Would you believe that there is a man who climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in nothing but his shorts? In two days? It’s true actually, and the guy’s name is “Wim Hof“! He was the latest guest in “24 uur met”, one of my favorite TV shows of all time. At 55, he has devoted his entire life to unlocking the inner strength of the human body on levels we didn’t realize existed. This guy holds the Guinness world record for sitting in iced water: 73 minutes and 48 seconds! It’s one thing to swim in that kind of cold, but sitting still is a whole other story. He’s learned to control his reflexes, his will to flee, and just cranks up his metabolism.
During the show he started teaching the host how to do this and you could already see progress. The wildest thing was how red his entire body was when exiting the ice bath he brought with him. I guess it’s all the blood rushing through his skin to warm him up! Mind you: he’s not doing this to set records, but to explore unknown mechanisms of self-control and one particular experiment has been done that proves he’s on to something; something so incredible in fact that the results were published in medical literature most doctors can only dream of. Not bad for a guy who never went to University!
At Radboud university in Holland 24 volunteers were tested: 12 that were trained by Mr. Hof and 12 who hadn’t been. Now I haven’t researched this further yet after watching the show last night, but supposedly this is what happened, and it is also mentioned on Wikipedia: a dead bacterium was administered to all 24, one that normally triggers an immune response in healthy people. Because the pathogen is dead, it wouldn’t be necessary for proper disposal by your body, so one could say that a typical person ‘overreacts’ to the intrusion, showing the typical signs of infection while the system rids itself of the foreign organism. The amazing thing was that the 12 that were trained were able to control their immune system, with most completely unaffected, with a couple showing minor reactions. Nobody got truly sick of course, but it’s the first proof that humans can control mechanisms in their bodies that were always believed to be autonomous!
At 55 and in better shape than most 20 year olds, the Iceman has big plans and dreams of finding ways for us to learn how to perhaps even deal with cancer or diseases like that. Imagine if we can unlock that kind of power within ourselves. The more we know, the more we realize how little we know……