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Letters to Nature
Nature 295, 234 - 236 (21 January 1982); doi:10.1038/295234a0

Body temperature changes during the practice of g Tum-mo yoga

Herbert Benson*, John W. Lehmann*, M. S. Malhotra, Ralph F. Goldman, Jeffrey Hopkins§ & Mark D. Epstein

*Division of Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Harvard Thorndike Laboratory, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, Patiala 147001, India
US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Massachusetts 01760, USA
§Center for South Asian Studies, Cocke Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903, USA
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

Since meditative practices are associated with changes that are consistent with decreased activity of the sympathetic nervous system1–7, it is conceivable that measurable body temperature changes accompany advanced meditative states. With the help of H.H. the Dalai Lama, we have investigated such a possibility on three practitioners of the advanced Tibetan Buddhist meditational practice known as g Tum-mo (heat) yoga living in Upper Dharamsala, India. We report here that in a study performed there in February 1981, we found that these subjects exhibited the capacity to increase the temperature of their fingers and toes by as much as 8.3°C.

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