A journalist sets out to debunk “The Iceman.”
Wim Hof has numerous records for cold exposure and other things.
The journalist, Scott Carney, finds out Hof is for real.
Soon Carney is climbing a mountain in Poland…in winter…in his shorts…and sweating!
Here is his story. (Bolding is mine.)
Humans have an innate ability to adapt to the environment around us.
By Avoiding Temperature Extremes, You Forgo Health Benefits
“What this means is that we have all of these muscles in our circulatory system that just aren’t getting exercise … [T]hat guy with the gym body … may look physically healthy, but actually [may] have a fairly degraded arterial system, just because he hasn’t stimulated it. We need this external stimulation to live a full human life and really use all of our biology.
There are serious autoimmune impacts with this — treatments for diabetes, obesity and all of these things that are important because we used to think that human health relied on diet and exercise … But what this book uncovers … [is] that there’s actually a third pillar. The third pillar is the environment … If you ignore it, you’re not doing your biology any favors.”
By regularly exposing yourself to cold, you build up a mitochondria-rich tissue very similar to brown fat called beige fat. Beige fat is recruited through your white fat, which can then be used to heat your body and maintain a more active-passive metabolism. Indeed, the conclusion I reached after many decades of studying health is that burning fat as your primary fuel is the goal.
“Western civilization has given us this enticing option of being comfortable all the time. We just think, because we’re so technologically advanced, that comfort should be available at the flip of a switch. But that’s actually undermining who we are as people and leading to things like obesity, weak circulatory systems and … autoimmune diseases,” Carney says.
The good news is, we all have this latent capacity that we can tap into and relearn. It went underground, so to speak, but it didn’t disappear. Carney developed remarkable endurance to cold in a single week. He also lost seven pounds of fat in that same time.
With those warnings in place, the breathing method Carney recommends can be briefly described as follows: First, you take 30 to 40 deep controlled breaths. This will decrease the carbon dioxide (CO2) in your system and increase your oxygen (O2) saturation up to 100 percent. Next, after a complete out-breath where you’ve emptied your lungs as completely as possible, you then hold your breath until you get to that point where you need to gasp for air.
“By doing that, you’re interacting with an autonomic system in your body, which is where the gasp reflex is. You’re telling your body that you should have some control over this system,” Carney explains. “It’s the same thing that you do in a cold shower when you’re telling yourself not to shiver. It’s the same skill of becoming mentally strong over an autonomic reflex.
These two methods work on different systems, parasympathetic and sympathetic systems, in the body. What that does is give you more resistance in the cold and has this autonomic trick, this autonomic ability to influence your immune system down the road, which is incredibly useful.”
….Brazilian Jiu Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie also uses yogic breathing for cold resistance and mental strength. Ice bathing, sauna and the combination of the two also have a long history and tradition in Russia and Scandinavian countries. So, what Hof is teaching is nothing new. Many of these techniques have been around for a long time. What makes Hof particularly interesting is his openness to investigation and testing, giving us a deeper insight into our human potential.
If you’re intrigued by the possibilities presented here, pick up a copy of “What Doesn’t Kill Us.”
“Just give it a chance … Even if you don’t read the book, try a cold shower. That’s the base. That’s the total minimum. If you do want to examine the book, it’s on Amazon. It’s on Audible … I’ve been so happy that I’ve affected so many people’s lives so far. That’s awesome,” Carney says. You can also find out more about him at
I believe it has the potential to help many. This kind of environmental conditioning — heat and cold stress — is a really powerful health principle that very few clinicians appreciate, but it has many important metabolic benefits. I heartily endorse and personally embrace and practice it.
The longer story here:
Are you willing to embrace using all of your biology to live a fuller life?
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