Biorhythm vs. Astrology

waveformMany QC readers — the majority perhaps — are interested in astrology. (I have to confess to being relatively ignorant about it.) So when another predictive theory, biorhythm, came to mind, I knew I would want to post about it.

What is biorhythm? From Wikipedia:

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 human behavior and demonstrate innate periodicity in natural physiological change: the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual (or mental) cycles.

The purpose of mapping the biorhythmic cycles is to enable the calculation of critical days for performing or avoiding various activities.

Charting biorhythms for personal use was popular in the United States during the 1970s; many places (especially video arcades and amusement areas) had a biorhythm machine that provided charts upon entry of date of birth.

Indeed, I recall being captivated — in what was likely the ’70s — by a Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday magazine cover story on biorhythm.

The article described the three cycles:

  • physical — 23 days long, encompassing coordination, strength, well-being, etc.
  • emotional — 28 days long, encompassing creativity, sensitivity, mood, perception, awareness, etc.
  • intellectual — 33 days long, encompassing alertness, analytical functioning, logical analysis, memory or recall, communication, etc.

A biorhythm chart is analogous to a horoscope. In a biorhythm chart each cycle is graphically represented by a waveform plotted across time. Each cycle oscillates between a positive phase and a negative phase. The critical days occur when the waveform crosses the neutral baseline, which is determined by the date of birth.

Dmitry Konovalov of the White Stranger Group compares biorhythm charts and horoscopes. This article is biased in favor of biorhythm, and there is a good reason for that: White Stranger Group offers Natural Biorhythms, a shareware biorhythm calculator application for Windows. The application is advertised to “help you become more successful in everything you do.”

My impressions of biorhythm:

  • The concept of the three cycles appeals to me intuitively.
  • I like that biorhythm has echoes of chronobiology, which is the scientific study of biological rhythm such as the roughly 24 hour circadian rhythm cycle.
  • I like the mathematical aspects.
  • I have a harder time with the concept of critical days. I would think critical days would be when all three cycles are near or at their high or low points rather than when they cross the baseline.

Here is the question about biorhythm most frequently raised by the scientific community: Even if biorhythm cycles exist, why would they begin precisely on the day of our birth?

There is consensus that both biorhythm — and for that matter, astrology — are pseudoscience theories:

A pseudoscience theory is a claimed description of physical laws which “purports to be scientific or supported by science but which is judged to fall outside the domain of science.”

Still, I think it might be fun to see biorhythm charts for myself, family members, and perhaps, friends. If I make some time to try out the Natural Biorhythms shareware, I’ll post my chart here at QC along with a bit of analysis.

If you want to see your own charts and you don’t want to go to the trouble of installing Natural Biorhythms or you’re not a Windows user, Google “biorhythm charts” for links to online biorhythm calculators. Should you find any you particularly like, please post links to them in the comments.

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2 comments so far

  1. Gina on

    A “majority” of QC readers? Like 2 out of 3? (I’m just kidding..)

    I remember many years ago, when I was like in the single-digits, there were biorhythm vending machines in restaurants and rest stops…. for a dollar or so, you could get your personal reading for a month spit out on a card. I thought it was pretty cool.

    I think a great topic of discussion would be the appropriate context in which to use tools such as these… how much are we really under the influence of the cosmos, or our cycles? Hmm.. I think I’ll write my next blog about this.. hey thanks!

  2. QC on

    @Gina:
    Ouch — the truth hurts. You were kidding but it just so happens 2 out of 3 readers is spot on. Well, you gotta start somewhere. I look at it this way. Today there was a 50% increase in my readership. Now if I can only keep that up …

    I agree you’ve come up with an intriguing topic for your next blog post.. hey you’re welcome!


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