotons and DNA; what is the function of the absorption of biophotons by photosensitive molecules; how does weak and strong radiation interact with biological tissue; can condensates (collective electron oscillations) form in biological tissue powered by photons; how do microtubules, mitochondria, and photons interact; and what role might biophotons play in the regulation of cell division and cellular differentiation.
Ongoing research in the emerging science of bioenergy will play a major, if not defining role in 21st Century medicine where energy-based pharmacology could complement chemical-based pharmacology.
More information on the bioenergetic basis of humans and cells can be found in the Qigong and Energy Medicine Database™ , Energy Based Medical Technologies and Therapies, The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine, and Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by J. Oschman.
1.Bischof, M., Field Concepts and the Emergence of a Holistic Biophysics. International Institute of Biophysics, Published in: Beloussov, L.V., Popp, F.A., Voeikov, V.L., and Van Wijk, R., (eds.): Biophotonics and Coherent Systems. Moscow University Press, Moscow 2000, pp.1-25.
2. Pilla A, Fitzsimmons R, Muehsam D, Wu J, Rohde C, Casper D. Electromagnetic fields as first messenger in biological signaling: Application to calmodulin-dependent signaling in tissue repair, Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011.
3. Havelka D, Cifra M, Kucera O, Pokorny J, Vrba J., High-frequency electric field and radiation characteristics of cellular microtubule network, J Theor Biol., 2011.
4. Levin, M., Molecular bioelectricity in developmental biology: New tools and recent discoveries: Control of cell behavior and pattern formation by transmembrane potential gradients, Bioessays, 2012.
5. Pokorny, J., Vedruccio, C., Cifra, M., Kucera, O., Cancer physics: Diagnostics based on damped cellular elasto-electrical vibrations in microtubules, European Biophysics Journal, 2011.
6. Pokorny, J., Video: Microtubules - Electric Oscillating Structures in Living Cells (Google Workshop on Quantum Biology). 2010.
7. Zimmerman JW, Pennison MJ, Brezovich I, Yi N, Yang CT, Ramaker R, Absher D, Myers RM, Kuster N, Costa FP, Barbault A, Pasche B., Cancer cell proliferation is inhibited by specific modulation frequencies, Br J Cancer. 2011 Dec 1.
8. Georgiev, D., Bose-Einstein condensation of tunnelling photons in the brain cortex as a mechanism of conscious action, [Preprint], 2004.
9. Kim, et. al., Influence of body parameters on gastric bioelectric and biomagnetic fields in a realistic volume conductor, Physiol Meas. 2012 Mar 14.
10. Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, Quantum Biology,http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/quantum_biology/.
11. Oschman, J., Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, Churchill Livingstone, 2000.
12. Rahnama, M., Tuszynski, J., Bokkon, I., Cifra, M., Sardar, P., Salari V., "Emission of mitochondrial biophotons and their effect on electrical activity of membrane via microtubules", Journal of Integrative Neurosciences, 2011, vol 10, no. 1, p. 65-88.
13. Cifra, M., "List of modern experimental evidence on cellular photonic interactions", UPE-DataBase Newsletter, 2010a, vol. 2, no. 1, p. 5-7.
14. Cifra, M., Pokorny, J., Jelinek, F., Kucera, O., "Vibrations of electrically polar structures in biosystems give rise to electromagnetic field: theories and experiments", In Proceedings of Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium 2009, Moscow, Russia, August 18-21. Cambridge: The Electromagnetics Academy, 2009, p. 138 - 142. ISSN 1559-9450.
15. Cifra, M., Van Wijk, E., Koch, H., Bosman, S., Van Wijk, R., “Spontaneous Ultra-Weak Photon Emission from Human Hands Is Time Dependent”, Radioengineering, 2007, Vol. 16, n. 2, p. 15-19, ISSN 1210-2512.
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17. Cifra, M., “Measurement of spontaneous photon emission from the human body: technical aspects, parameters, time and temperature dependent fluctuations of photon emission”, master degree thesis, University of Zilina, Slovak Republic. 2006.
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Fritz-Albert Popp is a biophotonics pioneer who began researching biophotons in the 1970's. Since that time he has developed a bioenergy-based theory of human body regulation.
An electromagnetic field produces a pattern. Photons are single units of this field. This field is generated by DNA which is vibrating over 1 billion times per second. The pattern is not just in a locality. It is a space-time pattern. "This spatial dynamical pattern provides the information of the cell, and it tells the cell what it has to do at what time and what place"2.
He argues that proper function requires speed of light signalling. It cannot be done through chemical means¹. It also requires a coherent light. The predictability and stability of the pattern is a measure of coherence: "The coherence time of the best laser is about one-tenth of a second but the coherence time of biological system[s] is at least in the order of days, or even weeks. So you have a very very high degree of coherence. And this allows the biological system to communicate with the highest possible clearness...A chemical reaction can only happen if the molecule which is reacting is excited by a photon. A photon is necessary to stimulate a molecule to a chemical reaction."
Photons are "autocatalytic messengers", meaning that they are self-sustaining catalysts for cascading reactions, without losing their coherence/energy to heat. Thus, the electromagnetic field itself, the space-time pattern, is the coherent source of the information necessary to regulate cellular metabolism.
1. " Each cell can be viewed as a tiny chemical factory, performing many millions of reactions every second." Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al., Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2002.
2. Quotes are from the YouTube video Biophotons Popp Interview (12:14) .
Institute of Applied Biophoton Sciences. "Biophotons are photons, light impulses, that are emitted and/or reflected by living cells. There are approximately 100 000 impulses per cell per second. These impulses steer all the biochemical functions in our bodies. This all works with the speed of light which is necessary to perform all the tasks that have to be done to keep our bodies in good functioning order. The way that has been described in medical science is far too slow to do it all. It really needs the speed of light. Although this was discovered in the 1970's this fact is not taught at the medical schools because if they taught this, they could stop teaching anything else. There are many scientists and universities that research the biophotons but they do only fundamental research. The value of the discovery by Dr. Fritz- Albert Popp, a German biophysicist, lies of course in the applications. These applications are however not researched because the applications would change humanity and all its institutions enormously."
A small international group of young researchers in biophotonics have set a goal of improving on the communication between researchers. Experiments and ideas are usually discussed with a few people, happening to be close to each other, being interested in the same thing. To achieve that, there is a Wiki (http://upe.wikispaces.com). This website includes a discussion forum, news section, literature database and other info, including that on the rules and ideas on a UPE database for researchers which is located on http://www.upedb.net/. A biophotonic-related newsletter is published several times per year.
In recognition of the importance of photonic research, the National Science Foundation created the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis in 2002. The Boston University Photonics Center was established at roughly the same time. Both centers have four main missions: academic research, educational programs, commercial incubation, and photonics technology development. In 2011, the two centers jointly received the newest National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center award and became the Center for National Biophotonic Sensors and Systems (CBSS). The new Center is one of fifty such cooperative research center awards across the country and the only center focused on biophotonic sensors. The concept is a long-running NSF program designed to foster university-industry collaborations and is jointly supported by the foundation and industry.
According to the CBSS press release, "working at the intersection of photonics engineering and the life sciences, the center will focus on translational research where photonics provides the technologies for advances in methods to detect and identify biological properties, conditions or changes at the molecular, cellular and sub-cellular levels." Some of the more interesting potential research from the standpoint of energy medicine is the following from the Boston University Photonics Center website:
Biophotonics imaging, the study of optical imaging and how it is used to understand biological problems, including microscopy, subsurface probing of tissue, adaptive optics for retinal and neurobiological imaging.
Biomedical photonics, the study of light-based systems for applications including detecting and treating disease, probing molecules and cells, sensing pathogens, microsurgery and wound healing.
During the last thirty years the Rhine Research Center’s Bio-Emissions experiment has been measuring people for charge accumulation and electromagnetic bio-emissions. These measurements are being used to study bio-energy healers, meditators and people who claim unusual effects on electrical equipment. Cindy Cicero, Director and Instructor for the School of Chi Energy Heals, participated in one such experiment at the Rhine Center’s Bio-Emissions Lab in Durham, NC. which is described in the video below.
For more background information see Energy Healing and the science of Bio-Photons.
The Rhine Research Center Experiment - A Study of Human Biofields The Experiment: A variety of detectors, including those that can measure charge accumulation and eletromagnetic emissions are being used to study bio-energy healers, meditatiors, and people who claim unusual effects on electrical equipment. This is a continuation of work originally begun at Duke University that is now being performed at the Rhine Research Center. Several special devices are used to measure bio-emissions. A thermoelectric cooler detector measurement device is cooled to 30 degree centigrade to create a baseline. Then a photomultiplier tube measures biophoton emissions. When one photon of light strikes this sensitive surface it dislodges several other electrons. The dislodged electrons accelerate striking many more electrons that cause a chain reaction event that gets recorded.
To learn more about The School of Chi Energy Biophoton Method see Cultivating Chi at the School of Chi Energy.
There is a rapidly growing body of solid scientific research documenting the effectiveness of near infrared light therapy. NASA published a study on Navy Seals in the Journal of Clinical Laser Medicine and Surgery in November of 2001 showing that this frequency of light penetrates 23 centimeters into the body's tissues, and that it not only relieves pain but also accelerates the healing process by 50% or more. (More).
Towards whole-body ultra-weak photon counting and imaging with a focus on human beings. For decades, the relationship between ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) and the health state of the body is being studied. With the advent of systems biology, attention shifted from the association between UPE and reactive oxygen species towards UPE as a reflection of changed metabolic networks. Essential for this shift in thinking is the development of novel photon count statistical methods that more reflect the dynamics of the systems organization. Additionally, efforts to combine and correlate UPE data with other types of measurements such as metabolomics be key to understand the complexity of the human body.
Ultraweak photon emission as a non-invasive health assessment: a systematic review. There is growing use of ultraweak photon emissions from humans as both a medical and research tool for determining inflammatory and oxidative states of patients.
New perspective in cell communication: Potential role of ultra-weak photon emission. This review provides thorough information and a detailed overview of experimental results on the cell-to-cell communication observed in different living system via ultra-weak photon emission to bring a better understanding and new perspective to the phenomenon.
Also see Energy-based Technologies and Therapies.