Research Horizons Panel: Developing Biofield Models for Chinese Medicine

Beverly Rubik · November 4, 2023

This interdisciplinary panel brings researchers and scholars of classical Chinese medicine together with leading biofield researchers. Their joint mission will be to identify those key questions regarding biofield mechanisms of Chinese medicine and acupuncture that can be addressed with various research models.

To date, most basic research on Chinese medicine and acupuncture mechanisms is rooted in conventional molecular models. Much has been learned about correlations of various neurotransmitters with acupuncture’s effects, as well as local changes in fascial tissue and central changes in brain function that take place during acupuncture sessions. However, Chinese medicine’s deepest and most compelling questions are understudied: What is qi? What are the acupuncture channels? 

As we have seen throughout this Symposium, biofield science research describes novel physiological mechanisms (bioelectric, biophotonic, subtle energy, the information-carrying capacity of water, and signaling within the interstitium) that are better aligned with classical Chinese understandings of physiology and clinical practice. Indeed, while most basic research to date has focused on acupuncture, we propose a unified model of mechanisms of Chinese medicine that can help explain not only acupuncture effects, but also some of the more mysterious effects of herbal medicine, qigong, and other Chinese medical practices. 

Course Objectives:

  1.  Understand the fundamental physiological mechanisms described in biofield science research, including bioelectricity, biophotonics, subtle energy, the information-carrying capacity of water, and signaling within the interstitium.
  2. Explore the proposal for a unified model of Chinese medicine mechanisms that can explain acupuncture effects and the mysterious effects of herbal medicine, qigong, and other Chinese medical practices.
  3. Examine the concept of practice-based research and identify the data that practitioners can collect to enhance our understanding of clinical experiences in the field of Chinese medicine.
  4. Evaluate the potential of proof-of-concept studies to demonstrate key insights gained during the symposium in a simple experimental format.
  5. Consider the role of novel measurement approaches, Big Data, and Large Language models in advancing research in Chinese medicine and acupuncture and their contributions to understanding classical Chinese perspectives on physiology and clinical practice.

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