A further and very prolonged inquiry on this new basis of observation showed me that oxygen gas in contact with oxygen that has been breathed loses some quality which destroys its power of sustaining natural life. It may be made to resume its activity by treating it with electric discharges; it may be raised to activity by increase of temperature; but without such treatment it is practically inert for vital processes, though a taper will burn in it with the usual brilliancy.
In this deteriorated oxygen I found also that dead organic substances underwent more rapid decomposition.
Still further, I learned that the presence in oxygen gas of various vapors and products of decomposition interfered with the vital action of oxygen in the same way. I have no doubt that every one of those useful narcotic vapors which we employ in order to suspend sensation while painful operations are being performed effects the same change — that, namely, of arresting the vital action of oxygen gas.
Whenever we bring into the air we breathe any agent which reduces the activity of the oxygen, we subject ourselves, though we may not by any sensual perception be conscious of the fact, to an influence which depresses our vitality. By the old this depression seems to be felt Iess severely than might be expected. By the young it is intensely felt, and much of the feebleness of the young in crowded localities is, I believe, due to this special cause of deterioration of air.
Before any conclusions can be reached from this experiment, repetition of this experiment under better controlled conditions is necessary. Currently, the most parsimonious explanation for Richardson’s result is oxygen toxicity. Recent experiments with human volunteers suggest that mammals can be maintained for extended periods without ill effects at oxygen partial pressures < 0.55 atmospheres.5 Oxygen partial pressures above this result in pulmonary toxicity with anatomical changes and decreased ventitory function. The conditions of Richardson’s experiment appear to have exceeded safe oxygen limits.
In order to conduct this experiment, recycled air should be utilized with the total pressure adjusted to maintain the oxygen partial pressure near the normal value of 0.21 atm. Using recycled air, scrubbed of carbon dioxide (and ammonia if closed system) , nitrogen narcosis is expected to not occur until one reaches nitrogen partial pressures of above 3 atm. Consequently, a significant recycle time is available.
Experiments similar to Richardson could be done with mammals contained in closed systems (with air sampling, temperature monitoring and so on) for which gas toxicity effects are ruled out absolutely. In addition, one can visualize similar experiments conducted with terminal patients being artificially maintained by ventilators (would have to compress the gases and separate out some nitrogen to maintain a satisfactory oxygen partial pressure).
Until new experiments are completed, the existence of atonic energy remains outside of established science.
1. Delmont W, Kleitman N. Cyclic variations in EEG readings during sleep and their relation to eye movements, bodily motility and dreaming. Electroenceph Clin Neurophys 1957;9:673-690.
2. Even though disruption of these ultradian cycles for extended periods can cause illness, it is interesting that the same stressor can produce such a wide variety of psychosomatic illness. Apparently as with all mind-body connections, psychosomatic problems are highly individualized expressions of the learned behaviors, belief systems and life experiences of each person which have been encoded in the limbic-hypothalamic system and the subconscious mind.
As I mentioned before, one simple barometer of the BRAC is our shifting nasal dominance patterns. These nasal use patterns are contralaterally associated with similar alterations in cerebral hemispheric dominance. That is, when the left nostril is open the right hemisphere is dominant as demonstrated by an EEG pattern indicative of greater activity and vice versa. In 1981, Debra Werntz found that intentionally altering nasal breathing from one side to the other also changes cerebral dominance. Not only is nasal breathing rhythm useful for accessing hemispheric brain activity, but voluntarily induced changes in airflow between the left and right nostrils could be used to change the locus of activity in the highest levels of the brain.
The work of Werntz et. al. is helpful in explaining the mechanics of how the brain may control hemispheric dominance. It is likely that a central oscillator exists in the limbic-hypothalamic region of the brain controlling vasomotor tone differentials between right and left nasal mucosa and the hemispheres of the brain. This system is seen in the.
Moreover, the results of Werntz’s work suggest that another effective stimulus for controlling cerebral dominance is mechanical stimulation of the olfactory mucosa as shown by comparing EEG tracing for closing the nostril with the finger, taping the entrance to the nares, and using a baseline impregnated cotton plug. The lack of effect using the cotton plug is consistent with a mechanical stimulus since rather severe packing was required to form an air-tight seal. In addition, other experimental research in frogs and mammals demonstrate the direct connection between nostril airflow and EEG dominance of the brain.
It would appear that the whole body goes through the BRAC, or parasympathetic / sympathetic oscillation cycle, while simultaneously going through the left body-right brain/right body-left brain shift.
Additional research over many years has resulted in the following table relating nasal dominance, EEG asymmetry and activity of the autonomic nervous system. The first table concerns activity during waking hours, the second during sleep.
Left Nostril Dominance
Right Hemisphere EEG
Spatial Cognitive Mode
Left Pupil Diameter-max
Urine Electrolyte Conc.-min
Rest or Inactivity
Right Nostril Dominance
Left Hemisphere EEG
Verbal Cognitive Mode
Left Pupil Diameter-min
Urine Electrolyte Conc.-max
Left Nostril Dominant
Right hemisphere EEG
Right Nostril Dominant
Left Hemisphere EEG
The immediate question we ask is, how can we use this to become healthier?
Suppose you have a headache, minor localized pain, a sinus problem, or are somewhat depressed or out of sorts. One technique which may help is to purposely shift your nasal dominance from the present dominant side to the other. One simple method of causing such a change is simply to lie on your side with the clear nostril down. This position will result in the down nostril becoming congested with blood forcing the up nostril to clear. Brain activity will shift to the contralateral side within 5-10 minutes. Lie in this position for another 10-20 minutes and allow your subconscious mind to wonder about the sensory, perceptual, emotional, cognitive and symptomatic shifts taking place automatically. If you record the changing responses between your mind and body they may guide you to solve future problems.
Although I have no hard data, I suspect that some of the changes observed with the Rosicrucian Method of Contact Healing using stimulation of the upper sympathetic ganglions may be due to cerebral dominance changes resulting from vasomotor changes in blood flow to the olfactory mucosa and feedback to the hypothalamus. It is an interesting area of study.
3. Orr W, Hoffman H, Hegge F. Ultradian rhythms in extended performance. Aerospace Med 1974;45:995-1000.
4. Some physicists postulate that even photons have non-zero rest mass, albeit a very small number. See Goldhaber AS, Nieto MM. Terrestrial and extraterrestrial limits on the photon mass. Rev Modern Physics 1971;43(3):277-296.
5. Bove AA, Davis JC. DIVING MEDICINE, WB Saunders, Philadelphia, 1990.