Have you ever wished you could control your immune system or other parts of your body with just your thoughts? If so, then you will love this story…
Wim Hoff is a 55-year-old man from the Netherlands who — at the time of this writing — holds 21 Guinness World Records for some pretty amazing physical feats, including:
- Running a full marathon above the Arctic circle wearing only a pair of shorts.
- Running a full marathon in the Namibian desert without drinking water.
- Taking the longest ice bath (1 hour 52 minutes and 42 seconds) submerged up to his neck in ice.
In 2007, he even tried to climb Mt. Everest in just a pair of shorts. He reached 24,000 feet (~7,300 meters) but was forced to stop due to a foot injury, just 5,000 feet (~1,500 meters) short of reaching the summit.
Wim, also known as “The Iceman,” says he can literally control the temperature of his body, similar to the way you can control the temperature of your house by adjusting the thermostat.
Not only that, Wim says he can teach people how to control their autonomic nervous system to:
- Influence the immune system.
- Influence the mind.
- Improve blood circulation.
- Improve concentration and targeting.
- Increase self-confidence.
These claims are nothing new. Similar claims have been made by “experts” selling all types of self-help programs for decades.
But is it true?
Can all this really be done simply by altering the way you think? New research shows that the answer might be, “YES.”
A team of scientists led by Dr. Matthijs Kox of the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands studied his method.
Twelve people were trained in Wim Hof’s method and 12 were not. Then, all 24 were injected with a strain of bacteria that causes flu-like symptoms.
Results: Dr. Cox writes, “Volunteers who underwent training with the Hof method reported fewer and less intense flu-like symptoms than those who did not. At the same time, [they] produced smaller amounts of proteins related to inflammation, and higher levels of interleukin-10, an inflammation-fighting protein.”
According to the journal PNAS, where the study was published, “Hitherto, both the autonomic nervous system and innate immune system were regarded as systems that cannot be voluntarily influenced. The present study demonstrates that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program, the sympathetic nervous system and immune system can indeed be voluntarily influenced.”
This study shows that, to some degree, the immune system can be affected by your thoughts.
The extent that the mind can control your immune system is still unknown. Considering that not too long ago, this “mind-immune system body-health” connection was viewed as witchcraft by most doctors and scientists, who knows what impact this could eventually have on medicine and the health of the public at large.
Like everything else in medicine and science, more research needs to be done. But, it probably would not hurt to look into meditation or relaxation techniques that are quick and easy to learn and only take a few minutes a day to accomplish.
Do Certain Weather Conditions
Cause Low Back Pain?
For many years, there has been a commonly held belief that changes in weather – or certain weather – can cause back pain.
In the case of cold weather, it certainly seems plausible since the cold may cause tighter muscles that could create low back pain, or at least exacerbate pre-existing low back pain.
“Many patients believe that weather impacts their pain symptoms,” explains Dr. Daniel Steffens with the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, Australia. “However, there are few robust studies investigating weather and pain, specifically research that does not rely on patient recall of the weather.”
Moreso, Dr. Steffens’ team found that “sudden, acute episodes of low back pain are not linked to weather conditions such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction, and precipitation.” Their findings, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, indicate that the risk of low back pain slightly increases with higher wind speed or wind gusts, but the change was not clinically significant.
Want Better Grades? Join a Gym…
A study from Michigan State University indicates that students with gym memberships during their freshman and sophomore years had higher GPAs and stayed in school longer than those who did not. The question is: Do gyms create higher GPAs or are students who are disciplined enough to stick to a workout routine more likely to do better in school because of their existing habits?
Do You Get Enough Sleep?
A new study by researchers at Israel’s Tel Aviv University paints a pretty grim picture for most people when it comes to sleep. The study found that interrupted sleep can be as physically detrimental as no sleep at all. The researchers found a link between interrupted sleep and compromised cognitive abilities, shortened attention spans, and negative moods. They also note that interrupted sleep is equivalent to no more than four consecutive hours of sleep. One researcher adds, “These night wakings could be relatively short – only five to ten minutes – but they disrupt the natural sleep rhythm. The impact of such night wakings on an individual’s daytime alertness, mood, and cognitive abilities had never been studied. Our study is the first to demonstrate seriously deleterious cognitive and emotional effects.”
The study only shows the effect interrupted sleep has after only one night. The cumulative effect of days, months, and years can obviously be great. Care should be taken to get a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep whenever possible. Sleeping in a dark, quiet, and cool room without distractions — like television — often help sleep patterns.