Reprinted from: Frontier Perspectives, Center for Frontier Sciences at Temple University, Vo. X, No. 2, Fall, 2001.


The Biophysics of the Vascular Autonomic Signal and Healing

John M. Ackerman, M.D.,



This article will serve to highlight part of the subtle energy research initiated by orthopedic surgeon, Joseph H. Navach, M.D. His work focused on a dermal-vascular reflex, the Vascular Autonomic Signal (VAS) which even to the present physiologically is undocumented in the research literature. For fifty years this reflex has been manually and clinically utilized by thousands of physicians around the world as part of their auricular acupuncture and auriculomedicine supplemental work to traditional Internal Medicine. The information in this article will highlight the hypothesized biophoton/molecular/physiologic aspects of the VAS, its clinical utilization and a Dopplar documentation of its arterial manifestation. The Dopplar recordings seem to provide objective evidence of a person's state of health and/or illness at any moment in time and what traditional and/or complimentary medicine/remedies might be useful. If mechanized, a new, inexpensive, non-invasive diagnostic technology may evolve.

The Vascular Autonomic Signal – Physiology and Biophysics

The VAS is a reflex. It is initiated by any stimulus inside or outside a human or animal. An outside stimulus can be present in the immediate external environment of the subject without touching the subject. When a stimulus is present, one of the first physiological responses in the subject is an instantaneous change in the tone of the wall of all arteries. In therapeutic situations, clinicians hold samples of medication, nutrients, herbs, etc. near to but not touching a patient's head while simultaneously palpating the wall of the patient's radial artery. Specific timed tonal changes of the vascular wall quickly provide the clinician with additional information regarding which therapeutic substance(s) to utilize. This can be extremely valuable in situations such as wartime, natural disasters, rural territory and third world countries. For example, the selection of the proper antibiotic for an infectious crisis prior to the completion of a microbe culture can provide at any moment in time more concrete information to a clinician beside the use of medical history and knowledge of a community's microbial endemic situation. Or, for an acute psychiatric crisis where agitation is the main challenge, should a clinician begin with an antidepressant; and, if so, which one? Or, should the clinician initiate treatment with medication for anxiety, psychosis or severe hyperactivity?

Few physicians in the U.S.A. know about the uses of the VAS. However, Navach did and he became fascinated with the manual auriculomedicine techniques, recognizing their usefulness in combination with traditional medicine, foreseeing their potential applicability to medicine in the future. Navach believed that the VAS should be considered as a guide regarding the status of homeostasis. Navach was convinced that homeostasis is governed by a coordinated effect between the central nervous system (particularly the anterior hypothalamus), the endocrine system, the immune system and the autonomic nervous system. 1,2

Navach demonstrated responses in primitive phylum (Platyhelminthes and family Trematoda) to acetylcholine and adrenalin. The behavioral responses to acetylcholine and then to adrenalin (quite different from acetylcholine) were identical both by direct contact with the worms and also by indirect stimulation via the drug's electromagnetic resonance.3 The resonance aspect of this experiment was demonstrated with acetylcholine and adrenalin hermetically sealed in an empty glass ampule. One of these ampules was placed in double-blind fashion into a dry plastic well. The ampule was masked by a black Teflon container. The plastic well was either used as is, or lined with a 1 mm lead wrap, or a 4 mm lead wrap, or a solid aluminum wrap, or a copper screen grounded to a water pipe. The grounded copper screen permitted photo emission, but not radio frequency emission.

Outside of the plastic well was a plastic plate in which were placed Platyhelminthes, moistened with 5% dextrose solution. The distance from the periphery of the well into the field of the Platyhelminthes was graduated in millimeters.

Results indicated that response by the Platyhelminthes was diminished by 30% when samples were wrapped in 1 mm lead wrap and totally eliminated by a 4 mm lead wrap. Samples wrapped in solid aluminum showed a 20% increase in Platyhelminthes response. Stimuli wrapped in copper screen without grounding showed a 50% increase in Platyhelminthes response. Ampules containing acetylcholine and adrenalin wrapped in grounded copper screen totally eliminated the response by the Platyhelminthes.

In 1982 Navach did research with lasers and flatworms.4 Here he described how different wave bands and on-off frequencies of a laser stimulate behavioral responses identical to adenergic or cholinergic direct or indirect stimulation. These results could also be obtained by stimulating with different stimuli such as electric fields, magnetic fields, propagative electromagnetic fields, and white light passed through Kodak-Wratten filters 44A (adrenergic) and 25 (cholinergic). Other research utilized mice and rats.5

Related Research – Nature and Molecular Biophysics

All organic and inorganic compounds have inherent electromagnetic resonance. 6,7,8 The inherent resonance is the compound’s unique electromagnetic signature or signal. Chemical compounds absorb electrical, electromagnetic, and magnetic energy by altering their molecular and atomic geometry. As the molecule relaxes the alterations in geometry return to their normal configuration. The compounds then emit multiple radio frequencies of their own characteristics plus heat of specific infrared frequencies. 6,7

Popp documented that vegetable cells gave off very low levels of light.9 Growing cells radiated more intensively than fully developed cells. In another study by the same investigator, levels of light illumination found emerging from normal liver tissue were quite different from those of cancerous liver tissue.10,11

Birds use the earth’s magnetic field for general orientation on long migratory flights.12 Research on the antennae of moths records the existence of electromagnetic receptors. They make contact with the female’s near infrared-red emissions from molecules of scent at distances as far as one mile. The exact infrared wave length has even been documented.13

In Russia, a project demonstrated that one hermetically sealed contaminated tissue culture can have lethal influence over a separate hermetically sealed healthy tissue culture.14


Navach claimed he identified and isolated special compounds, which he labeled "neurohormones". Among other anatomic sites they reside in acupuncture points and have the capacity to oscillate when induced by stimulation either by physical contact such as massage or an acupuncture needle or even at a distance with the use of a laser beam or by an object held close to but not touching the ear. *1,2 Navach documented that a single neurohormone cluster in the mammalian body may be induced to resonate by an outside electromagnetic source.15

* The question was raised whether animate or inanimate objects when held near to but not touching the ear emit an electromagnetic signature which then stimulates Navach's compounds in the ear to begin the VAS reflex and/or the ear emits biophotons in sonar fashion when an object is held near to but not touching the ear. Subsequently, Navach compounds in the ear receive emissions and/or reflected feedback from that object. 16

Navach believed that the VAS, descriptively, can be explained in the following manner: information is picked up from outside the body or from within the body induced by an energy source with either the same frequency or a frequency which is harmonic with one or more neurohormones. Any energy source, be it static or dynamic, will induce a change in the native resonant frequencies of one or more neurohormones or neurohormone clusters. Navach hypothesized that neurohormones are the chemical foundation of the transfer of electromagentic information.

Navach believed that neurohormones in acupuncture points, when induced to resonate, in turn may cause other identical neurohormones along their meridian more proximal to the brain to resonate. Thus, information can be rapidly transferred along a system of radio frequency relays. He found that each relay amplifies the power of transmission by a factor of 4. The oscillation of, for example, compound A in a peripheral acupuncture point of a meridian induces oscillation of the same compound in the next more proximal point, and so on. The information contained in the oscillations passed on the by acupuncture point relay system reaches the thalamus, an information exchange center in the brain and then onto the cerebral cortex and the autonomic nervous system via additional relay systems. Once the information connects with the sympathetic nervous system which in turn controls the tone of the radial artery wall, the VAS reflex is completed.

Navach speculated that moth antennae receive information in a fashion similar to neurohormones. The neurohormone clusters, he believed, act as a retinyl Shiff salt. Shiff salts are also affected by transient electric fields developed in collagen during deformation. This piezo electric property of connective tissue and bone has been demonstrated by many researchers since the 1950’s. 17,18

Navach planted electrodes in cat brains and evaluated the VAS while stimulating the electrodes electronically. It was in these experiments that he learned which parts of the brain are responsible for which aspects of the VAS response.19 The areas responsible for producing changes in the VAS appear to be the antero-ventro lateral thalamic nuclei (parasympathetic tone) and the inferior posterolateral thalamic nuclei (sympathetic tone). He found that many peripheral neurohormone clusters that resonate eventually set up an electromagnetic resonant area in the cerebral cortex. That area, in turn, reacts through a series of 1-6 relays with a thalamic area and specific areas adjacent to it (Figures 1 and 2). The electromagnetic loop lies between associated cortical areas and the thalamus. Navach learned that there are an average of three such relays between the cerebral cortex and the thalamus.

Navach also documented that information received by the neurohormones peripherally can be relayed to the sympathetic system by similar resonating areas. A positive VAS can be generated when the ventral posteromedial (arcuate) nucleus is electrically stimulated. A negative VAS is produced when the medial nuclei are electrically stimulated. The two areas seem to be controlled by the anterior inferior portion of the hypothalamus which responds to electrical stimulation of specific frequencies. These are the eighth harmonic (1248 Hz) in 50% duty cycles of fourteen different repetition rates. An antenna can be inserted into this area and stimulated with a radio frequency generator with a carrier frequency of 19456 Hz interrupted by the same fourteen different interruption cycles. At the time that Navach wrote about this, experiments were planned using different trains of interruption patterns on dogs, horses and monkeys.

Neurohormones and Healing

Navach utilized histochemical and magnetochemical investigative techniques to demonstrate that clusters of neurohormones are present at acupuncture points in the ear, face, scalp, body, limbs, digits, periosteum and deep fascia. He also found the compounds on the deep surface of epithelial basement membrane, on the surface of melanocytes of the dermis, in the pia mater of the ventral surface of the medulla oblongata and in the pigmented tissue of the choroid of the eye. They were not found in nivae, melanomas, or lentigenes. It was not determined whether neurohormones are not attracted to these latter three areas or if they are more rapidly consumed in these areas. Neurohormones were found on sheaths of all naturally electroconductive tissues especially at the interface of axon membranes and Schwann cells.

Navach found that the active component of approximately one-half of these compounds (identified through 1987) contains a five member benzine ring in linear array resembling the compound, Pentosene (Figure 3). All of the neurohormones identified have aromatic (benzine ring) biochemical components (Figure 4).

Although these neurohormones have not been demonstrated in non-vertebrate animals, some type of electromagnetically sensitive and photon sensitive chemical receptors appear to be present in lower phylum such as Platyhelminthes.20,21 Platyhelminthes do respond to radio wave frequencies but are very different from those to which mammals respond. Platyhelminthes and mammals also respond to hermetically sealed adrenalin and acetylcholine. One may deduce that chemicals with a function similar to neurohormones exist in Platyhelminthes.

Navach found that neurohormones do not change as one goes up the evolutionary divisions of the vertebrate phylum but the number of varieties increase. The sequence of receptor sites in any one phylum seems to serve as a primitive neurological system. Amphibians such as salamanders only have three of the twenty-four neurohormones identified in mammals as of December, 1987.

All mammalians tested demonstrated at least one neurohormone of each class so far identified. Those tested were rodents, rabbits, dogs, cats, horses, sheep and cattle. Determination of neurohormones in humans had been both indirect using auricular medicine techniques and direct from cerebral spinal fluid, serum and lymph fluids as well as fresh non-pathological biopsies of peripheral tissues.15 Navach believed that more direct determinations needed to be done, especially within the central nervous system (CNS).

It was Navach's contention that the general function of neurohormones is to initiate healing and to guide the process of healing as it evolves.22 Navach found that resonating neurohormones in collagen facilitate healing. This can be demonstrated by the role they play in the proliferation of mature collagen.20 Mature collagen is well organized polymers of collagen fabric interspersed with the optimum number of cellular components. He found that neurohormones are as indispensable to this system as are the five growth hormone factors. 23

Navach found that proliferation of neurohormones can be demonstrated at the site of injury repair, i.e. mature collagen production in an otherwise fully developed vertebrate.24,25, 26 The current of injury occurs because of cellular death and destruction of the integrity of inter and intra-cellular substances. The electric field produced by the current of injury occurs in a location where there already exist both a dielectric field and an asymmetrical dipolar magnetic field. The dominant source of these native fields is the connective tissue matrix of the organ or body part in question. The current of injury is biphasic over time and dampens as time progresses. The dampening occurs because of the removal of these denatured substances. Initially, the current of injury causes activation of certain neurohormones resident prior to the injury at the site of injury.

Navach also believed that neurohormone compounds (at the cellular level) speed the overall healing process by accelerating the impact of DNA on messenger RNA.** He demonstrated that profusing a tissue invivo with purified neurohormone extract leads to an increased production of messenger RNA by that tissue. No change in the production of DNA or other types of RNA could be documented. These findings at the time of this research had not yet been duplicated in tissue culture.25

Navach found that because of increased messenger RNA, the activation of one subset of neurohormones causes an increase of certain enzyme systems within the proliferating cells in the repair process. As the current of injury fluctuates, other resident neurohormones are activated and in turn activate other enzymatic systems helping to direct the maturation of the

proliferating cells. As maturation occurs, the appropriate intercellular substances are produced and a healing scar is formed. As the neurohormones are utilized they are replaced by new generations of the same neurohormone, brought to the site by transport polypeptides. 26

**It is hypothesized that the presence of such compounds may increase the degree of coherence of DNA biophoton emission. 16

Navach found that infrared bands are capable of producing the healing effect facilitated by neurohormones.20, 21, 27 Such narrow near infrared wave bands can be produced by a light emitting diode capable of producing laser energy.20 In general, this sensitivity of photoelectric substances to photoelectric effects of monochromatic light requires very little energy.

Projects to Complete Navach’s Research

Navach believed that the VAS can be used to measure homeostasis mechanisms such as resistance to illness potential and recovery potential.28 Even if a person is ill, he found that one will have a resting VAS that is relative to one's state of balance at the time. * Navach in the mid-80's quantitatively documented such data by recording over the radial artery using infrared reflection and three types of ultrasound: continuous wave form, Dopplar and set angle reflection. A videotape on-line recording of several acute clinical cases demonstrates what possibilities might be available for future patients with new technology based on the above.1,2,29

*Other researchers are now looking at microinformation of the arterial pulse wave.30,31

To validate Navach's findings and complete much of his research, the author is serving as Director of the International Joseph H. Navach Project, Human Energy Systems Laboratory, University of Arizona-Tucson. Some of the research objectives of the Project are:

1) Document the phenomenon that humans without the use of their usual senses (vision, hearing, taste, etc.) are aware with intent and/or without intent of objects in the external environment close to but not touching them;

2) Document that humans clinically, in manual fashion, when utilizing the VAS can with intent discriminate whether or not a specific medication would be therapeutic for any one patient with a particular illness at any moment in the progression of the illness;

3) Complete the objective, operator independent physiologic recording of the VAS;

4) Demonstrate that the objective, operator independent recording of the VAS can be clinically utilized to discriminate whether or not a specific medication would be therapeutic for any one patient with a particular illness at any specific moment in the progression of the illness; then, develop such non-invasive technology;

5) Validate the existence of the heretofore unidentified compounds that Navach claimed he isolated;

6) Document the physiology, biochemistry and biophysics of the VAS;

7) Tie the above information to research being done in cellular communication and parapsychology;

8) Compare the VAS with the discriminating capacity of other subtle energy diagnostic techniques such as kinesiology, the Vega, the Voll, the pendulum, etc.;

9) Clinically prove with large, multi-center populations the effective application of the manual and automated VAS in:

(a) preventative medicine and public health

(b) clinical medicine

(c) plants, agriculture and environment; for example, identifying which nutrients are missing in a particular soil. This requires specialized diagnostic procedures.

(d) utilization of the VAS to accelerate pharmacologic research

(e) veterinary medicine. The VAS can be utilized to evaluate animals in just as effective a way as in humans. This requires specialized diagnostic procedures.


Members of the Advisory Board are:





Gary E.R. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Human Energy Systems Laboratory

Linda G.S. Russek, Ph.D.

Co-Director, Human Energy Systems Laboratory

Iris R. Bell

Director, Research Program in Integrative Medicine; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Family Practice

Beverly A. Navach, M.D.

Previous research collaborator with Joseph H. Navach, M.D.

Ruth W. Ackerman, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, Past-President; Founder, Project Recovery, Santa Barbara, California

Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D.

Psychiatrist; author of Textbook On Nutritional Medicine, 1999

Anita Cignolini, M.D.

Professor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture; Guest Faculty, U.S.C., School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine

William A. Tiller, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Standford University

Roeland van Wijk, Ph.D.

Chair, Research Unit for Complementary Medicine, Department of Molecular Cell Biology, State University of Utrecht, The Netherlands; Vice-President, German Institute of Bio-Photon Research, Neuss, Germany

Beverly Rubik, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland, California; Alternative Medicine Program Advisory Council, National Institute of Health

Richard Hammerschlag, Ph.D.

Director of Research, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine



People desiring more information and/or wishing to contribute to the research project, please contact the Director, John M. Ackerman, M.D., at 2417 Castillo Street, Santa Barbara, California 93105; telephone 805-682-1011; FAX 805-969-6051; e-mail:



1. Ackerman, J. M. (1989). The Biophysics of the VAS published in The Proceedings of Energy Fields in Medicine: A Study of Device Technology Based on Acupuncture Meridians and Chi Energy, published by the John E. Fetzer Foundation, pages 123-136.

2. Ackerman J. M. (Part I: February, 1998, Issue No. 2, pp. 5-22; Part II: January, 1999, Issue No. 1, pp. 3-11), The biophysics of the VAS: its relationship to healing. COHERENCE - International Journal of Integrated Medicine.

3. Navach, J. H. Biological Models of Electromagnetic Transmission of Information. International Congress of Acupuncture and Applied Techniques, Sorrento, Italy, September 10, 1982. Not published due to premature death of author.

4. Navach, J. H. Biological Model of 902 Nanometer 'Soft-Laser' Tissue Penetration, Tissue Reaction Relative to Exposure Time, Scatter in Tissue, and the Shielding Effect of Various Materials. International Congress of Acupuncture and Applied Techniques, Sorrento, Italy, September 12, 1982.

5. Navach, J. H. Animal Models Demonstrating Electromagnetic Effects Upon Vertebrate Animals Utilizing Rodents. International Congress of Acupuncture and Applied Techniques, Sorrento, Italy, September 10, 1982.

6. Masnovi, J., Koholic, D.J., and Birki, R. (1987). Reductive clevage sulfonate deprotection of carbohydrates to sylates by photo-induced electron transfer. Journal of American Chemical Society,109(9).

7. Noller, Carl R. (1957). Chemistry of Organic Compounds, 2nd Edition. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders and Co., Chapter 30, pp. 657-679.

8. Popp, Becker, Konig, Peshka. Electromagnetic Bio-Information. Proceedings of the Symposium, Marburg September 5, 1977, Urban and Schwarzenberg, 1979.

9. Popp, Fritz-Albert. (1985). Living cells emit light. Cell Biophysics, 6(1), 33-51.

10. Editors: Ho, M-W., Popp, F-A., and Warnke, U. (1994). Bioelectric Dynamics and Biocommunication. River Edge, NJ: World Scientific Publishing Company.

11. Popp, Fritz-Albert. Presentation regarding research in ultra-weak illuminance from living systems and research involved in measuring the storage and emissions of photons in biological systems. World Research Foundation Congress of Bio-Energetic Medicine, Los Angeles, California, November 9, 1986.

12. Davis, L. (1986). Homing in on animal magnetism. Science News,130(8),117.

13. Callahan, P.S. (1975). Tuning into Nature: Solar Energy, Infrared radiation and the Insect Communication System. Old Greenwich, CT: The Devin-Adair Company.

14. Kaznacheyev, V. P., et al. (1974). Apparent Information Transfer Between Two Groups of Cells. Psychoenergetic Syestems,1(1), 37.

15. Navach, J. H. Histochemical and Magnetic Chemistry Investigation of Basement Membrane Collagen. Not published due to premature death of author.

16. Popp, Fritz-Albert, Van Wijk, Roeland, and Ackerman, John M. Personal communication, May 25, 2001.

17. Allen, M.J. and Usherwood, P.N.R. (1984). Charge and Field Effects in Biosystems. United Kingdom: Abacus Press.

18. Brighton, C.T., Block, J., and Pollack, S.R. (1979).Electrical Properities of Bone and Cartilage, Experimental Effects and Clinical Applications. New York, NY: Grune and Stratton.

19. Navach, J. H. Enhancement of Cerebellar Implanted Electrodes in the Treatment of Athetoid and Spastic Cerebral Palsy in Amino Acid and Vitamin Supplementation. Not published due to premature death of author.

20. Navach , J. H. Invitro Effects of Various Types and Strengths of Electromagnetic Fields on Collagen. Not published due to premature death of author.

21. Navach, J.H. Invitro Effects of Various Types and Strengths of Electromagnetic Fields on Different Tissue Cultures. Not published due to premature death of author.

22. Navach, J.H. Efficacy Comparison of Electromagnetic and Infrared Stimulation Alone n the Treatment of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Versus Treatment With Amino Acid and Vitamin Supplementation Alone and in the Integration of Both Techniques. Not published due to premature death of author.

23. Navach, J.H. Alterations of Collagen Fibrils in Immunologically Altered Vertebrates Correlated With HLA Phenotype. Not published due to premature death of author.

24. Navach, J. H. Accelerated Healing of Surgical Fractures in Cattle by Electromagnetic Stimulation. Not published due to premature death of author.

25. Navach, J. H. Accumulation of Electromagnetically Sensitive Organic Compounds at Sites of Surgical Injury. Not published due to premature death of author.

26. Navach, J. H. Accumulation of Similar Electromagnetically Sensitive Organic Compounds in Neural and Non-Neural Tissues. Not published due to premature death of author.

27. Weisburd, Stefi. (1984). DNA Helix Found To Oscillate In Resonance With Microwaves. Science News,125(16), 248.

28. Navach, J. H. Clinical Correlation of the Vascular Autonomic System Pulse. First International Congress on Acupuncture and Auricular Medicine , Mallorca,Spain, September 20, 1980.

29. Kenyon, Julian N. (1983). "Auricular Medicine: The Auricular Cardiac Reflex." and Appendix I. MODERN TECHNIQUES OF ACUPUNCTURE, VOL.II. Thorsons, New York, New York, pp. 82-96 and 191-195.

30 Patel, Narayan G., Ph.D., coordinator of special ayurveda projects: in search of medicinal plants, radial pulse evaluation, scholarly exchanges with ayurvedic teachers and physicians, collaborator with educational organizations and universities: private communication with Dr. Patel.

31. Pauca, A. and Jiang, X. (2001). Pulse wave analysis. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 51, 507-522.