New Study: Human Hands, Feet and Foreheads Emit Light

Now this is really interesting! New research has found that certain parts of the body emit measurable numbers of photons. This may open up new diagnostic techniques. But that’s just the beginning. Spiritual healers from many different faiths have long said that they experience light coming from their hands, and can feel (and even see) energy from the hands, feet and heads of other people. And of course there’s the classical image of halos around the heads of saints, which can be taken metaphorically, or perhaps literally, in light of this new research. I wonder if the levels of light coming from different people indicates not only health, but perhaps alertness, stress levels, or state of mind. There are many interesting possibilities for this research…

Sept. 6, 2005 — Human hands glow, but fingernails release the
most light, according to a recent study that found all parts of the
hand emit detectable levels of light.

The findings support prior research that suggested most living
things, including plants, release light. Since disease and illness
appear to affect the strength and pattern of the glow, the discovery
might lead to less-invasive ways of diagnosing patients.

Mitsuo Hiramatsu, a scientist at the Central Research Laboratory at
Hamamatsu Photonics in Japan, who led the research, told Discovery News
that the hands are not the only parts of the body that shine light by
releasing photons, or tiny, energized increments of light.

"Not only the hands, but also the forehead and bottoms of our feet
emit photons," Hiramatsu said, and added that in terms of hands "the
presence of photons means that our hands are producing light all of the

The light is invisible to the naked eye, so Hiramatsu and his team used a powerful photon counter to "see"it. 

The detector found that fingernails release 60 photons, fingers
release 40 and the palms are the dimmest of all, with 20 photons

The findings are published in the current Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology

Hiramatsu is not certain why fingernails light up more than the
other parts of the hand, but he said, "It may be because of the optical
window property of fingernails," meaning that the fingernail works
somewhat like a prism to scatter light.

To find out what might be creating the light in the first place, he
and colleague Kimitsugu Nakamura had test subjects hold plastic bottles
full of hot or cold water before their hand photons were measured. The
researchers also pumped nitrogen or oxygen gas into the dark box where
the individuals placed their hands as they were being analyzed.

Warm temperatures increased the release of photons, as did the
introduction of oxygen. Rubbing mineral oil over the hands also
heightened light levels.

Based on those results, the scientists theorize the light "is a
kind of chemiluminescence," a luminescence based on chemical reactions,
such as those that make fireflies glow. The researchers believe 40
percent of the light results from the chemical reaction that constantly
occurs as our hand skin reacts with oxygen.

Since mineral oil, which permeates into the skin, heightens the
light, they also now think 60 percent of the glow may result from
chemical reactions that take place inside the skin.

Fritz-Albert Popp, a leading world expert on biologically related
photons at The International Institute of Biophysics in Germany, agrees
with the findings and was not surprised by them.

Popp told Discovery News, "One may find clear correlations to kind and degree (type and severity) of diseases." 

Popp and his team believe the light from the forehead and the hands
pulses out with the same basic rhythms, but that these pulses become
irregular in unhealthy people. A study he conducted on a muscular
sclerosis patient seemed to validate the theory.

Both he and Hiramatsu hope future studies will reveal more about
human photon emissions, which could lead to medical diagnosis