A biorhythm (from Greek "βιορυθμός" - "biorhuthmos") is a hypothetical cycle in physiological, emotional, or intellectual well-being or prowess. "Bio" pertains to "
life" and " rhythm" pertains to the "flow" with regular movement. Biorhythms theory has no more predictive power than chance, and has been labeled a pseudoscienceby skeptics. cite web|url=http://www.princeton.edu/~ota/disk1/1991/9108_n.html |title=Biological Rhythms: Implications for the Worker |accessdate=2008-02-21 |date=1991-09 |work=OTA-BA-463 Box 2-A pg. 30 |publisher= Office of Technology Assessment"No evidence exists to support the concept of biorhythms; in fact, scientific data refute their existence." ] cite web|url=http://skepdic.com/biorhyth.html |title=Biorhythms |accessdate=2008-02-21 |last=Carroll |first=Robert Todd |work=Skeptic's Dictionary "The theory of biorhythms is a pseudoscientific theory that claims our daily lives are significantly affected by rhythmic cycles overlooked by scientists who study biological rhythms." ]
The theory of biorhythms claims that one's life is affected by rhythmic biological cycles, and seeks to make predictions regarding these cycles and the personal ease of carrying out tasks related to the cycles. These inherent rhythms are said to control or initiate various biological processes and are classically composed of three cyclic rhythms that are said to govern
humanbehavior and demonstrate innate periodicity in natural physiological change: the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual(or mental) cycles. Others claim there are additional rhythms, some of which may be combinations of the three primary cycles. Some proponents think that biorhythms may be potentially related to bioelectricityand its interactions in the body.
Basic rhythms follow certain facets of physiological cycles, though they may include others, and the details may vary depending on the source. The three classical cycles of biorhythms are
endogenous infradianrhythms. The theory's basis lies in physiological and emotional cycles. They are often represented graphically as either symmetric or asymmetric waveforms, though most theories rely on symmetric forms. The most commonly used form is the sinusoidalwaveform, which is thought to be a plausible representation of a bioelectric activity cycle. Due to this sinusoidal nature, the cyclical flow of bioelectric activity undergoes periodic reverses in direction. Each cycle oscillates between a positive phase [0%..100%] and a negative phase [-100%..0%] , during which bioelectric activity strengthens and weakens. The waveforms start, in most theories, at the neutral baseline (0%) at the time of birth of each individual. Each day that the waveform again crosses this baseline is dubbed a "critical day", which means that tasks in the domain of the cycle are far more erratic than on other non-critical days. The purpose of mapping the biorhythmic cycles is to enable the calculation of critical days for performing or avoiding various activities.
The classical definition (derivatives of the original theory exist) states that one's birth is an unfavorable circumstantial event, as is the day about 58 years later when the three cycles are again synchronised at their minimum values. According to the classical definition, the theory is assumed to apply only to
humans. In the classical theory, the value of each cycle can be calculated at any given time in the life of an individual, and there are web sites that do exactly that.
Biorhythmics is either a protoscientific branchFact|date=October 2007 or a
pseudoscience,Fact|date=October 2007 depending on opinion, that studies biorhythms or deal with biorhythms. Biorhythmic study focuses on physiological, emotional, and intellectual processes and its forecasting. Biorhythm phenomena are observable human conditions which can be detailed and explained by biorhythmics. These conditions are bound by the variables that exist in the body. Certain facets of biorhythmics are likened by proponents to concepts found in weather forecasting(commonly known as meteorology). Chronobiologyis a branch of biology that studies rhythms in living beings. Unlike biorhythm, its status as a science is unquestioned.
Biological rhythm cycles
Ultradianare the biological rhythms having extremely short cycles (lasting less than 24 hours).
Circadianare the biological rhythms having a period of about 24 hours (lasting a day).
Infradianare biological rhythms composed of long-term cycles (lasting several days).
Exogenousare cycles influenced by external factors.
Endogenousare cycles not influenced by external changes.
Circatrigintanare cycles that recur every month (around 25-35 days).
Circavigintanare cycles that recur triweekly (around 17-23 days).
Circadiseptanare cyles that occur biweekly (around 12-17 days).
Circannualare cycles that recur every year (around 365 days).
In the workplace, railroads and airlines have experimented the most with biorhythms. A pilot describes the Japanese and American attitudes towards biorhythms. [" [http://web.archive.org/web/20060515212935/godscopilot.com/_life-story-16a_CD.htm A man named Joseph and we knew him not!] ; Interpretation of Biorhythms regarding Flight Operations". ("ed". Anecdotal evidence; pilot describes the Japanese and American attitudes towards biorhythms.)] He acknowledges, researching his pilot logbook, that his greatest errors of judgment occurred during critical days, but concludes that an awareness of one's critical days and paying extra attention is sufficient to ensure safety. A former United Airlines pilot and user of the "Biorhythms for Windows" [Valentas Daniunas, " [http://www.halloran.com/biorhytm.htm Biorhythms for Windows] ; Biorhythms for Windows Pro". Halloran Software, 2005.] program confirms that United Airlines used biorhythms until the mid-1990s, while the
Nippon Expressair freight still used biorhythms.Fact|date=February 2007
Charting biorhythms for personal use was popular in the
United Statesduring the 1970s; many places (especially video arcades and amusement areas) had a biorhythm machine that provided charts upon entry of date of birth.
The classical theory originated at the turn of the 19th century, between 1897 and 1902, from observational research.
Hermann Swoboda, professor of psychology at the University of Vienna, who was researching periodic variations in fevers, looked into the possibility of a rhythmic change in mood and health. He collected data on reaction to pain, outbreak of fevers, illnesses, asthma, heart attacks, and recurrent dreams. He concluded that there was a 23-day physical cycle and a 28-day emotional cycle.Fact|date=September 2007 Wilhelm Fliess, a nose and throat specialist and reportedly a numerologist, was independently researching the occurrences of fevers, recurrent illnesses and deaths in his patients. He too came to the conclusion that there was a 23 and a 28-day rhythm. Fliess' theories were of great interest and importance to Sigmund Freud during his early work in developing his psychoanalytic concepts. Alfred Teltscher, professor of engineering at the University of Innsbruck, observed that his students' good days and bad days followed a rhythmic pattern of 33 days. Teltscher found that the brain's ability to absorb, mental ability, and alertness ran in 33 day cycles. In the 1920s, Dr. Rexford Hersey (psychologist; Pennsylvania, America) also reportedly made contributions to the classical theory.Fact|date=September 2007
These three biorhythms compose the classical theory. The classical theory has been studied, especially in Germany, Japan, and the United States, with conflicting results.Fact|date=February 2007 Various modern derivatives exist of the classical theory.
Proponents of biorhythmics call it an established interdisciplinary area of scientific endeavor which is still speculative - a
protoscience. Critics state that biorhythms are based only upon numerological associations. The plausibility of biorhythmics is contested by mathematicians, biologists and other scientists.Fact|date=August 2007 The most basic assertion is that, even if physiological rhythms do exist, why would they begin precisely on the day of our birth?
Biorhythmics has echoes of
chronobiology, the study of biological rhythms. Through medical research, doctors have found that there are periodic biological cycles in a person's lifespan, such as the circadian rhythm(from Latin "circa diem"; literally, "about a day"), but few doctors believe they correspond to those described as "biorhythms". To proponents, these discoveries (among others) demonstrate that people are affected by physiological, emotional and intellectual rhythms, though the exact relationships to the biorhythm cycles are not precisely understood. Studies regarding the effects of biorhythms on the human condition are still conducted.Fact|date=February 2007
The Biorhythm theory is often treated as falsely claiming scientific validity. Biorhythm critics' responses range from opposing it as harmful to ignoring it or treating it as entertainment. Some of the criticisms of the various theories in the category of biorhythmics are:
* The choices of periodical function,
frequencyand phase are arbitrary.
* The assumption is made that the cycles are the same for everyone.
* The frequency is assumed to be constant.
* Evidence tends to be
* Arguments are made based in ignorance of
* Tests of the hypothesis have basic flaws.
* The quantitative generalizations of complex human behavior are inadequate.
* Hypotheses are not formulated precisely.
* Experimental data fail
* Experiments cannot be replicated.
* Some unscrupulous practitioners resemble professional
Some biorhythm critics say that biorhythms can be thrown off by such occurrences in the calendar as the beginning of the new year, holidays, or something as simple as the start of the week.Fact|date=February 2007
There have been some three dozen studies supporting biorhythm theory but all of them have suffered from methodological and statistical errors. cite journal|title=Comprehensive Review of Biorhythm Theory|journal=Psychological Reports|date=1998|first=Terence|last=Hines|coauthors=|volume=83|issue=|pages=19–64|doi= 10.2466/PR0.83.5.19-64|url=http://ammonsscientific.com/link.php?N=10326|format=pdf (summary)|accessdate=2008-01-13|doi_brokendate=2008-06-25 ] An examination of some 134 biorhythm studies found that the theory is not valid.
The equations for the curves are
* physical: ,
* emotional: ,
* intellectual: ,
* intuitive: ,where indicates the number of days since birth.
External links, references, and resources
* Bartel, Pauline C., "Biorhythm : discovering your natural ups and downs", "An Impact book". ISBN 0-531-01355-3
* Bentley, Evie, "Awareness : biorhythms, sleep, and dreaming". ISBN 0-415-18872-5
* Crawley, Jacyntha, The Biorhythm Kit, UK: ISBN 1-85906-032-3, London Biorhythm Company Limited.
* Edlund, Matthew. "Psychological time and mental illness". 1987. ISBN 0-89876-122-0
* Evans, James R., (ed.) and Manfred Clynes (ed.), "Rhythm in psychological, linguistic, and musical processes". ISBN 0-398-05235-2
* Hodgkins, Zerrin "Biomatch Z". 1998. ISBN 0-9531983-0-8
* Lapointe, Fernand, "Biorythmie : comment prâevoir vos bons et mauvais jours". ISBN 0-88566-029-3
* Roche, James, "Biorhythms at your fingertips". ISBN 0-7137-1562-6
* Thommen, George S., "Is This Your Day". 1973. ISBN 0-517-00742-8
* Debarbieux, Patrick, "l'ABC des biorythmes". 1999. ISBN 2-7339-0615-1
* Hines, T. M., "Comprehensive review of biorhythm theory". Psychology Department, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY. Psychol Rep. 1998 Aug;83(1):19-64. ("ed". concluded that biorhythm theory is not valid.)
* D'Andrea, V. J., D.R. Black, and N. G. Stayrook, "Relation of the Fliess-Swoboda Biorhythm Theory to suicide occurrence". J Nerv Ment Dis. 1984 Aug;172(8):490-4. ("ed". concluded that there was a validity to biorhythm when the innovative methods of the study are put to use.)
* Laxenaire M., and O. Laurent, "What is the current thinking on the biorhythm theory?". Ann Med Psychol (Paris). 1983 Apr;141(4):425-9. [French] ("ed". Biorhythm theory is disregarded by the medical world though it has achieved a bit of fame with the public)
* Wolcott, J. H., R. R. McMeekin, R. E. Burgin, and R. E. Yanowitch, "Correlation of general aviation accidents with the biorhythm theory". Hum Factors. 1977 Jun;19(3):283-93.
* Khalil, T. M., and C. N. Kurucz, "The influence of 'biorhythm' on accident occurrence and performance". Ergonomics. 1977 Jul;20(4):389-98.
* "Biorhythm in gynecology--a renaissance of Fliess' theory of periodicity?". Arch Gynecol. 1979
20 July;228(1-4):642. [German]
* Nijsten, M.W., and S. E.Willemsen, "Accidents a matter of chance? The significance of lunar phases and biorhythms in trauma patients". Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1991
21 December;135(51):2421-4. [Dutch] ("ed". 'critical' biorhythm days were not found to increase the number of accidents experienced by subjects.)
* Hastings, Michael, " [http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/317/7174/1704 The brain, circadian rhythms, and clock genes] ". Clinical review. BMJ 1998;317:1704-1707
* U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, " [http://www.wws.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/byteserv.prl/~ota/disk1/1991/9108_n.html Biological Rhythms: Implications for the Worker] ". U.S. Government Printing Office, September 1991. Washington, DC. OTA-BA-463. NTIS PB92-117589
* Ashikari, M., Higuchi, S., Ishikawa, F., and Tsunetsugu, Y., " [http://www.cam.ac.uk/societies/cujif/abstract/020825.htm Interdisciplinary Symposium on 'Human Beings and Environments': Approaches from Biological Anthropology, Social Anthropology and Developmental Psychology] ". Sunday,
25 August 2002
*"Biorhythm experiment management plan", NASA, Ames Research Center. Moffett Field, 1983.
* "Biological Rhythms and Human Adaptation to the Environment". US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (AMRMC), US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
* Ebert, D., K.P. Ebmeier, T. Rechlin, and W.P. Kaschka, "Biological Rhythms and Behavior", "Advances in Biological Psychiatry". ISSN 0378-7354
* " [http://www.biomatch.com/biorhythms/biomatch-story.asp?page=1 Biorhythms and Relationships The Biomatch Story] "
* " [http://www.londonbiorhythms.com/ Biorhythm references and history] "
* " [http://www.whitestranger.com/biorhythms_vs_horoscopes.htm Biorhythms vs. horoscopes] "
* " [http://www.websciences.org/sltbr/ Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms] "
* " [http://www.srbr.org/ Society for Research on Biological Rhythms] ", publishers of the " [http://www.sagepub.com/journal.aspx?pid=183 Journal of Biological Rhythms] " ( ISSN 0748-7304 )
* " [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9515530/ Study Shows Body Clock Affects Arthritis Pain] "
* Gardner, Martin. "Science: Good, Bad and Bogus", "Fliess, Freud, and Biorhythm". Ch. 11. Prometheus Books, Buffalo, N.Y. 1981. ISBN 0-87975-573-3
* Hines, Terence M., "A comprehensive review of biorhythm theory". Reprinted from: Psychological Reports, August 1998, Psychology Department, Pace University
* [http://skepdic.com/biorhyth.html Skeptic's Dictionary entry]
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Look at other dictionaries:
biorhythm — (n.) also bio rhythm, 1960, from BIO (Cf. bio ) + RHYTHM (Cf. rhythm). Related: Biorhythmic … Etymology dictionary
biorhythm — ► NOUN ▪ a recurring cycle in the physiology or functioning of an organism, such as the daily cycle of sleeping and waking. DERIVATIVES biorhythmic adjective … English terms dictionary
biorhythm — [bī′ō rith΄əm] n. any biological cycle that involves periodic changes in blood pressure, body temperature, etc.: analyzed by some to predict behavior, temperament, etc … English World dictionary
biorhythm — UK [ˈbaɪəʊˌrɪð(ə)m] / US [ˈbaɪoʊˌrɪðəm] noun [countable] Word forms biorhythm : singular biorhythm plural biorhythms biology the pattern of physical processes that happen in someone s body over a period of time … English dictionary
biorhythm — biologiniai ritmai statusas T sritis ekologija ir aplinkotyra apibrėžtis Cikliški paros, sezoniniai biologinių procesų ir reiškinių intensyvumo svyravimai, padedantys organizmams prisitaikyti prie aplinkos pokyčių. atitikmenys: angl. biorhythm… … Ekologijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas
biorhythm — noun Date: 1960 an innately determined rhythmic biological process or function (as sleep behavior); also the internal mechanism that determines such a process or function • biorhythmic adjective … New Collegiate Dictionary
biorhythm — biorhythmic, adj. biorhythmicity /buy oh ridh mis i tee/, n. biorhythmist, biorhythmicist, n. /buy oh ridh euhm/, n. Physiol. an innate periodicity in an organism s physiological processes, as sleep and wake cycles. [1960 65; BIO + RHYTHM] * * * … Universalium
biorhythm — noun a) Any cyclic biological or physiological pattern or activity b) Any of three sinusoidal graphs, normally plotted by computer, having a persons birth date as origin that that are supposed to give meaningful information … Wiktionary
biorhythm — A biologically inherent cyclic variation or recurrence of an event or state, such as the sleep cycle, circadian rhythms, or periodic diseases. [bio + G. rhythmos, rhythm] * * * … Medical dictionary
biorhythm — Synonyms and related words: anima, animating force, atman, bathmism, beating heart, biological clock, blood, breath, breath of life, divine breath, divine spark, elan vital, essence of life, force of life, growth force, heart, heartbeat,… … Moby Thesaurus