The Science of Fragrant Qigong

How I became involved with Fragrant Qigong

By Professor Jia-li Yuan

Professor Jia-li Yuan is one of the leading scientists in the field of anthroposomatology, a section of the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Chinese Academy of Science.

I have been a scientist all my working life.  I am a graduate of Western and Chinese medicine and most of my career has entailed research into both.   In 1993 I embarked on learning Fragrant Qigong that was being introduced within the academy as one of the activities for staff and surrounding community.  I found it very easy and relaxing and was intrigued by the fragrances that would appear out of nowhere.  I also heard that it was very effective in the treatment of many different illnesses (for more on Fragrant Qigong, refer to issue 3 of Qigong Chinese Health magazine, pages 10-15 or click here).  But at that stage I was still not that keen on paying too much attention to it, let alone researching it. 

Just a week after I started practicing Fragrant Qigong, I happened to go to Japan for a conference that was planned to last for a couple of months.  Since there was spare time available I continued my daily practice of Fragrant Qigong.  Then, something happened that changed my direction of research dramatically.  While in Japan, I stayed with a Chinese family whose nine year old daughter was severely ill.  She had one of the worst cases of food allergies I had ever seen.  She could not eat rice, soy products, bread (or any other wheat products), meat, eggs, dairy products as well as many kinds of vegetables.

Her parents were desperate, they had been to many of Japan's best specialists, including traditional medicine practitioners, had been to the USA and consulted some of the best American specialists in the field, but to no avail.  And her condition kept worsening.  The only thing they were able to do was give her a list of 20 kinds of foods she should absolutely avoid, or her life would be in danger.  She was severely lacking nutrition.  Her parents, knowing that I was a scientist and that I was coming from China asked me for help.  I was hesitant.  I thought to myself, what else could I offer that everyone else couldn't (I'd been trained in both Western and Chinese medicine but not a practitioner of either and they'd seen some of the best specialists in the world).

The only thing I could offer them that I was pretty sure they hadn't tried yet was Fragrant Qigong.  So I did.  I showed them the practice and the whole family did it.  During the first session they all smelt the fragrances and the results were encouraging from the very beginning.  The little girl for the first time in a long time felt the food she was eating was delicious.  Not only that she gradually started eating the food that she normally wouldn't, but in one months time she was basically eating all kinds of food without any problems whatsoever.  She even put on some weight.  Not only were they extremely grateful to me and I suddenly had all their friends come to me for consultation, but I myself suddenly became very interested in researching it scientifically.

After coming back to China, I spoke to some other scientists who were already researching natural therapies so we embarked on researching Fragrant Qigong.  That lead us to Master Tian Ruisheng and his four children (they also being masters of Fragrant Qigong) who were very happy about that and gave us a lot of support and necessary cooperation.  Some high rank government officials who were responsible for Chinese traditional healing disciplines showed a lot of interest and gave their support. 

Well, it seemed we had it all: 

  • a great practice,
  • millions of practitioners
  • our interest and determination
  • keen masters
  • a keen government body

Fragrant Qigong is an unusual practice.  The way it works can sometimes be too much, even for those who are into all kinds of new wave and alternative treatments (such as masters treating thousands of people in one go; removing their diseases, eg tumors and stones by teleporting; drinking energised water to treat disease, etc.), let alone for scientists.  But an open mind and genuine results broke down a lot of barriers.  Among the many subjects we researched over ten years I have chosen the following few to mention:

Many Qigong masters energize water with their Chi and it becomes Healing Water (Xinxi Shui).  It is common belief amongst Qigong practitioners in China that Healing Water can treat disease and boost one's Chi after drinking it.  It's also fairly common practice for people to bring containers of water when they go to see great masters.   Master Tian Ruisheng can not only energize water for everyone simultaneously during his Fragrant Qigong healing sessions (there is a requirement for such sessions i.e. to have minimum 1,500 people) but the water can be energized by simply being in his presence. 

We used several different techniques to measure the water samples he energised and then compared them with non energized water taken from the same samples before the experiments.  He energised one sample of tap water and another of purified.  We first used the Perkin-Elmer Lambda 17 UV/VIS Spectrophotometer and found that both samples' structure had changed.  Then in a dark room we used this energised water to come in contact with an X-ray film. After developing it, the slide was showing white areas, which would normally only happen if it had been exposed to X-rays.  Then we used the same water samples and diluted them 10 times but they still showed a noticeable difference (compared with the non-energised water samples).

Another common belief among Qigong practitioners is that not only the great masters' presence has strong healing qualities but their image in photographs, their writing, video tapes and even their voice heard on audio tapes have similar qualities.   We challenged this "belief" by conducting the following experiment: We exposed four normal undeveloped negatives to one of Master Tian's posters for 10 minutes and when we developed them they all showed traces of light.  We did the same with another 4 undeveloped negatives except that we put them in front of a colourful foreign poster.  This other poster had no affect on the blank negatives.

Then, in another experiment we used 80 different photographs of what are known in China as "Special Photographs"* (these special photos show evidence of some sort of energy being present and what is seen in them are bright lines, scribbles, balls, spirals of coloured light that are not seen by the naked eye at the time the photos were taken - these things usually appear when the master is present).

We tore 80 blank negatives in two and then exposed half of them to the above-mentioned photographs for 10 minutes, while we developed the other half to compare.  Out of 80 blank negatives exposed to the photographs, 73 showed noticeable traces of light (ie. white areas) while another 7 showed some traces of light, but not as noticeable.  Out of 80 photographs, 17 of them were reddish in colour and they all showed traces of light on the blank negatives.  None of the other halves showed any traces of light.  To make it even more legitimate, we then did the same experiment with blank negatives that were exposed to 40 photos taken of people who do not practice Qigong, with no masters present during the shooting, and the results showed no traces of light.

(Professor Yuan lives in Sydney and can be contacted on 02 9281 1778 at her practice in Chinatown, 304/413-415 Sussex St.)

* For more information about these "special photographs" please refer to Qigong Chinese Health magazine issue 4 the article "Teleporting Diseases" on page 20 or click here.

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