If you visit chapels and cathedrals, glowing haloes are often seen around divine beings and saints in murals. Such imagery is used to indicate the holiness or greatness of these individuals. In reality though, as long as a being is alive and metabolizing, it will emit faint light. While a human body’s luminescence is usually not well distributed, its highlights are almost identical to the meridians, or energy channels, described in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
In the 1980s, scientists used a highly sensitive photomultiplier tube as a detector to measure a faint but visible glow emitted by organisms. Studies have found that the levels of the human body’s luminescence correlate to physical and psychological health. Therefore, the study of luminescence may serve as a detection method for such conditions.
Human Bioluminescence Is Emitted When Metabolism Is Active
Scientists have discovered that the body gives off a glow during daily metabolic activities. To test their hypothesis, researchers measured the luminescence of blank paper against that of both a piece of pork and a human hand under the same dark conditions. While the paper glowed 10 to 1,000 times brighter than a human hand when exposed to sunlight, the glow faded before long. By contrast, the luminosity of the human hand remained at the same level in the dark. The fingertips were the most luminous, followed by the palm and the junction between the thumb and the index finger, respectively. The weakest part was the back of the hand. The piece of pork, however, gave off no light.
Scientists believe that the stronger the human body’s metabolism, the higher the level of luminosity. A research team led by Chinese scientist Yen-Chih Chiang measured the luminosity of 158 people’s bodies in complete darkness. The researchers found that 14 high-luminescence lines cover the body, and these align with the 14 meridian lines, or energy channels, mentioned in “The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor” by Dr. Maoshing Ni. There were 1,934 acupoints on these high-luminescence lines. The acupoints completely identical to the energy meridians accounted for about 93%, while those partially identical accounted for about 7%. The research team was convinced that luminescence is the embodiment of energy and that meridians indicate how dynamic a person’s metabolism is.
These findings have suggested that the TCM theory that meridians serve as the body’s energy passages may be accurate.
Although the anatomical structure of meridians has not yet been discovered, researchers have found many distinguishable acoustic-optical and electromagnetic phenomena related to these energy channels. A meridian transmits sound, light, and heat faster than the skin outside the meridian, and the electrical resistance at the meridian or acupuncture point is also lower than in other parts of the body.
Some scientists propose that an organism’s body has various electromagnetic waves transmitting biological information, and acupuncture points are junctions where interference waves of the electromagnetic field intersect.
Accordingly, electromagnetic energy will become aberrant when one falls ill. Acupuncture can effectively curb and rectify this kind of aberration.
Scientists assert that electromagnetic waves are important communication passages in the body, partly because they can influence physiological processes, such as the functioning of nerves and hormones. Just as we need telecommunication services to connect our internet, television, and mobile phones, we need electromagnetic waves to send messages throughout our bodies.
Photography That Makes Human Energy Visible to the Naked Eye
Kirlian photography was invented by the Russian electrician Semyon Kirlian and his wife, Valentina, in 1939. This technology uses a temporary high-voltage, high-frequency electric field to make the electromagnetic field of the human body visible. Photos taken using this method demonstrate that the electromagnetic field is not evenly distributed and thus could be affected by mood and health conditions.
German naturopath and acupuncturist Peter Mandel once used this technology to photograph his right hand. He saw complete, bright rings around most of his fingers, and incomplete rings around his index finger and pinky finger. At the time, he was suffering from stomachache and diarrhoea. According to the practice of Chinese acupuncture and the TCM therapy of moxibustion, the places where the haloes were missing on his fingers aligned with two meridian lines related to the digestive system: meridians of the large and small intestines.
After Mandel acupunctured his Heku or Hegu point on the large intestine meridian, his diarrhoea symptoms went away. Mandel photographed his fingers again and found all rings around his 10 fingers were bright and complete this time.
This experience sparked Mandel to continue his experiments. He took photos of many patients’ fingers and toes using Kirlian photography to develop a diagnostic method, which he called Energy Emission Analysis, to detect energy variation in the body and treat any conditions caused by these disturbances.
Electromagnetic Waves Emitted by the Body Can Reflect General Health
In recent years, the Russian scholar Konstantin Korotkov and his team have been improving Kirlian photography. They updated the photographic technology and developed a method called Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) to observe biophotons. Korotkov’s research has further confirmed that electromagnetic waves can reflect a person’s underlying health conditions. His studies found that GDV images of the fingers of patients with carcinoma of the large intestine are saliently distinguishable from those of people in good health.
Korotkov’s findings also revealed that the brightness of the rings around fingers is closely related to one’s moods. Rings will be brighter if one is happy, while they will be shrunken, imperfect, or even missing when one is in a negative mood such as anger, jealousy, or hate. Energy fields can also influence one another. For instance, fields can be immediately strengthened when family members or couples approach each other.
Zhang Changlin, a physics professor at Temple University, introduced the exploration of electromagnetic fields and energy meridians in the human body in his book “Invisible Rainbow: a Physicist’s Introduction to the Science Behind Classical Chinese Medicine.” He calls the electromagnetic field around the human body an “invisible rainbow” because, although the electromagnetic spectrum is colourful, human beings can only see a tiny part of it.
People with colour blindness cannot differentiate between red and green, as the electromagnetic spectrum they can see is narrower. If this is the case, then are there people who can see a broader electromagnetic spectrum than others? Could they see the energy emitted by meridians and the glow around the human body?
Zhang believes that one becomes more sensitive to sound and electromagnetic waves when he or she is in a state of meditation. In the days of antiquity, noise levels were much lower than those in modern society, as there were no vehicles, airplanes, televisions, or radios. Moreover, ancient people’s hearts and minds could be said to have been more at peace without all the stimulation modern humans face. This could mean that ancient people were more sensitive, and possibly able to perceive things that modern people cannot.
Li Shih-Chen, a renowned medical scientist of the Ming Dynasty of ancient China, wrote that “the inside of a human body contains tunnels, and one who mentally looks within the self can illuminate them.” This means the true nature of organs and meridians can only be observed by a cultivator of self who can look internally with his mind’s eye.
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