Effects of external qi of qigong with opposing intentions on proliferation of Escherichia coli

J Altern Complement Med. 2009 May;15(5):567-71. doi: 10.1089/acm.2008.0408.


Background: The existence and characteristics of external qi (EQ) in qigong therapy has long been subject to scientific debate and rigorous examination. The therapist's intent has played an important role in many studies. This study investigates the effect of EQ with opposing intentions on the proliferation of Escherichia coli.

Methods: We performed two studies with the same design. In study 1, 75 5-mL tubes containing test samples (3 mL each) were randomly divided into three groups: control, promoted, and inhibited group (25 each). In study 2, three 96-well plates with test samples (200 microL each) were randomly designated as control, promoted, or inhibited. Test samples were placed 60 cm apart on a bench with control in the middle. A qigong therapist performed EQ with either promoting or killing intent for 15 minutes each on the treatment groups. After incubation for 24 hours, optical density of the E. coli samples was measured at 600 nm (OD(600)).

Results: In the initial experiment of both studies, the OD(600) value of the promoted group was significantly higher than that of control (p < 0.05), while the OD(600) value of the inhibited group was significantly lower than that of the control group (p < 0.01), suggesting that the healer's intent played a critical role in the effects of EQ on E.coli proliferation. However, subsequent experiments did not replicate the initial finding in either study and showed a pattern of declining effect.

Conclusion: A healer's intent may affect the proliferation of microbes with specificity and directivity, so future studies of bioenergy healing should take the role of intention into consideration. The circumstances surrounding replication of the results in such biofield studies need further exploration.

MeSH terms

  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Qi*
  • Random Allocation