By Stefan Stenudd
Stefan Stenudd
About me
I'm a Swedish writer and instructor of the peaceful martial art aikido. I've written several books about qi and other lifeforce concepts. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. My personal website: stenudd.com


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.



Books by Stefan Stenudd:

Cosmos of the Ancients, by Stefan Stenudd.

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

Tao Te Ching - The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained, by Stefan Stenudd.

The Taoism of Lao Tzu Explained. The great Chinese classic, translated and extensively commented by Stefan Stenudd. 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.

Taoists

Taoism, the old Chinese philosophy of life, based on Tao, the Way. 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 R

Life Force Ideas Around the World


The idea of a life energy, or life spirit, a vital force that flows through all living things, exists all over the world, in many cultures and from the distant past to the present. Here is a small encyclopedia of such beliefs - and of terms mistakenly believed to be such. An edited and expanded version of this is in my book Life Energy Encyclopedia.

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R

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.


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Books

I have written two books on the subject of life energy: Qi: Increase your Life energy and Life Energy Encyclopedia. This website has material from the latter. Here are the two books:

Life Energy Encyclopedia, by Stefan Stenudd.
Life Energy Encyclopedia

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

QI - increase your life energy, 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, by Stefan Stenudd. Click the image to see the book at Amazon.


Stefan Stenudd