Discuss conspiracies, mysteries and paranormal phenomena.
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http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2002 ... tummo.html
This link leads to an article about a medical researcher at Harvard who has studied Tibetan monks who can substantially increase their body temperatures through an advanced method of Tibetan meditation called "Tummo".
This article triggered my interest in Tibetan Buddhism. I'd like to believe in the paranormal, but so many things are pure B.S. This is an example of something real that has been documented by credible scientists.
Tummo is the first of the techniques generally referred to as "The Six Yogas of Naropa". If anybody knows what the human body is truly capable of, the Tibetans do. Their whole culture has been totally focused on religion and meditation for hundreds of years.
Here is a response to this article from a skeptic on my paranormal list:
"On Wed, 12 Mar 2008, Winston Wu wondrously revealed:
- Show quoted text -
}This link leads to an article about a medical researcher at Harvard who has
}studied Tibetan monks who can substantially increase their body temperatures
}through an advanced method of Tibetan meditation called "Tummo".
}This article triggered my interest in Tibetan Buddhism. I'd like to believe
}in the paranormal, but so many things are pure B.S. This is an example of
}something real that has been documented by credible scientists.
}Tummo is the first of the techniques generally referred to as "The Six Yogas
}of Naropa". If anybody knows what the human body is truly capable of, the
}Tibetans do. Their whole culture has been totally focused on religion and
}meditation for hundreds of years.
Alexandra David-Neel discusses /g Tum-mo/ in her 1932 book "Magic and Mystery
Herbert Benson receives most of his funding for this research from the
Templeton foundation, a religious think-tank that has been attempting
(unsuccessfully) to prove the efficacy of prayer for some time now.
The article you cite is a media release, and not a peer-reviewed research
paper, however Benson published at least two such papers in 1982:
-- Benson H, Lehmann JW, Malhotra MS, Goldman RF, Hopkins J, Epstein MD. Body
temperature changes during the practice of g tum-mo (heat) yoga.
-- Benson H. Body temperature changes during the practice of g Tum-mo yoga.
(Matters Arising) Nature 1982;298:402.
I read these articles years ago when I was doing my own research on brain
states. The controls on Benson's experiments were weak, and there were a
great number of things that should have been measured, but weren't.
What he did /not/ find was monks that "can substantially increase their body
temperatures". If you read the Harvard Gazette article carefully you will
see that he reports the same thing as in the 1982 paper: that some monks
were able to raise the temperature of their -fingers- and -toes-. There is
no mention of core body temperature.
Moving heat from one part of the body to another has been documented elsewhere
(I learned to raise the temperature of my hands myself, using biofeedback).
This is a far cry from increasing the -body- temperature.
What these monks do seem to be able to do is to supress their body's natural
reaction to cold (shivering), possibly by maintaining vasodilation in the skin
through conscious effort. While this is an impressive display of willpower and
discipline, there's nothing paranormal about it. Drying wet cloth with body
heat is not unusual: thousands of hikers and campers do it every day.
In the article, Herbert projects experiments to be done in 2003, but I've not
seen any further reports from him. It would be interesting to see what sort of
followup data he's been able to obtain, and if he's actually tried to do core
temperature measurements yet.
Well, even if nothing paranormal is involved, I still find Tibetan meditation techniques fascinating and I'd like to learn them from a qualified Tibetan lama someday. Even if the monks don't do anything miraculous externally, their internal experiences during these meditations are supposed to be quite euphoric and blissful as they visualize their energy merging with a Tibetan deity's.
There's a Dutch man named Wim Hof who used Tummo to break the world record for the longest ice bath. He immersed himself in icecubes (except for his head) for 1 hour and 12 minutes. I think this would imply that Tummo raises core body temperature as well.
I have also read numerous accounts of Tibetan monks who practice
Tummo sleeping outside in cold weather wearing only a cotton robe and supposedly suffering no ill effects afterwards (no hypothermia, no frostbite, etc.) Clearly more research needs be done on this technique, but the Tibetans like to keep it secret so it's hard to do.
Wim has a great quote on his website:
"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. "
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