Nature of Qi

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The Nature of Qi

or vital energy in terms of velocity and accelaration. Masaichi Yamamura

Molecular Life science, Tokai University School of Medicine


In previous research, freeheat was measured by whole body calorimetry. From these measurements circadian rhythm could be determined, and further converted to velocity. By integrating velocity by time, circadian rhythm can be expressed in units of distance. By defining a single biological day as one cycle on the orbit of a coil, a biological clock could be determined. This was published in J Germfree Life and Gnotobiology 38 (2) 2008 84-87.

In this meeting, velocity of muscle will be discussed and explanations given on how Qi or vital energy can eventually be defined. This subject has not been treated in the field of science. In this paper a scientific foundation for Qi shall be presented.

Starting from scientific measurements it is possible to convert physiological phenomena to equivalents in physics and from these interrelationships the nature of Qi was obtained.

Definition of Qi :

Qi is a concept from Chinese and is used to describe the vital energy or health in a human. Chinese medicine is involved with treating a person as a whole and looks at illness as an imbalance of Qi. To regain health Qi should be restored. In Chinese medicine the pulse is taken at different points in the body, the pulse is the periodic and regular movement of blood, resulting from contractions of the heart.

Fig 1 flow chart from freeheat measurements to Qi or vital energy.

Click on image to see a larger version

What creates velocity in our body.

Gravity or the earth’s pull affects us. To overcome gravity, animals have developed muscles to move during evolution. Two types of muscular systems have developed. One is smooth muscle, which controls internal organs such as heart, stomach and intestine etc. and is involuntary in nature. The other is skeletal muscle, which is voluntary and this allows movement at free will. Three functionally different skeletal muscles have developed to catch prey, or run away from predatory animals. The fastest and strongest body movements are provided by fast glycolytic muscles. The second fastest muscles are those responsible for movement of varying speed this is done by fast oxidative muscles. Lastly slow body movements, with the capacity for endurance are provided by slow oxidative muscle fibres. To allow for these different functions, each muscle fibre utilizes different biochemical processes to produce ATP i.e. energy.

Velocity, or muscle movement, supplies heat, which maintains body temperature.

For animals that maintain a constant body temperature, velocity is the reason why constant body temperature is maintained as was presented in the previous meeting. The movement of smooth muscles such as heart and lung muscle cannot rest even when a person is bedridden. Velocity becomes zero only at death. On the other hand, in temperature dependent animals, all muscle movement will be stopped when it is cold.

Acceleration is a factor within velocity in muscles.

Mathematically, acceleration will result when velocity is differentiated by time (dv/dt). How can muscle movement create acceleration in respect to velocity? To explain this, muscle movement should be carefully examined. Muscle movement has two stages, contraction and then relaxation. ATP is consumed only during the contracting stage, which is the active stage, but not during the relaxed stage. The consumption of ATP during contraction is massive within a very short time. This massive ATP consumption creates acceleration. It is interesting to note that although velocity is continuous, acceleration is intermittent.

Acceleration will create sound.

While muscle moves, acceleration is “on” and in the following moment it is “off”. Acceleration in muscle movement is intermittent in nature. This intermittent nature of acceleration produces oscillations (vibrations), which become sound.

Muscle movements eventually make music or harmonics

Muscles are not moving randomly. The movements are well controlled and orderly. To achieve this, animals have developed a nervous system. As two types of muscles, smooth and skeletal muscles exist there are also two types of nervous systems, autonomous system to control smooth muscle and somatic system to control skeletal muscle. The center for autonomous system is located in the brain stem and for the somatic system in the brain. Most of the muscles in the body are more or less in action and the movements are well controlled and in harmony. So timing of acceleration is orderly. Sound created by acceleration should also be orderly. Sound travels around in all parts of the body via body fluids including blood. These periodic signals or pulses can be thought of as harmonic in nature. A mixture of sound results in music. All living things are producing music. We cannot hear it but sometimes it can be felt like vibrations or harmonics. It can be felt as much quieter in winter, when no temperature dependent creatures are active, while summer would be noisier.

Mysterious nature of music

The music or harmonics our bodies create may sound pretty and can be moving. Or may sound ugly and can be annoying. Music can be easily disturbed by one tiny mistake and turn into an ugly sound. Our mood may be controlled by the music we create within our body. Music we hear also can similarly affect our feeling. It can be concluded that music would “touch” or affect our feeling.

Our own pace and music

Grandparents and grandchildren tend to walk at the same speed. The same speed means the same timing in acceleration. That makes similar music and make us feel good or in harmony. Jogging and walking at one’s own pace makes us feel good and comfortable. The runner’s high may be due to the music while running.

One driver’s pace can be disturbed by another slow car in front, when actually there is nothing wrong with the slow car. Nevertheless it is very annoying. Why? This is because the music we are making is disturbed by the changing of pace through changing acceleration within the muscle.

Music emanates, leaks out from our body.

It happens occasionally that two persons unknown to each other sit side by side in the train and start to talk easily as if they have been old friends. We call it we are on the same wavelength or same tune. This indicates that we are detecting waves that we create. It can therefore be said that this usage of language is scientifically correct because of the deductions made above.

Detecting sound

During evolution, the very first sensory system developed to detect other living creatures was the auditory organ. It was an essential part of life, to eat or to be eaten, to hunt and to be hunted, predator and prey. One has to detect the other. We all are equipped for hearing with some limit. If we train it, we can hear it more. The range of perception of sound in humans is less refined than in other animals as the necessity for survival in humans does not depend on the same type of survival as animals in the wild.

Redefining Qi

Qi has been a concept presented by the Chinese as vital energy, which has not yet been scientifically defined. There is no way for us to measure it directly or to detect it by any of our usual senses of perception like vision or hearing. The true foundation of Qi, is the summation of vibrations that are created by our living body. If these vibratory changes were loud enough to be detected by our eardrums, then we would be able to hear the “sound” we create. This conclusion comes simply by analyzing the dynamics of our body, that is to say “velocity”. It is my belief that this is the first time that [Qi] is given a scientific foundation.

Qi has quantity as well as quality. The quantity and the quality of Qi is simply dependent on the quantity and quality of muscle work. Muscle work is not uniform in nature, strong and gentle, quick and slow, short and long. This constant movement creates waves. Accordingly qi or waves that emanate from the body will change. If one can relax muscle completely and even breathing is well controlled, qi would be reduced to a minimum. If one is excited, qi becomes larger.

In the field of marshal art, the master often tells a student as an innermost secret, one should be able to detect the movement of the opponent even before the actual movement. In theory, it is possible to detect if a slight change in acceleration or “sound” in the opponent is detected before moving. A master knows the opponent will soon be in action, so the master is ready for reaction.

In this paper it was possible to define the nature of vital energy called Qi by analyzing body dynamics. Originally it seemed that Qi could not be dealt with in the realm of science. However, here it was possible to define Qi in scientific terms as harmonics like those of sound. This was done by starting from measurements of heat, to define circadian rhythm converting the physiological phenomena to mechanics and physics, finally arriving to the concept of waves or harmonics like those of sound or music. If the sound were loud enough or if our hearing were sharp enough we would be able to detect Qi. Would these waves be heard as music or could they be detected in another form? From direct measurement by whole body calorimetry the nature of Qi was deduced. Hopefully, this will encourage further research to test Chinese medicine as well as complementary, alternative medicine and other products used to improve general health by whole body calorimetry or microcalorimetry. To measure Qi directly one suggestion would be to make use of the waves that emanate from a motionless living body, the vibrations would be detectable in water and this phenomenon may be used to devise a novel way of measurement.


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SHIMOYAMA Y. ; OHKUBO T. ; TAMURA M. ; HAYATSU H. ; YAMAMURA M. Heat production is a quantitative parameter for intracellular cell function vol. 183 (10 ref.), pp. 209-213 1991 Japan-China joint symposium on calorimetry and thermal analysis No02, Osaka , JAPAN (30/05/1990)

Tanaka E., Yamakawa A., Yamamura Y., El Borai N., Ito K., Nakano S., Nakazawa H. Regulation of Heat Production of brown adipocytes via typical and atypical ß-Adrenoreceptors in the Rat. Japanese Journal of Physiology, 45.1043-1051 (1995)

M. Yamamura, Y. Ishihara, T. Ohkubo, I. Ohtani, N. Matsunami, H. Narita and K. Kinoshita Calorimetry of Organism −A Measure of the State NETSU SOKUTEI (Calorimetry and Thermal Analysis)   Vol.20,No.3 154 (July 1993)

M.Yamamura Heat Productions for the States of Organisms - From Observations to Measurements NETSU SOKUTEI (Calorimetry and Thermal Analysis) Vol.18,No.1 34 (January 1991)

Masaichi Yamamura, Shihoko Suzuki, Yasuhiko Takagi The effect of natural medicine monitored by the change of external(free) heat (5th report): The change in the circadian rhythm by aging and the effect of Bu-Zhong Yi-Qi・Tang on the circadian rgythm. J. Traditional Med., 14, 274-277, 1997

Masaichi Yamamura, Shihoko Suzuki, Yasuhiko Takagi The effect of natural medicine monitored by the change of external(free) heat (6th report): Define aging. J. Traditional Med., 15, 364-365, 1998