February 27, 2008

Falun Gong in Wellington and Tum-mo Everywhere

Falun Gong defies the government... the city council of Wellington, New Zealand, that is.

Tum-mo and your mind/body:

In a monastery in northern India, Tibetan monks sat quietly in a room, deep in meditation. Although the room was a chilly 39˚ F, the men - using a yoga technique known as Tum-mo - were scarcely clothed, but seemed unaffected by the cold. Nearby, other monks soaked large sheets in freezing cold water and placed them on the shoulders of the meditators. Within an hour, the sheets were dry.

Scientists who have studied the monks - some of whom were capable of raising the temperature of their fingers and toes by 17˚ F - have yet to determine how the meditative process was able to generate so much heat. But they agree about one thing - the mind can manipulate the body in to doing quite unexpected things. Can we train it to better control our bodies when they are cold, injured or under stress?

Herbert Benson, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston believes so. He has developed a "relaxation response" which he describes as "a physiological opposite to stress". It can produce changes in metabolism; breathing rate, heart rate and thermoregulation, and Benson's team have used it to treat anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, excessive anger, insomnia and even fertility problems. "I want to investigate what advanced forms of meditation can do to help the mind control physical processes once thought to be uncontrollable", he says.

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Jana's picture

Bertus good points..True meditatiors of faith do not worry about petty tricks, they do their best to improve their spirit mind heart and then body naturally heals..Also monks of the past have been taught to meditate in a trance . Then who is practising? You must be present and activiley aware for you to achieve true results.

Bertus!'s picture

This bit about training your mind to increase the temperature in your toes etc. is interesting, but it surely begs a why-question. Some traditions portray the Buddha as refusing to do tricks of that sort because he thought them to be contraproductive to the aims of mediation. Maybe learning to live with the temperature of your toes irrespective of what it is, is a greater challenge than thermoregulation through meditation . . . Just a thought.