Qi: Ancient Energy Meets Science

Explore Qi (Chi), its link to bioelectricity, historical significance, cultural importance, and modern scientific relevance.
Qi Exploration Cover

Illustration "Qi" by Leonardo AI


Qi (氣), known as Chi, is deeply rooted in Chinese culture, medicine, and philosophy. This ancient term has been integral to understanding life force, energy flow, and vitality for centuries. Western cultures often associate the concept of Qi with alternative and complementary therapies like acupuncture and Qigong. However, it has a much richer history that spans thousands of years. This article explores the origin of the Qi term, its etymology, usage through history, everyday use in Chinese society, and the scientific explanation behind its significance in Chinese medicine, spirituality, and philosophy. Furthermore, we delve into possible associations between Qi and bioelectricity in medical understanding.

Etymology of Qi

The word “Qi” (氣) is derived from the ancient Chinese script dating back to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). The character consists of two parts: 米 (rice) and 气 (air or gas). Rice represents nourishment and sustenance essential for life. Air symbolizes breath or life force. Thus, combining these elements signifies that Qi encompasses both physical nutrition and an intangible essence vital to sustaining life.

Proto Qi Chinese Symbol for air or breath

Historical Usage of Qi

Throughout Chinese history, the concept of Qi has continually evolved. Initially, it described various natural phenomena, such as mist rising from a river or vapors from cooking rice. It became linked to concepts like vitality or energy flow within living organisms as time progressed.

In 500 BCE, during the Spring-Autumn period in China’s intellectual history, philosophers debated different theories about how energy flowed through nature. By 300 BCE, during the Warring States period, famous philosophers like Confucius, Laozi (the founder of Daoism), Mozi (the founder of Mohism), and Mencius all incorporated discussions on Qi into their respective philosophical systems.

Qi emerged as an essential aspect of Chinese cosmology, symbolizing the primordial substance from which the universe created everything. Daoist philosophy suggests that Qi continuously cycles through various states, transforming from pure energy (Yang) to matter (Yin) in an ongoing process of creation and destruction.

Everyday Use of Qi

In contemporary Chinese society, the term Qi is used ubiquitously in everyday language. It is often associated with personal health and vitality. For example, people might say they have “good Qi” to describe feeling energetic or “bad Qi” when feeling unwell. In traditional greetings, people may wish each other “Qi sheng” (氣升), meaning “May your energy rise” or “Wu qi” (無氣), which translates to “Don’t be discouraged.”

Beyond its use in daily conversation, the concept of Qi also plays a central role in many aspects of Chinese culture. The ancient art of Feng Shui focuses on harmonizing the flow of Qi within living spaces to create a balance that promotes prosperity and well-being. In martial arts like Tai Chi and Qigong, practitioners learn to cultivate their internal Qi through physical movements, meditation, and breath control.


Qi: Ancient Energy Meets Science 1

Scientific Explanation Behind Qi and Bioelectricity

Though rooted in ancient Chinese philosophy, modern scientists have studied the concept of Qi extensively to understand its relevance in complementary medicine practices such as acupuncture and Qigong. Some researchers have suggested that Qi might be connected to bioelectricity, the electrical activity of living organisms.

Bioelectricity is a fundamental aspect of cellular biological function. Specific cells within our bodies generate electrical signals that regulate physiological processes such as muscle contraction, nerve impulse transmission, and wound healing. These signals are essential for maintaining homeostasis – the balance required for optimal health.

The possible association between Qi and bioelectricity suggests that practices like acupuncture and Qigong could influence the body’s bioenergetic systems. For example, acupuncture may stimulate sensory nerve fibers that send electrical signals to the brain and modulate various bodily functions like pain perception or immune response. Similarly, Qigong’s focus on controlled physical activity and breath control could help regulate internal systems such as blood flow or nervous system function by influencing bioelectrical signaling.

It is important to note that while these ideas are intriguing, they remain speculative, and the concept of Qi as a distinct form of bioenergy only exists in modern medicine. However, exploring the possibility of a connection between Qi and bioelectricity supports new research in energy within biological systems, especially humans. Such analysis can better understand human metabolism, immune response, and consciousness emergence from physical complexities.


Similar Concepts in Other Cultures

The idea of life force or vital energy is not unique to Chinese culture. Several other cultures throughout history have developed concepts that share similarities with Qi:

1. Prana (India, Sanskrit: प्राण): In Hinduism and Ayurvedic medicine, Prana is the universal life force that flows through all living beings. It is believed that maintaining a balance of Prana within the body is essential for health and well-being.

2. Ki (Japan, Japanese: 気): Similar to Qi in Chinese culture, Ki is the vital energy that flows through all living things in Japanese philosophy and is central to martial arts like Aikido and traditional healing practices Shiatsu.

3. Mana (Polynesia, Polynesian languages: Mana): Polynesian cultures define Mana as a supernatural force or power in everything, both living and non-living entities. They believe individuals can gain or lose Mana through their actions. Those with high levels of Mana hold significant influence and authority.

4. Pneuma (Ancient Greece, Greek: πνεῦμα): Early Greek medical theories considered the concept of Pneuma as the vital breath or spirit responsible for maintaining life and health.


The concept of Qi has evolved significantly over thousands of years in Chinese history. From its earliest etymological roots to its contemporary significance in medicine, spirituality, and philosophy, Qi remains an integral aspect of Chinese culture. Modern scientific research continues to explore potential connections between Qi and bioelectricity, which may provide insights into how ancient practices like acupuncture and Qigong can influence the body’s bioenergetic systems. By examining the potential link between Qi and bioelectricity, we can deepen our understanding of human metabolism, immune response, and consciousness emergence from biological systems. Furthermore, acknowledging similar concepts of life force in different cultures throughout history highlights the universal importance of energy flow for maintaining health and well-being. As we continue to investigate the connections between Qi, bioenergy, and bioelectricity, we may uncover new insights into how the body’s energy systems can be harnessed for optimal health and well-being across different cultures and historical backgrounds.


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Subject: Energy Medicine and Qi Research
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Subject: Comparative Studies and Other Cultural Concepts of Energy
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by ivan roca


Bioqr™ is bioenergy-assisted immune treatment. A therapist uses his own bio-electromagnetic field to stimulate the patient’s immune system in a nonspecific and specific way. The stimulated immune system responds and “heals” the patient.

Bioqr™ therapy is a bioenergy treatment first developed in Eastern-Europe in the late 1960s as a modern, secular approach to traditional hands-on healing methods with biological and physical reasoning. Later, the method crossed Eastern-Europe to ex-Yugoslavia in the late 1970s’ where it has merged with similar methodologies and has been researched and applied as a complementary medical intervention. The founder of Biotherapy Asia, Ivan Roca, adapted these methodologies and cleared it from the folklore and unnecessary procedures, techniques, and philosophies. Bioqr™ method is a purely medical, highly structured bioenergy system that can be easily applied in a clinical or non-formal environment. The name of the method is Bioqr™ – Human Bioenergy Therapy.

Bioenergy is the energy dynamic observed within living organisms. Also, it is a scientific name that tries to encompass a very broad interdisciplinary area of research into the energy of a living organism. “Bios” is an Ancient Greek word meaning life, and energy is another Ancient Greek word, meaning activity, but here it signifies potential and possibility. Bioenergy has nothing to do with concepts like bioplasma, Chi, Qi, Ki, Prana, Universal energy, Life energy or Orgon.

Yes, with an electromyography device (EMG).

EMG is an electrodiagnostic medicine technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. EMG is performed using an instrument called an electromyograph to produce a record called an electromyogram. An electromyograph detects the electric potential generated by muscle cells when these cells are electrically or neurologically activated.

No. The therapy is successful even if a person does not believe in the biological effect of the immune system stimulation with the human bioenergy field, which is a result of ignorance and a lack of information.

The body response does not depend on our beliefs. It is an automatic and autonomic biological process.

A Bioqr™ therapist uses different hand positions and movements in combination with muscular tension and/or relaxation to stimulate the recipient’s immune system for his/her specific medical condition. Human endogenous bio-electromagnetic radiation interferes with the bioenergy processes of a diseased person to alter the metabolism and cause a body shock response that triggers the immune system activation in a specific and non-specific way.
Every movement has a different energetic signature so that the biotherapist can trigger an immune response in different tissues for different purposes. Immune response due to a “shock” to maintain homeostasis (check danger model of the immune system from Dr. Polly Matzinger), stimulates natural defenses.

A therapist uses muscular tension and relaxation to consciously send bioelectrical signaling (active potentials) of a higher or lower electromagnetic radiation intensity into the area of the hands. Propagation of the action potentials in the nerves and muscles produces a bio-electromagnetic field that radiates outside of the human body.

All the ‘manipulation’ processes occur automatically which is a completely natural process that is constantly taking place, but most of the time we are not aware of it. Bioenergy therapy is the application of natural energy processes and laws for awakening your own immune defenses, which due to a disharmonious way of life or due to some other factors (genetics, environment, etc.) become weakened or stop functioning entirely.

Learn HERE more.

Bioenergetics is the part of biochemistry concerned with the energy involved in making and breaking of chemical bonds in the molecules found in biological organisms. It can also be defined as the study of energy relationships and energy transformations and transductions in living organisms. The ability to harness energy from a variety of metabolic pathways is a property of all living organisms. Growth, development, anabolism, and catabolism are some of the central processes in the study of biological organisms because the role of energy is fundamental to such biological processes. Life is dependent on energy transformations; living organisms survive because of the exchange of energy between living tissues/ cells and the outside environment.

The essence of the biofield perspective is that a variety of endogenously generated electromagnetic and other fields act within and between multiple levels of biology, from molecular and cellular, through tissues and whole organisms to affect our personal and perhaps even our interpersonal functioning. The human body is a biofield.

Biofield science is an emerging field of study that aims to provide a scientific foundation for understanding the complex homeodynamic regulation of living systems. By furthering our scientific knowledge of the biofield, we arrive at a better understanding of the foundations of biology as well as the phenomena that have been described as “energy medicine.”
Biotherapy is biofield therapy.

Yes, bioenergy/energy therapy is nowadays practiced throughout the world and is called biofield therapy. New approaches in scientific research are slowly revealing the possible mechanism of bioenergy therapy. Many hospitals and medical centers are slowly starting to integrate bioenergy therapy to complement and support conventional medicine.


No, Bioqr™ therapy is complementary and supplementary to all other medical and ‘alternative’ therapies, even though, in many cases, it is much more successful and efficient. After therapy, you should not discontinue the medication or other treatments or medical procedures prescribed by your doctor. Only a biomedical check-up can confirm improvement and make further decisions in conjunction with the patient about continuing or discontinuing conventional medical treatment.

With groups of people, energy potentials multiply and “share” automatically. When in a group, it is easier to observe improvement during the therapy itself. It is also easier to exchange experiences. Group dynamics are an essential part of the subconscious work.

No! A natural energy process cannot be harmful in itself. Biotherapy is a noninvasive treatment without side-effects.

Yes, a diagnosis is necessary from a doctor. We do not diagnose.

No special preparation is needed. It is advisable to come at least 15 minutes before the beginning of therapy. It is desirable to free yourself from as many commitments as possible during the therapy days. Strong reactions during therapy are possible which can interfere with our everyday activities. It can be detrimental to the therapy if we are forced to rush off somewhere, or if we are not totally committed to the therapeutic process. Therapy cannot be beneficial if we are feeling pressured.

Depending on the individual, what is felt ranges from very powerful sensations to no sensation at all. Some people feel a tingling, burning or prickling sensation, coldness, draft, pressure, momentary relief, fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrollable laughter or crying, a floating sensation in the extremities, body movement, dizziness or vertigo. Whether or not a patient feels something during therapy, is not an indication of the success of the therapy, because everybody is unique and therefore they react in unique ways.

No, only a medical specialist can decide about discontinuing the medication. 

After 15 to 30 days, depending on the condition treated, one can expect results that can be objectively measured by means of clinical medicine. Sometimes in the first 15 days after therapy symptoms increase, or a sudden deterioration occurs, which is a crisis that signifies a strong bodily reaction to the intensified activities of a regenerated immune system.

Therapy can be repeated in consultation with a therapist and in accordance with other therapeutic forms that are applied.

Yes, but it is important for the patient to personally commit to the decision to stop drug or alcohol misuse.

All diseases can be treated successfully. With some diseases, the objective success will be complete recovery, while with others, symptoms of the disease will be alleviated, or the result will be greater independence for the patient or arrest the development of the disease, depending on a number of factors that are not directly related to Bioqr™ therapy. We don’t treat medical conditions with psychosis or contagious diseases.

Yes, except schizophrenia and other mental diseases with psychosis. Patients with mental diseases must be accompanied.

With genetic diseases, we can only maintain symptoms with treatments on a monthly or a bi-monthly basis.

Yes, children of any age can be treated.

Yes. If the patient is vulnerable or being cared for by somebody else, then they will need to be accompanied.

Yes, it is possible for educational or research purposes and if you accompany someone else for some objective medical reason.

There is no price enforced for the therapy. At the end of the therapy session, an anonymous donation is made to the therapist.


Bioqr™ therapy is not based around the traditional concepts of the Life Force or Life energy like Qi or Prana. These concepts belong to Vitalism which was dropped in biology almost 100 years ago. Traditional concepts of the Life Force don’t have any scientific evidence to support its existence. Also, modern biophysics, biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, and genetics operate in a realm of the modern understanding of the world which is evidence-based knowledge. Qi, Prana, Pneuma and Life Force are spiritual concepts that are not biological or physical. The etymology of the words Qi, Prana, and Spirit is the same, the breath. 

No, we are based on a very modern approach to bioenergy therapy. Chakras and Auras don’t exist in a biological realm. They are only interesting mental concepts developed as a part of the New Age movement. To put it in a simple way, there is no Chakra and Aura as physical entities. They are just concepts.

Nothing in the classical sense where the healer is considered to be more spiritual than others. Medicine is a science of the mind, body and social well-being. Spirituality is a concept of the world that has many different faces and understandings. Medicine and spirituality are two completely different subjects. In some special cases, spiritual thinking can be beneficial for the patients, for example in hospice, pain management, palliative care, psychological work, etc.

No, this is a misconception that has roots in spiritism and animism. Energy is not bad or good. Energy is benevolent. Sometimes people use the word “energy” to express emotional states which are purely subjective and have nothing to do with term energy in modern physics.

Nothing, it is another misconception where a few psychological phenomena were thought to be the sixth sense. Unfortunately, humans don’t have magneto-receptors and electro-receptors beyond 5 senses which are developed due to our evolutionary needs to protect and survive.

No, anyone can do energy therapy. Healing is not a supernatural ‘special power’ that somebody possesses, but an application of knowledge and skills.