The Bio-Field

Nash Popovic profile image

Written by Dr. Nash Popovic

The bio-field refers to a complex organising field that interpenetrates and surrounds the physical body. It may have electromagnetic, thermal and photonic components (bodies emit light, but its intensity is 1000 times lower than the sensitivity of our eyes). The biofield is thought to be engaged in the generation, maintenance, and regulation of biological homodynamics.

There is a long and widespread tradition of belief that the body extends beyond its physical boundaries, in other words, that it has its own field. In Christianity, the term aureole is used for a field surrounding the whole body and halo for the part of it around the head (ohr hamakif – enveloping light, and hila – emanation of light, in Jewish mystical tradition). Biofields are also commonly recognised in the East (e.g. prana, Qi, or energy flows that are associated with chakras). There are some studies indicating that the bio-field can be detected by humans (see, for example, Hunt at al., 1977), but overall, empirical evidence is sparse. This may be the case because such an ability can only work at slower brainwave frequencies which are difficult to sustain in experimental settings, or because those who are capable of seeing the biofield are not interested to engage in these experiments. So, let’s see what conclusions we can draw from applying the inductive-deductive method.

A so-called ‘morphogenetic (form-generating) field’ was postulated in as early as the 1920s by biologist Alexander Gurwitsch, who claimed that the generation and regeneration of organisms is guided by it. In the 1930s, as a result of experimental work[1], a professor of anatomy at Yale, Harold Burr, proposed (with philosopher F. S. C. Northrop) the existence of a life-field that shapes the organism. After the Second World War, research carried out in China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Poland and the US seems to provide support for the existence of an energy field generated by the human body. Furthermore, this field appears to be affected by the mental states of the subjects. All this indicates that this phenomenon should not be simply dismissed, especially considering that it may be necessary to explain some aspects of biological functioning on molecular and cellular levels.

About 100,000 chemical reactions per second occur in each cell of the human body, so billions of chemical reactions happen at every moment. They all have to be synchronised for an organism to function. Chemical processes throughout the body are simply not fast enough to achieve this. It was already suggested (by physicist Herbert Fröhlich, for example) that some sort of collective vibration was responsible for getting proteins to cooperate with each other and carry out DNA instructions. As early as the 1960s, a Nobel Laureate for Medicine Albert Szent-Györgyi proposed that protein molecules can function as semiconductors, meaning that they can conserve and pass along the energy of electrons as information over relatively long distances (Becker and Selden, 1985, p.93-94). Both molecules and intermolecular bonds emit unique frequencies, so it is possible that they interact with other molecules through a resonating wave, creating a cascade of electromagnetic impulses.

This field may also account for some phenomena that modern science finds difficult to explain, for example how the one-dimensional sequence of bases in the genes determines three-dimensional tissues and organs that give the organism its shape and properties. The extremely complex and intricate processes of embryogenesis (the development of an embryo) are most unlikely to be mapped by stable attractors[2] and governed only by genetic information. It is more probable that such a chaotic (meaning ultra-sensitive) dynamic results from an interaction between DNA, environment and the properties of the ‘morphogenetic field’. According to biologist Brian Goodwin, bio-fields are the basic unit of organic form and organisation; molecules and cells are merely ‘units of composition’. And he is not alone:

A considerable amount of experimental work, done by such biologists as H. Spemann, Paul Weiss, and C. H. Waddington, has shown that some of the development that takes place in embryos is controlled by fields, although exactly how this occurs is still uncertain. (Polanyi and Prosch, 1975, p.176)

A very recent research (Tan, et al., 2020) demonstrates the importance of wave patterns for cell division. One of the researchers, Nikta Fakhri, says the waves of proteins moving across the egg’s membrane serve, in part, to organize cell division around the cell’s core: ‘The egg is a huge cell, and these proteins have to work together to find its centre, so that the cell knows where to divide and fold, many times over, to form an organism – without these proteins making waves, there would be no cell division’ (Chu, 2020).

Guiding the development of each organism by its own species-specific morphogenetic resonance could also explain why species always breed true (the morphology of the offspring always corresponds to the morphology of its progenitors). We should recall that species share most of their genetic material (e.g. humans share almost all the DNA with cats, mice and cattle). So the question is not only why one cell becomes a thumb and another a kidney during embryonic development, but why a cat’s embryo always turns into a cat, and a human embryo into a human. It is possible that when an egg is fertilised, a three-dimensional biofield that ‘enfolds’ embryonic cells is formed. As such a blueprint is already three-dimensional, it could potentially contain complete information and form a mould before the cells form a body. This may affect the activation of different sets of genes in different cells – allowing some genes to be expressed while others are suppressed.

In short, the bio-field enables the whole to act upon the parts. This seems to coincide with transpersonal insights too. The spiritual philosopher (with a Christian bent) Rudolf Steiner described the ‘etheric body’ as ‘the principle which calls inorganic matter into life’. For this reason, it is sometimes also called the ‘formative-force-body’.

This concept may also account for an extraordinary re-generation ability of some simple organisms. It appears that the cells are guided by an orientation system that functions even when they are separated from one another. Such a capability diminishes though in higher organisms. This is probably the case because the processes in their organs are less chaotic and seem to lose their sensitivity to the feedback from the field fluctuations. With greater organ specialisation, the intensity and power of the field to act as a blueprint for the body is decreased and the regeneration capacity is largely lost. Such an explanation is in line with the experimental research done by biophysicist Fritz-Albert Popp showing that the more complex the organism, the fewer photons are emitted (McTaggart, 2001, p.50).

Of course, the biofield should not be mistaken for the soul. The biofield is far more intimately related to the body than the soul, it cannot be separated from the body, and probably dissolves after death. Furthermore, the biofield of a new born baby reflects its relative structural simplicity, while the associated soul is, according to Jenny Wade who researched pre-natal consciousness, more complex (1996, chapter 2). However, the non-material aspect of a living organism is likely to communicate with this field rather than the corpuscular body, and such interference (an interaction of two or more waves that results in a new wave pattern) must be reflected in the field. Indeed, this seems to be the case. It is well known, for example, that attention (which is linked to awareness and intent) can have an effect on the biofield. This is further supported by the findings of physicist Renato Nobili (1987), who recognised that the fluid in cells promotes wave patterns that correspond with wave patterns in the brain cortex. If this is correct, the biofield is not just an electro-magnetic field that the body produces. The characteristics of the field depend first of all on the body and environmental factors, but also on the mind and the soul itself, which is why it is apparently possible to distinguish different layers of the aura.

[1] It consisted of separating and mixing up the cells of a salamander embryo. When that mixture was put in a slightly acid solution they would re-form into an embryo.
[2] Equilibrium states or end points into which these process would settle.

We suggested that the soul interacts with the bio-field because waves are the only possible candidate for the connection of such disparate entities. Let’s now consider how this connection is established and maintained.