Monday, August 27, 2007

The Five Tibetans - What's Real & What Isn't?

Claims for the benefits of performing the Rites have proliferated over the web, becoming increasingly exaggerated to a point where they have been made to sound like a 'miracle cure' – an ancient, secret snake oil medicine!

People are led to believe that the Rites will completely halt their aging, help them lose enormous amounts of weight; fix their cancer, heart disease, fibroid cysts, and numerous other serious health conditions. Their expectations are often set way too high, and they are bound to be disappointed. This is regrettable, as it steers people away from this truly beneficial routine which takes such a short amount of time per day.

This article is an attempt to restore credibility to the Rites by helping people gain realistic expectations, of what they might achieve from performing this powerful rejuvenation method.

A simple search on the web will show numerous sites offering downloadable e-booklets on The Five Tibetan Rites for around US$19.95 up to $39.95. These booklets are copies of the original book that introduced the Rites to the West during the late 1930's. Titled, The Eye of Revelation by Peter Kelder it outlines the story of the discovery of the monks in Tibet by his friend; retired British Army Officer, Colonel Bradford. According to one of his publishers Peter Kelder is still alive; albeit very old - and therefore the copyright on his book does not expire for another 50 years.

Since the selling of these booklets is purely a commercial enterprise; invariably there will be some internet marketers who exaggerate the benefits of the Rites, in order to entice buyers to purchase this product. Whilst this proliferation of marketers' offering the same booklet increases the visibility of the Rites, which is beneficial; I feel it is important to add a dose of reality to the whole subject.

If you are thinking of learning the Rites; good for you. However you might want to bear in mind that nearly everyone selling these booklets has never actually physically taught anyone. "So what", you might say: I'm coming to that...

So what gives me the right to comment? After all I also benefit commercially from selling T5T (my abbreviation for The Five Tibetan Rites) merchandise, workshops and teacher training. I'll be brief: My background is in teaching the Rites to thousands of people over the last 6 years. I’ve had two books on the Rites published, T5T: The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites (Penguin) and The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan (Random House). I’ve taught numerous workshops to hundreds of students; trained 32 instructors, filmed a DVD and made an audio CD.

So What are the Exaggerations, Non Truths or Over-Simplifications Claimed for the Benefits of the Rites?

Here are some examples I have found on the internet:
  • You can remove your wrinkles, a secret cosmetic surgeons don’t want you to learn. Absolute rubbish I’m sad to say!
  • Restores your natural hair color. In all the many hundreds of people I have taught only ONE said he ‘thought” his sideburns were going darker.
  • Guaranteed – you will look a shocking 30 years younger! Will turn you back to being 25 years old all over again! Imagine getting back the face, hair, strength and vitality you had at 25 years old! If this was true, it would be on the main news! The extra life-energy (Qi, prana) flowing through your body from doing the Rites definitely gives you a healthier and more vital look – but NO way do you become young again sadly.
  • Will correct your eyesight. In my experience, no-one yet has flung off their glasses saying, “I can see, I can see". There is a slight difference in your vision immediately after you have done the Rites, with a mild improvement overall. They certainly do not ‘fix’ eyesight problems.
  • Virtually anyone can perform them at any age, right up to 100 years old or more! The person who wrote this comment is a copywriter, NOT a teacher of the Rites! When I began teaching the Rites I used the original version as described in Peter Kelder’s books. In every workshop I noticed a pattern of lower back and neck pain occurring in a similar percentage of people. So I took the routine to physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, occupation health, Feldenkrais and Pilates Instructors to find ways of making them safer, and simpler for just about anyone to do. The result is T5T which incorporates core stability to protect the spinal column, as well as ways of moving that do not compress the discs and vertebrae of the spine. The problems of the past have been totally eradicated by this step-by-step process. I also consulted a well-known breathing expert as I felt breathing was very scantily addressed in Kelder’s books. A number of clinical studies have proven that how well you breathe literally dictates your lifespan. With the T5T method of doing the Rites, your breathing capacity is increased and your breathing rate is slowed. To find out if the Rites are for you or what to watch out for when you begin learning, see my article “Are The Five Tibetan Rites Suitable For You?’
  • Your energy levels become turbo-charged! There is no doubt that this is one of the principal benefits of the Rites. However most people will read this and think they can go out and run a marathon. Not everyone gets the super-charged variety. Most people get an obvious endurance type of energy as opposed to the six cups of coffee effect inferred by the use of the word turbo-charged! Unlike caffeine energy, the energy derived from the Rites is enduring (unless you stop doing them).
  • Martin Sheen the actor and John Gray from Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus credit the Rites for their youthful looks. This is not what they say at all! The quotes attributed to both of them on the Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth book covers, mention nothing about them "personally looking younger" because of the Rites. Incidentally, John Gray kindly reviewed my book project (and provided a personal quote) and noted the amendments I had made to the Rites. He told me that he too had modified the Rites to make them safer and easier for people to perform.
  • Every copy of the book was lost, until one was found recently. Completely untrue! The publishers say (on the Fountain of Youth No 2 book cover) they have sold over 2 million copies of the later version of the book. Borderland Sciences have been publishing the original book “The Eye of Revelation” for years and at a fraction of the cost $5.95 versus the $19.95 up to $39.95 that people are charging on the internet. It’s a great story by the way and well worth reading. It is not a great teaching aid though as the instructions and illustrations are extremely limited, and for the reasons mentioned above.
So, What Are The Real Benefits?

There has been no clinical research done on the Five Rites. Although there have been numerous studies done on yoga, from which the Rites are developed. Some of the Rite’s movements are well-known yoga postures; however these 5 movements are performed in a specific sequence with some unique adaptations. The Spin (1st Rite) for example is not part of any other yoga and is unique to the Five Rites. The only 'research' that has been done if you like, is by the millions of people (the publisher of the Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth claims 2 million copies of this book have been sold) who have practiced the Rites.

Other notable research is from Five Tibetan teachers, or yoga teachers who teach them to their students. I cannot speak for the others but here is a list of the benefits you can expect. This knowledge comes from the direct teaching experience of myself and my instructors in teaching the many hundreds of students who attended our workshops or received private tuition. We compiled this information from our workshop/private tuition feedback forms, correspondence, discussions, testimonials and completed questionnaires:

Since I have modified the Rites (without affecting their integrity) to make them safer and easier to perform; the list below relates to T5T (my abbreviation for The Five Tibetans).

Most people experience varying degrees of one or more of the following benefits:
  • A significant increase in energy - more the endurance type of energy as opposed to the revved up caffeine type of energy. You feel like you can keep going and going.
  • Feel calmer and less stressed – your buttons simply don’t get pushed as easily anymore.
  • Develop significant mental clarity with a razor sharp focus.
  • Feel stronger, more flexible and less stiff
  • Enjoy seeing muscles appear on your arms, stomachs, hips, legs and backs. Good for toning flabby arms and tightening the abdomen
  • Sleep better. Some people have more vivid dreams
  • Overall improvement in your health, don’t seem to catch colds etc as often
  • Helps with depression and anxiety - lifts mood and improves well-being
  • More centered and at peace
  • Improved self discipline and sense of purpose
  • Feel younger and more powerful
  • Improved breathing - deeper, slower & more conscious
  • Increased levels of Qi (chi, ki, prana, life-energy)
  • Better posture
  • Develops good core strength, which provides a strong foundation for any other form of exercise or modern living
  • Some people lose weight, most find it easier to control weight and desire healthier foods
  • Improved digestion and elimination
  • Helps with the transition and symptoms of menopause
  • Helps with the symptoms of menstruation
  • Improved libido
There are many individual cases of people receiving improvement to their health conditions. This does not indicate that everyone who has this condition will experience the same benefit. It also does not allow for the influence of other factors that may also have contributed to the improvement in their condition. Please see the Testimonials on my website that detail these personal experiences (full name's given).

I hope this information has helped you. If you are already doing the Rites and would like some tips on maintaining a long-term practice and interest - please read my article “Getting the Most Out of The Five Tibetans”

If you would like to really boost their effects I highly recommend you include core stability training with the Rites, and learn how to breathe correctly (both during and between each movement). If you do not have someone who can teach you this, I recommend you purchase my Book or my DVD which covers both subjects in great depth. In the T5T method, both these subjects have been tailor-made by myself and other health professionals, to fit and maximize your practice of the Rites.

If you are or have already practiced the Rites and are disappointed that your expectations have not been met, please read my blog post “The Five Tibetans - Not Getting the Benefits You Expected?" It includes comments from myself and others, offering suggestions to enhance your practice so you can obtain further benefits.

Finally, if you are considering learning the Rites for the first time, including those of you who are experienced yoga, or fitness practitioners; please read my article “Are The Five Tibetan Rites Suitable For You?

If you wish to publish this article on your website you may do so, provided you assign copyright to the author exactly as written below. Copyright (c) 2007 Carolinda Witt - author “T5T: The Five Tibetan Exercise Rites" and "The 10-Minute Rejuvenation Plan"


Amanda Steves said...

I have a question:

Last year, a couple of months after starting the Tibetan 5 rites, at 52 years of age, I got a menstrual period, after about a year of not having one. Also, my prolapsed bladder went back up to its normal position. I was confused about the period, and pleased about the bladder.

As allergy season set in, I had to stop the rites because of sinus pain, and I have recently resumed them. My husband pointed out that my hot flashes have come on strong in the months when I have done the rites daily, and gone away when I had to stop them.

There's obviously a hormonal effect, but the hot flashes are making me wonder if it's a good idea to continue the rites.

Why are the rites increasing the hot flashes, and is there anything I can do to settle them back down without stopping the rites?

Carolinda Witt said...

Well it is certainly great that your prolapsed bladder went back to its normal position!

As you would no doubt know - at your age it is totally normal to experience changes in your body due to the decrease of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. You mention getting a period after 'about' a year which is not unusual since perimenopause can last anywhere from five to fifteen years. During this time the brain continues to send out hormones trying to stimulate the development of ovarian follicles, and it is common for a woman's ovaries to respond erratically, so that her hormones fluctuate a great deal from month to month.

It is therefore hard to determine the 'cause' of your recent period. It could even be thyroid related. If you are worried, I would check with your doctor to eliminate any concerns.

Stress affects the adrenal glands which regulate the production of cortisol. Cortisol imbalance leads to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone. Being overweight contributes to hot flashes as does smoking; certain foods like sugar, caffeine, alcohol and hot spices etc.

I see no reason for you to cease doing the Rites. It would be like saying that you should stop doing exercise altogether!

Rather I would suggest you talk to your doctor- particularly one who specializes in menopause.

Carolinda Witt said...

I forgot to mention that I used to have hot flashes quite extensively - but since doing the Rites have not suffered from them at all.

Most of the women I have spoken to say the same thing. Sometimes in the first few weeks they get an increase in symptoms as their bodies adjust to the increased chi (life-energy) in the body; & the stimulation of the lymphatic, circulatory, respiratory & nervous system.

Then they revert to a calmer, stronger and more balanced body and mind.

All the best,

Amanda Steves said...

Thank you for the wonderful answers! I do want to continue with the 5 rites. The only non-menopausal thing I can think of that might be contributing to the hot flashes, from your list, would be possibly cortisol caused by really bad sinus headaches for the last couple of years. I don't smoke, drink, eat sugar, consume caffeine or hot spices, and I'm not overweight (115 lbs, 5'6").

I think your idea about the first few weeks increasing menopausal symptoms might be a factor here. Got an appointment with my OB/Gyn next week for a check up. I'll ask lots of questions.

And I'll continue the rites. Thanks!

Carolinda Witt said...

Out of interest - do your sinuses run after doing the Rites? I ran a class once in which people found the Rites cleared their sinuses. See below:

I did the workshop in a group of 9 at Rozelle this week and last week. 4 of the 9 stated that they had sinus problems at the start of the first session, when we discussed what we wanted from the training. At the session yesterday, ALL 4 stated that they had DRAMATIC sinus improvement in just 7 days. One fellow used to go through 3 handkerchiefs before breakfast. He has not used a handkerchief since last week. More spectacularly, all 9 of us, 5 women and 4 men, who range in age from early 20s to late 60s, are ALL doing T5T daily and the form and technique of EVERYONE is amazing good."
Iain McGregor– IT Sales & Marketing - Sydney

So perhaps you are doing too many repetitions too quickly and not giving your body time to adjust. It is recommended that you do just 3 reps of each posture in the first week, then add only two per week until in 10 weeks you are doing 21. That way the detox effects will not be so pronounced.

I think you could modify the #3 posture so you don't lean your head back so far as illustrated. Keep the neck long and strong, not collapsed. Also in the last posture - neck long and strong!

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

hi. have been doing the t5t on my 3rd week now. starting my 7 reps of each posture, have noticed that my skin got allergies, (from face down to feet). have red eyes also in my right side (which are not hurting but constantly is producing mucus) wondering if this is related to t5t detox, as i did not eat anything new.

Thanks, carmel

Anonymous said...

hi carolina,

by the way, I am 40 yr old and female. this is regarding the comments i have submitted earlier.
Thanks again, carmel.

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Carmel. Poor you! I think you 'might' be experiencing the detox effects yes. However this normally settles within 2 weeks. I did have a hairdresser once in one of my classes who used a lot of chemicals dying hair etc. She got a rash for nearly three weeks but then it just stopped.
One thing you should bear in mind is that the circulatory system is being stimulated, and so is the lymphatic system and hormonal system. Along with increased respiration it is quite possible that your allergic reaction is intensified but normally this is temporary. Are you very allergic in any event or is this something new? Let me know if you get this - also check this out for a bit more info

Savio said...

Hi my name is Savio .

I have the problem of getting nervous and anxiety levels are high which leads to palpitation. I also have rinitis/ sinus and frequent .
pimples. I am also thin and want to put on weight.

My question is can T%T solve all of my above problems. And can the detox effect cause more pimples which i dont want.


Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Savio,

Many people find the Five Tibetans really does help with anxiety and improved mood levels. Others have had significant improvement in sinus related issues,in fact in one class I taught there were an incredible three people suffering from sinus related problems! All of them found their noses streamed for several days and then significantly improved.

It does seem that symptoms can get more exaggerated before they get better or much better. The Detox effect is one thing but that means increased circulation, lymphatic, adrenal and nervous system.

In my T5T version of the learning and doing the Rites, I have incorporated a much greater emphasis on breathing naturally and fully. This really helps with anxiety and encourages you to use your breathing in situations during your normal day, reducing anxiety in those situations also. A real benefit. You may be a rapid breather, with short, shallow breaths into the upper chest which actually stimulates the "flight and fight" response of the body! if you breathe deep and slow, it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system associated with calm, relaxation, digestion, assimilation.

You may find that for 2 days to around a maximum of two weeks that some of your symptoms do increase, but this should not be viewed as a bad thing as it is a sign that the body is re-balancing and re-energising. If you approach it as a benefit and not a negative you will feel more positive and accepting of it. You will see it as a sign of something is working!

With regard to adding weight. If you are not doing much exercise at the moment, you will notice changes to the tone of your body, particularly stomach. Many people find their tastes change and they eat in ways that are more healthy for their own body. Perhaps this will help you.

Good luck

abhi said...

hi caroline
i am 25 years old and getting problem of hair loss. will it address to my problem. pls pls comment

Anonymous said...

Hi I am Burcu

I have started the T5T but my concern is : in the book it says it can shorten the menstrual cycle or even stop it altogether . I haven't got achild yet and I am concerned.

Please reply
Many thanks

Carolinda Witt said...

Abhi, in the original book which you can download off my website, the author Peter Kelder mentions rubbing raw butter into the scalp for hair loss.

Some members in our Facebook Group have tried it. Why not join and ask what results they got?

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Burcu,

It means temporarily, normally in the first month of practice as your body gets used to the changes. This article is helpful -

Anoop said...


I have read the original book and I am a bit confused about the first rite. Which says you must turn from left to right (clockwise).

In the book, author talks about whirling dervishes (mauliwiyas) turning from left to right but Videos shows them moving from right to left (antilockwise).

What am I missing here?

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Anoop! Well spotted! See an earlier post for info:

Anonymous said...

I walked into a new bank to cash a check and I had trouble with that because the bank claimed that I looked much younger than my i.d. stated. Lol. I had to sit and wait until they could verify that I was truly me. YES, you can and do get younger but you must know you can and not have a sliver of doubt.

There are many roads to Rome!

Carolinda Witt said...

That's a very cool story! Good for you. Apart from having to wait while they verify you!

Colin said...

So did anyone do the 6th rite for a while and give feedback about what that did for them - since that is supposedly where most benefits come from.

Carolinda Witt said...

Hi Colin,

To answer this question - you might find this article interesting -

From the original book:

.."Please understand that in order to perform Rite Number Six it is absolutely necessary that a man have full masculine virility. He couldn’t possibly raise up and transmute procre­ative energy if there were little or none to transmute. It is absolutely impossible for an impotent man or the one with little virility to perform this Rite. He shouldn’t even attempt it, because it would only lead to discouragement, which might do him great harm. Instead he should first practice the other five Rites until he has full masculine power, and this regardless of how young or how old he may be. Then when the first “full bloom of youth” is experienced within him, he may then go on to the business of being a SUPER­MAN."...

...“Again I say, let no man concern himself with the up­turning of the sex currents until he is thoroughly satisfied in his own mind and heart that he truly desires to lead the life of the MYSTIC; then let him make the step forward, and success will crown his every effort."...

Anonymous said...

Hi Carolinda,
I have a query viz. can I perform these rites during menses?


Carolinda Witt said...

I'd say yes but you may find this article I wrote more helpful as viewpoints vary considerably -

Unknown said...


I have a question, i didn't find a plausible answer yet.. well i'm doing the tibetans, but following my order of exercises because it fits better for me.. i do them using the following order: 1st,2nd ,4th ,3rd,5th...

I would like to know if this "reordering" the sequence is alright? If i do the rites in this sequences changes anything, or i have to follow strictly the given order of exercises?

Thank you!


Florijan Veneruzzo