Context: From 1978-1999, a large number of experts and scholars in China tested and analyzed the external qi of qigong (ie, the electrical signals [ES] released from human practitioners). Development of negatives from some tests had revealed the existence of speckles on the films. In 1998, the current research team analyzed some of the negatives that had been exposed to the ES.
Objective: The current research team intended to test for the presence of ES in qigong using the dielectric-barrier discharge (DBD) method.
Design: The study design involved 2 measurements: electromagnetic test of a open, placebo-controlled methodology and an optical test of single-blinded open, placebo-controlled methodology.
Setting: The study occurred in Taiyuan, Suzhou, and Shenzhen (China) as well as in Hong Kong.
Participants: Participants were 10 qigong masters and practitioners and 5 nonpractitioners from 4 cities.
Intervention: In the ES test, the practitioners released ES and the nonpractitioners simulated the release of ES, using 2 channels. Any ambient disturbance was recorded on both channels. For the photo file, the practitioner or nonpractitioner could press his or her palm onto 1 envelope that contained film or could hold his or her palm a certain distance (5-30 cm) above the envelope to release ES or simulate its release, respectively.
Outcome measures: An oscilloscope, current probes, and photo negatives were used to acquire >50,000 images. A type of discharged electromagnetic field (EMF), with a frequency of approximately 0.3-200 MHz, was recorded.
Results: The microdischarge pulses were positive, with a pulse width from 2-100 ns and with a total charge of approximately 0.001-0.2 nC. Many speckles could also be clearly seen in the photo negatives. Within the context of DBD theory, the speckles could be individual footprints of a barrier discharge for which the human skin acts as a barrier layer. Thus, the study measured reproducible field energy or an EMF and microdischarges.
Conclusions: ES were measured; then EMFs with a frequency of approximately 0.3-200 MHz and microdischarge pulses were recorded. Within the context of DBD theory, those results suggest that the microdischarge may act as a barrier discharge to which the human skin forms a barrier layer.