India studies yogic power for life without food

April 29, 2010 by Rajesh Joshi

A team of military doctors backed by India’s national defence research centre is studying an 83-year-old holy man who claims to have spent seven decades surviving without food or water.

The long-haired and bearded yogi, Prahlad Jani, has been sealed in a hospital in the western city of Ahmedabad where he is under 24-hour observation by 30 doctors and will be subjected to a series of medical tests.

“The observation from this study may throw light on human survival without food and water,” doctor G. Ilavazahagan, director of India’s Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), told AFP.

The DIPAS is part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, India’s state defence and military research institute also behind a grenade packed with chilli powder that recently hit headlines.

“This may help in working out strategies for survival during natural calamities, extreme stressful conditions and extra-terrestrial explorations like future missions to the Moon and Mars by the human race,” Ilavazahagan said.

The tests on Jani include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, measuring brain and heart activity with electrodes and other neuro-physiological studies, in addition to blood tests.

The experiment started on April 22 and will take 15-20 days. Since the beginning, Jani has neither eaten nor drunk and has not been to the toilet, Ilavazahagan said.

“The exercise of taking this yogi under the medical scanner is to understand what energy supports his existence,” he added, explaining that soldiers could benefit from his apparent ability to survive.

“Jani says he meditates to get energy. Our soldiers will not be able to meditate, but we would still like to find out more about the man and his body,” he said.

Neurologist Sudhir Shah, who studied Jani in 2003 and is part of the new experiment, said that the extremely skinny but apparently active man faced round-the-clock observation.

“Two stationary 24-hour video cameras have been set up in his room, while a mobile video camera follows him whenever he needs to step outside,” he said.

Jani, who dresses in red and wears a nose ring, grew up in Charod village in the Mehsana district in Gujarat and claims to have been blessed by a goddess aged eight, which has enabled him to survive without sustenance.

Shah said that Jani told him the key to his survival was a mystical and unexplained process by which he receives drops of water through a hole in his palate.

Analysis of data, to determine his secret or expose his fraudulence, will take at least two months, the doctors said.

Fasting is a part of Indian culture, made famous by independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who brought himself to the brink of death on several occasions by refusing food and water to protest against colonial rule.

A monk from India’s minority Jain religion — devout followers of which undertake frequent fasts, sometimes to death — claims to have deprived himself of food for one year, which is believed to be a record

“If you’re busy with something you don’t feel hunger, thirst, or the heat and cold,” said Sri Sahaj Muni Maharaj, who took daily glasses of warm water during his fast which ended on May 1998.

“I’m busy contemplating the infinite,” he told India’s Outlook magazine one month before the end of his experiment.

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Opinion: What will they think of next?

“Fat dissolving” spa treatment no such thing: FDA WASHINGTON Wed Apr 7, 2010

Fri, Mar 19 2010 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – So-called fat dissolving treatments offered by spas do not eliminate fat and the companies should stop saying so, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday.

The procedures, called by names such as lipodissolve, mesotherapy, lipozap, lipotherapy, or injection lipolysis all involve unproven injections of drugs, the FDA said in a statement. “We are concerned that these companies are misleading consumers,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.

“It is important for anyone who is considering this voluntary procedure to understand that the products used to perform lipodissolve procedures are not approved by the FDA for fat removal.”

The agency issued warning letters to Monarch Medspa in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; Spa 35 in Boise, Idaho; Medical Cosmetic Enhancements in Chevy Chase, Maryland; Innovative Directions in Health of Edina, Minnesota; PURE Med Spa in Boca Raton, Florida, and All About You Med Spa in Madison, Indiana.

The FDA also warned a Brazilian company that markets so-called lipodissolve products on two Web sites: and “The FDA will notify regulatory authorities in Brazil of this action,” the FDA said in a statement.

“The agency has issued an import alert against the and entities to prevent the importation and distribution of unapproved lipodissolve drug products into the United States.”

The treatments usually consist of injections of two drugs called phosphatidylcholine and deoxycholate, the FDA said. “In some cases, other ingredients, including drugs or components of other products like vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts, are added to the mixture,” the agency added. None has been shown to work in credible clinical trials, it said.

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Yet another beauty chain closes suddenly

BEAUTY chain Wax in the City has closed, leaving thousands of its customers with unclaimed amounts on their packages totalling several thousand dollars.

The chain closed its last outlet in Orchard Central mall on March 25. Its other outlets – in Tanjong Pagar and Circular Road – closed from late last year.

It is unclear exactly how many clients have pre-paid sessions, but 10 who spoke to The Straits Times had each bought packages worth between $535 and $1,688.

Most said they learnt of the chain, which began operations in 2008, through cold calls from the outlet’s managers offering discounted waxing and manicure services. They would then be given the hard sell after attending an introductory session.

More than 200 customers have gone to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) for help; it is understood that 40 others have filed police reports. And almost 300 have banded together on social networking site Facebook to share information on what they can do.

Bank manager Daphne Low, 33, paid $1,688 for a package last May. She said she managed to use just $600 worth of services because it was hard to secure appointments.

‘I called them so many times to try to book an appointment, and I could not get through,’ she said. ‘Then, last week when I finally got through, I was told that the spa had closed down.’

She has since made a police report and filed a complaint with Case and a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal.

Ms Maria Gonzalez, 28, forked out $535 for a package on March 14 but did not even get to use it.

‘I feel so cheated and just so upset,’ said the marketing manager, who has filed a claim with the Small Claims Tribunal.

Attempts by The Straits Times to contact the chain’s director, Mr Zhuo Weihua, 27, a Singaporean, were unsuccessful.

The Straits Times visited his home in Boon Lay yesterday, where his father said he had not seen him for some time and did not know he ran such a business.

According to manicurist Sally Li, who had worked at the company for just three months, staff were given a day’s notice of the closure.

‘They were still selling new packages till the very end,’ said the Chinese national, who signed a two-year contract with the company. ‘They just told us we didn’t have to come to work the next day. Now I have to leave the country, or try to find a new job.’

The abrupt closure is the latest in a series that has rocked the beauty and wellness industry recently.

Clients were left high and dry last November when Wellness Village suddenly closed its outlets at the Pan Pacific Hotel and Pagoda Street. Less than five weeks later, Simply Spa at the Parkroyal Hotel on Kitchener Road closed.

Case’s executive director Seah Seng Choon said the association will contact Mr Zhuo to seek redress. He urged consumers to file with the Small Claims Tribunal.

Mr Seah’s advice to consumers: Pay as you use.

‘Consumers need to understand that prepaying for packages involves risk such as sudden company closures. It also puts them in a tight spot if systems are down and they can’t make bookings,’ he said. ‘There is no way for a company to guarantee that it will not shut down before a customer’s package is used up.’

The police are investigating the matter.

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Tue, Apr 06, 2010 The Straits Times


Interesting Spa contest

Here’s an interesting contest along the line of reality-TV contests.

A spa in Singapore and the local TV media has gotten together to get 10 contestants with various facial and weight issues sign up for a ‘spa treatment’ contest over 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks, the contestants will undergo various weight-loss and facial treatments each week at the spa which will be filmed.

Contestants profiles
Contestants profiles

At the end of 8 weeks, the contestants will be judged on who has made the most improvements under a “weight” and “facial” category. What is interesting is that the contestants will not only be judged on physical improvements; they’ll also be judged on who keeps the most interesting blog during this period of time. As a contestant, they’ll need to keep a blog entry per week over the 8 weeks about their weekly weight and facial treatment regime at the spa.

Certainly a most interesting marketing strategy by the spa company as the weekly ‘live-on-TV’ spa treatments will generate lots of keen viewers’ interest and the weekly ‘behind-the-scene’ spa treatment blog entries will keep the competition legacy on for a long time. Well done to this spa company!

To find out more about this competition and perhaps to know more about the contestants, click here.