Monday, December 27, 2010

Tibetan Lama's Meditation Cures Gangrene

NYU researchers are studying his brain
John Johnson (Newser, Dec. 26, 2010)

An intriguing story in the Daily Beast about the divide between Eastern and Western medicine: When a Tibetan lama consulted three American doctors about his gangrene, all of them wanted to amputate his leg immediately.

He ignored them and instead followed the advice of his mentor, the Dalai Lama, who told him to meditate.

It took the better part of a year, but the gangrene eventually disappeared. Now a group of doctors at NYU has begun studying the lama's brain as he meditates to see if they can shed light on any possible connections.

The lama is expert at Tsa Lung meditation, whose practitioners visualize a "wind" moving through the body and removing impurities, writes Maureen Seaberg.

A medical anthropologist involved in the study writes: "Research shows that mental imagery directed to sites of the body, both superficial as well as deeper tissues, can with practice eventually lead to increased local blood flow, metabolic activity, and oxygenation. Such increases could in principle combat even powerful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, which not only can be the cause of gangrene, but is now often times resistant to antibiotics.” Full story

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