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Meditation Can Warm You Up

Update Date: Apr 09, 2013 04:13 PM EDT

Meditation can increase your core body temperature, according to researchers studying ancient Tibetan techniques.

Scientists in Singapore said the discovery means the brain has the ability to control core body temperature, which could have major implications for people working in extreme temperature environments.

The research, conducted by a team at the National University of Singapore, found that g-tummo meditation is actually used by Tibetan nuns to increase their core body temperature. Previous research on the meditation technique has shown that meditators were able to increase the body temperature in their fingers and toes.

Researchers collected data during a unique ceremony in Tibet in which nun raised their core body temperature in order to dry wet sheets which were wrapped around their bodies in -25 degrees Celsius (or -13 degrees Fahrenheit).

The scientists used electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and temperature measures to observe increases in core body temperature. The nuns measured to warm up to 38.3 degree Celsius (101 degrees Fahrenheit) - normal body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Western participants were incorporated into the study by using a breathing technique of the g-tummo meditative practice. They were also able to increase their core body temperature, proving that the techniques could be used by non-medidators to regulate their body temperature through breathing and mental imagery. This would allow them to adept to cold in order to function and perform better.

G-tummo meditation combines the aspects of 'vase breath' and concentrative visualization. A 'vase breath' is a breathing technique which causes thermogenesis, a process of heat production. While concentrative visualization requires focusing on a mental image of flames along the spinal cord, which serves to prevent heat losses.

By combining these two techniques, a person is able to elevate their core body temperature to the level of moderate fever. Participants who learned the technique reported feeling energized and focused.

Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov from the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore, said: 'Practicing "vase breathing" alone is a safe technique to regulate core body temperature in a normal range. The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE

This article was adapted from

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