is the dan tien real?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by gt3, Nov 10, 2004.

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  1. gt3

    gt3 Member

    is there any scientific or any real evidence that the dan tien exists and that it is where human energy is stored?

    I'm trying to study taichi seriously but i'm told a lot of things that don't sound like they've been scientifically proven. I'm not trying to be skeptical for the sake of being skeptical but I really hear people saying things about the dan tien and other things as if they're 100% fact, but how are they so sure?
  2. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami


    It's often very difficult for western minds to get their heads around eastern concepts and particularly eastern medical concepts within Traditional Chinese Medicine. Within the Chinese paradigm of how the human bodies energic system operates, the Dan Tien is a very real thing but it is not necessarily a physical thing in the western medical sense of what is tangible. The Dan Tien is rather an energic location very similar to what the Indians term Hara. There are indeed some very ill advised people out there spouting allot of misinformation about these things which cause much confusion and later resentment.

    I would strongly recommend you refer to some texts on the Chinese Theory of Qi and Qigong where you will get a very balanced analysis of what it is and what it's all about from the IMA perspective and not just the TCM perspective which are different things in themselves. It is not a mystical discussion but a very natural discussion of the Eastern perception of body energetics and the bodies electromagnetic fields. I highly recommend you get a copy of Dr Yang Jwing Mings the Root of Chinese Qigong.

    Hope this helps, Syd.
  3. TkdWarrior

    TkdWarrior Valued Member

    If I say it you might not believe... and I don't hav that kind of convincing power and authority on this topic. but wat i can say is
    you should read stuff by Yang Jwing Ming.... it's enlightening.
  4. TkdWarrior

    TkdWarrior Valued Member

    Syd, we seems to hav same favorites :)
    I can quote put lots of texts from Indian systems, but let him dabble with Yang Jwing Ming
  5. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    Yang Jwing Ming has a few really good books out.. well worth reading... the dan tian is in fact a real place... according to western medicine/science its like a battery that stores bioelectricity... (as I understand it...) Its also know as the "2nd" brain apparantly...
  6. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    Of course it's a real place! It's the body's natural center of gravity. And IMO that's ALL it is.

    Got any scientific material/ links that support that?
  7. Pacificshore

    Pacificshore Hit n RUN!

    Hey Syd.....nice signature by the way :D

    It's da island way :cool:
  8. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    Well thats actually true and not true. When I was studying Traditional Chinese Med at Uni we also were studying western medicine as an adjunct so we had both systems in parallel. You are correct in stating that the Dan Tien is a real place but the discussion in the context of meditation and qigong within the Internal Martial Arts and Medical Qigong quickly diverge. For example it's like saying we think with our brain but where is our mind?

    The reason I answered the original question as a vaguer yes is because of the slight cunnundrum above. When we meditate in Qigong or Internal Martial Arts, the place we are focussing our energy is not the physical place that the Chinese attribute as being the physical organs that constitute the Dan Tien. Western medicine does not recongnize the Dan Tien but it does recognize the organs that are attributed as being bioelectrically charged or able to generate it. We then get into a very big tin of worms that involves deeper discussions within the Chinese paradigm of what constitutes the real and false Dan Tien etc.

    I answered the question because when we focus on our Dan Tien in Qigong we are not focussing on a physical organ but rather a location of energy. We do not focus on the organ itself but rather the energy itself. The Dan Tien in the context of Qigong does not exist but rather it is an artifact of more subtle process ... the mind. The brain is to the physical Dan Tien what the mind is to the energic Dan Tien. The visualisation of our energy is focussed on the Dan Tien energically not physically therefore the energic Dan Tien does not actually exist but rather it is an energic location where visualisation is focussed.

    Taoists believed that the real Dan Tien was right in the middle of the abdominal area, "at the physical centre of gravity between the larger and smaller intestines". Traditionally the general belief is that the Dan Tien is at the front lower part of the lower abdominal cavity but the Taoists see this as the false Dan Tien. The false Dain Tien is actually the point of focus during visualisation and in actual fact in a physical sense does not exist. While the lower Dan Tien or lower heater is able to generate Qi it is not able to store it and that is what Shadowdh is reffering to.

    Without turning this into a major thesis, it is due to the physical attributes of the intestinal tract and it's centre of gravity, it's ability to act like a huge conductive battery, that this point is the logical heart of the Dan Tien; it is a giant battery for bioelectricity. So we see that with the triple heater Qigong that we do ( if you do this ) you are actually developing and storing Qi. Cultivating it in the lower, storing it in the middle physical Dan Tien, and then circulating it via the upper Dan Tien . The brain is the upper Dan Tien, the middle Dan Tien is the true physical Dan Tien and the lower Dan Tien is the Dan Tien of mind or the lower heater.

    You can get into absurdly deep discussions on a scientific level and begin using chemistry to show results with all this. Essentially the answer is yes and no and it depends on the Dan Tien your are discussing and the context within which you are reffering to it.

    Hope this helps, Syd.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2004
  9. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    In other words no, there is no solid scientific evidence that the dan tien exists as anything other than a useful visualisation concept. And certainly none that the intestinal tract acts like a giant battery for bioelectricity, I don't know where that came from.
  10. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    Western medicine does indeed recognize the electrical conductivity and generation of such in muscular groups and organs, the heart being at the highest level. Individual cells in the human body are tiny batteries engaged in a process of transmitting and generating bioelectricity.

    I refer you to pages 51 - 62 of The Essence of Shaolin White Crane by Dr Yang Jwing Ming.

    We studied this in TCM and western medicine. If you have an issue with the above your on your own and the burden, I would suggest, is on you to prove otherwise. ;)

    Best, Syd.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2004
  11. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    Yes, it recognises the conductivity and generation of bioelectricity in cells, but through passage of ionic chemicals more than simply generating AC or DC current.

    Try studying physics if you want to know about batteries mate, biology seems to have failed in this case on that one. Yes, the intestines, like every other tissue in the body, can produce electricity, but they don't then hold onto it for later use. It gets used as its produced, in the same way as ATP.
  12. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    I think the bioelectric paradigm is a little different from that of western physics and the interaction of Yi or the mind in producing, enhancing and controlling such within the Chinese cultural paradigm diverges from the western, and purely scientific view, in regard to Qi. We all feel the power of your personal superiority and physics and you've surely put us all in our place with blinding accuracy. :D
  13. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    Oh, I do apologise. I thought we were discussing actual scientific evidence, you know, like the original question asked. I didn't realise we'd strayed back onto philosophy. My deepest apologies for trying to stick to science in answering a question about science.
  14. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    Unfortunately mate! You can't seem to get your wild mane of science around the Chinese paradigm in that the Dan Tien and it's concept within the context of Qi straddles both western and eastern sciences. You are only willing to see through a one eyed perspective and discount anything that doesn't fall within the frame of your narrow view. I answered the question from the western scientific perspective and I made it clear that where one leaves off the other continues, namely the Traditional Chinese Medical view. You are, however, forgiven. :D

    I've said all I'm going to.
  15. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    However in answer to the original question, there is no objective scientific evidence that dan tien exists as anything other than a visualisation concept. See, easy answer?
  16. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    Sorry for the lateness of my reply but I have located a couple of references to the "biobattery" or 2nd brain... they are...

    Complex and Hidden Brain in the Gut Makes Stomachaches and Butterflies, by Sandra Blakeslee, The New York Times, Science, January 23, 1996

    The Second Brain: The Scientific Basis of Gut Instinct and a Groundbreaking new Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine, Michael D. Gershon, New York: Harper Collins Publications, 1998

    I havent read these items myself but they are given as references to the point that refers to the dantien being the "biobattery"... IMHO I will not profess to know all or that science is purely the answer to all... everytime we think we know it we find out how truely little we know... eg quantum physics and the like...
  17. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    Not from the Chinese Medical view. Qi and the Dan Tien are not Western concepts either so why would we ask Western Science to validate it? It is however catered for in both systems but not defined as same by both; big difference.
  18. woodrow

    woodrow Banned Banned

    You will progress much faster thru life if you let go of scientific evidence.

    You might want to consider that most of life is about power. Acumulating power and using it.

    Let us say that a group of people has power. They use this power to rule other people. They make the people pay taxes and fees and levis. Then they take that money and buy themselves whatever they want.

    Now, here you come, and you are asking "can you prove scientifically the Dan Tien exists?". Let us imagine that the Dan Tien is where the ruling group gets the power from. The power they use to dominate others.

    Do you really believe that a group of people will tax and levi other people so they don't have to work, so they can drink champagne and eat caviar, do you really think they are going to give you evidence the Dan tien exists?

    What would most people do if the ruling powerful people said "I get my power and my champagne and caviar and all of your money because of the Dan Tien"? Most people would cultivate the Dan Tien so that THEY could become powerful and let other people work for them and pay their bills.

    This idea applies to and source of power. Martial arts, Psychic stuff, magic stuff. Of course there is no evidence of it. If there was, you would go out, practice till you got strong, then challenge the current people in power.

    Did you ever hear the story in the bible about some king? He was told that a baby would be born that would depose and kill him. You know what the king did? He had every baby boy that was born killed. That way no one could grow up to depose him.

    Think about it.
  19. woodrow

    woodrow Banned Banned

    I don't know if I believe this or not. It sounds to scientific. Someone trying to explain what they do not understand in big words so it sounds impressive. I am not talking about you. Whoever wrote the book you are quoting.

    I think the idea of the Dan Tien is true. I think it can be describe very easily.

    Most people agree that the Dan Tien is the center of gravity or in the center of the belly or something like that. When you talk about a "center" what are you really talking about?

    A point. An origin. A dot.

    Way back when humans began evolving, they started out as single cell organisms floating in the sea. What is a single cell organism?

    A point. A dot.

    When a human being is conceived, what happens? A sperm floats along till it sees an egg, then it swims inside and the egg is fertilized. What is an egg?

    A point. A dot.

    The Dan Tien is.....where your body started. It is like the seed of a plant. If you plant a tree from a seed, from the outside you see the big tree. But if you got out a shovel and dug around in the dirt, you would find like the husk of a walnut if the tree is a walnut tree. Or the remnants of a pine seed for a pine tree.

    If you dig around in the body, the remnants of the "seed" that you grew from would be around the Dan Tien area. A tree grows from the ground up so the seed is at the bottom. But a human being grows from the seed in all directions right? Up to the head and down to the feet.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong. ;) Sure sounds cool though, doesn't it?
  20. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    Hey Woodrow,

    I am merely explaining the way the Chinese view the purely physical location of the Dan Tien and the organs they are attributed to in that particular statement. I did however cater for the philosophical view also. The Taoists believed the Dan Tien to be the centre of the abodomen and the lower Dan Tien to be false, in the physical sense. In any case this is the Chinese view of these things, I personally understand what they are suggesting but for some people they are happier to steer away from the dry TCM aspects of this analysis. I merely presented both side of the Chinese view, medical and philosophical and in reality when it comes to Qigong and TCM the two are barely seperable at times.

    Best, Syd.
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