Singapore: Feeling cold? Try meditation!
Meditation can make you feel warmer, a new study conducted in Tibet suggests, which found the core body temperature can be controlled by the brain.
Researchers led by Associate Professor Maria Kozhevnikov from the Department of Psychology at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences showed, for the first time, that it is possible for core body temperature to be controlled by the brain.
The scientists found that core body temperature increases can be achieved using certain meditation techniques (g-tummo) which could help in boosting immunity to fight infectious diseases or immunodeficiency.
Published in science journal PLOS ONE, the study documented reliable core body temperature increases for the first time in Tibetan nuns practising g-tummo meditation.
The g-tummo meditative practise controls "inner energy" and is considered by Tibetan practitioners as one of the most sacred spiritual practises in the region, researchers said.
Monasteries maintaining g-tummo traditions are very rare and are mostly located in the remote areas of eastern Tibet.
The researchers collected data during the unique ceremony in Tibet, where nuns were able to raise their core body temperature and dry up wet sheets wrapped around their bodies in the cold Himalayan weather (-25 degree Celsius) while meditating.
Using electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and temperature measures, the team observed increases in core body temperature up to 38.3 degree Celsius.
A second study was conducted with Western participants who used a breathing technique of the g-tummo meditative practise and they were also able to increase their core body temperature, within limits.
The findings showed that specific aspects of the meditation techniques can be used by non-meditators to regulate their body temperature through breathing and mental imagery.
The techniques could potentially allow practitioners to adapt to and function in cold environments, improve resistance to infections, boost cognitive performance by speeding up response time and reduce performance problems associated with decreased body temperature.