Author: Nakazat Seiki 1//Itoh Masatoshi 2
Japan Qigong Research Institute , School of Medicine, Tohoku University 
Conference/Journal: 3rd World Conf Acad Exch Med Qigong
Date published: 1996
Other: Pages: 114 , Special Notes: Some tables are only in Chinese abstracts. , Word Count: 959
Specific features of mental activities of a person in qigong status have been so far analyzed in many studies. However, not much have been disclosed regarding three-dimensional spatial information on such brain activities including blood flow in the brain.
The purpose of this study is to clarify the characteristics of the shift of blood flow in the brain when people go into qigong status. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) was used in the experiment and the brain waves which have been recorded during PET are analyzed.
6 students from Tohoku University and 7 qigong masters participated in our experiment were as subjects. Those latter 7 were all professionals who ran Qigong schools or taught qigong .
Physiological saline solution was marked by half-life radio-active isotopes, and the solution was then intravenously injected into the subjects. The blood flow in the brain was photographed by tracing the movements of the isotope O. Computerized gamma radiation detection system, PET (type PT931 by CTI, USA), was used for tracing. The size of each picture was 7 square milli-meters. 14 such pictures were put together to cover almost entire cerebrum.
The resolving power was 7 mm. During PET experiment, brain waves of the subjects were recorded using the Brain Altas II which was the 19 channel electro-encephalgraph developed by the Biological Co. ,USA. Frequencies of the recorded brain waves were analyzed so that distribution of wave height could be drawn on a chart. Blood flows in the brains of the qigong masters were tomographed three times each, while resting and while in qigong status. For the students, PET was performed only in resting.
Chart (1) shows the brain wave map of the ordinary people (students) in rest. Charts (2) and (3) display the shift of brain waves of the qigong masters before and after qigong status. Chart (1) indicates that a wave appears in the back of the brain, whereas waves of the qigong masters appear in the frontal part. More distinctively, the qigong masters wave frequency lessened by about 2 hz. As shown in Chart (4), when the changes of the brain waves of the qigong masters entire brain region was averaged, the frequency span which was most influenced by qigong was between 8 to 12 hz. Therefore, whether one is in deep qigong status or not can be measured by the relative occurrence of a wave in the brain.
Co-relation between the / wave ratio of brain and the change of brain blood flow was so close that (a) wave increased as (b) wave simultaneously decreased. The / ratio was fixed as the indicator for the purpose of drawing pictures of blood flow in the brains of those students and qigong masters. Chart (5) displays the results for the students and Chart (6) and (7) for the qigong masters.
For the students, increase of the / ratio was most closely related to the brain activities in the right frontal lobe, the side occipital lobe, and the both optic thalami. The blood flow decreased in these areas and increase was not observed. For the qigong masters, decrease of blood flow was observed sporadically in the central part of the brain, namely, the both optical thalami, the cerebrums fundus, and the right occipital lobes. Their blood flow increased in the right occipital lobe, on the inner surface of both frontal lobes, and both mammilary bodies.
More a wave is observed in the brains of qigong masters and also in wider areas of their brain compared to the students. It appears most frequently in the occipital region , and occasionally in the parietal and the sinciput. The main frequency of a wave decreases by about 2 hz and wave slightly increases. The method adopted in this study, operating PET and recording brain wave simultaneously, enables us to observe deeper areas of brain and to find out how a specific area of brain sending certain wave acts.
Shift of blood flow in the brain of the two subject groups was found significantly different. Blood flow decreased as a wave increased in the student group. It is due to the fact that the subjects become less strained while resting. On the other hand, blood flow was observed increasing in some areas and decreasing in other areas in the brains of the qigong masters. The same brain areas where blood decreased for both groups were the right occipital lobe and both the optic thalami. wave usually appears in the occiput.
The levels of brain activity of the qigong masters are not always similar as illustrated in the photo images obtained by PET. This difference seems inevitable as they employ different breathing methods and different ways of using will power depending on school. Their spiritual surroundings are not similar either. Despite of such difference, it is predicted that for all qigong masters there are common areas in the brain that can be activated by entering into deep qigong status. Judging from the results of this experiment, we presume such areas are either the right parietal lobe, or the left frontal lobe, or the inner surface of the frontal lobe, or mammilary body. It can even be all of these areas. The frontal lobe requires special attention for it is where the will power is originated, and it is where concentration of qigong masters reflects. This area is constituted with relatively older brain cortex and it is closely related to the cerebral limbic system. The mammilary body is also a part of the cerebral limbic system. We therefore conclude that qigong status activates the system around the cerebral membrane.
We intend to conduct further studies and experiments with qigong masters in order to locate more precisely the common areas in the brain that are activated by Qigong. It will clarify the relationship between the levels of mastery of qigong techniques and the particular brain regions to be activated by such qigong.