By Stefan Stenudd
Stefan Stenudd
About me
I'm a Swedish author and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written several books about life force concepts and East Asian traditions. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching ancient thought and mythology. My personal website:

Life Energy
The life energy exists in many traditions, such as qi (chi) in China, prana in India, pneuma in Ancient Greece, spiritus in Latin, and vitalism in philosophy. Here they are all explained.

Life Energy Fundamentals

Life Energy Beliefs A - Z


Life Energy Encyclopedia


Books by Stefan Stenudd:

Cosmos of the Ancients. Book by Stefan Stenudd.

The Greek philosophers and what they thought about cosmology, myth, and the gods. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Sunday Brunch with the World Maker. Novel by Stefan Stenudd.

Fiction. A brunch conversation slips into the mysterious, soon to burst beyond the realm of possibility. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

Other Websites:

Qi energy

The ancient Chinese life energy qi (chi) explained and how to exercise it. Click the image to visit.

Creation Myths

Creation stories from around the world, and the ancient cosmology they reveal. Click the image to visit.

Life Energy Beliefs. God gives life to Adam, by William Blake.

Life Energy Beliefs

Life Force Ideas Around the World

Here are the R entries of life energy beliefs around the world and from antiquity to the present. An edited and expanded version of this Life Energy A to Z is published in my book Life Energy Encyclopedia.


Thomas Henry Moray

Radiant energy is a theory about a radiation present and accessible everywhere, by the American electrical engineer Thomas Henry Moray (1892-1974). He claimed to have started this research in 1909, when he was seventeen. Later on, he used a mineral he had found in Sweden, which was to be called Swedish stone. In 1949 he patented an electro-therapeutic machine, which was supposed to use both electricity and radioactivity in healing treatments. The expression radiant energy was also used by the Serbian engineer Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), active in the USA, whose theories have inspired many 20th century hypotheses about yet unknown Nikola Teslaforms of energy. Ha made a number of important inventions involving electricity and radio waves. Tesla regarded radiant energy as cosmic, with the sun as its closest source, and existing in such a scale that it could be an inexhaustible energy source (see free energy). It consisted of small particles with such minute charge that they could be compared to neutrons, and with a speed beyond that of light. He also claimed that this radiation ionized the air. In 1901, Tesla patented a machine to make use of this energy. Tesla’s radiant energy is sometimes mentioned as a synonym to qi, although to him it was more of a concrete source of energy for practical use. But others have developed his theory into more complex systems, where this or a similar energy is also claimed to have healing properties, and be some kind of force field – such as the above theories of Moray.

Radiation is a phenomenon and a term used in many ideas about life energy and such, increasingly so since the late 19th century, as different forms of radiation have been discovered and understood. Whereas ancient ideas about life force have mostly described it as flowing, like air or water, modern beliefs tend to describe it as some kind of radiation. Another term often used for similar concepts is emanation.

Alexis Mermet

Radiesthesia (approximately ‘sensitivity to radiation’) is an expression introduced in 1927 by the French Jesuit abbots Alexis Mermet (1866-1937, on the photo) and Alex Bouly (1865-1958), for an extrasensory capacity to sense certain substances or objects. When this is done from a distance, it is called tele-radiesthesia. Often a pendulum or dowsing rod is used to enhance this sensitivity and find the object. Methods to search with the help of such sensitivity, mostly to find water, have existed far back in history. A modern method is called radionics (see this word), based on the assumption that all matter emanates a recognizable radiation, which also Bouly claimed. In 1939, the French physicists Leon Chaumery (1880-1957?) and Antoine de Belizal (1896-?) gave this phenomenon the name micro-vibrational physics.

Mermet pendulum.
Mermet pendulum.

Radionics is a theory about radiation from living creatures, introduced in 1916 by the American pathologist Albert Abrams (1863-1924), but he used the term radiotherapy. It is also called psionics (see the word psi). The radiation was different from sick and from healthy body parts, which Abrams used in both diagnosis and treatment, with a machine called oscilloclast. See also radiesthesia and homogeneity vibration.

Albert Abrams and his oscilloclast, from a 1923 booklet.
Albert Abrams and his oscilloclast, from a 1923 booklet.

Reflexology see zone therapy.

Mikao Usui

Reiki (Japanese for ‘universal qi’) is a system for treating human energy flows, founded by the Japanese businessman Mikao Usui (1865-1926), who got the inspiration to do it during meditation training in 1914. Reiki spreading to the west was mainly the work of Hawayo Takata (1900-1980), who lived in Hawaii. In reiki the therapist uses the hands to transmit qi, and to stimulate the qi flow inside the patient. Much of this is done without physical contact.

Roh see semangat.

Rono see ayik.

Ruach/ruah/rua is the Hebrew word for spirit or wind, and is used in the Old testament of the Bible for what has been translated to the Holy Spirit, ruach hakodesh. It is God’s breath, by which he blows life into his creatures. The word is also connected to will-power. The grammatical gender of the word ruach is feminine. Jewish mystic tradition (in Torah and Talmud, as well as in Kabbalah) also speak about nefesh, a life force for the physical body, and just as mortal, linked to the blood. There is also neshamah, higher than the two previously mentioned, linked to the mind. These three powers are in Kabbalah often called naran. Compare ruh. See also Holy Spirit.

Ruh is the Arabic word for spirit or spiritual power. Compare ruach. The Arab word for the soul or the I is nafs.

Life Energy Beliefs A to Z

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

Life Energy Books

I have written two books on the subject of life energy:

Life Energy Encyclopedia. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Life Energy Encyclopedia

Qi, prana, spirit, ruach, pneuma, and many other life forces around the world explained and compared. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.

QI - increase your life energy. Book by Stefan Stenudd.
Qi - Increase your life energy

The life energy qi (also chi or ki) explained, with several very easy exercises to awaken, increase, and use it. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.