Wim Hof’s breathing and mind control techniques have been scientifically proven to enable subjects to regulate their nervous systems and immune systems with their minds.
Wim Hof, also known as “Iceman,” is a 56-year-old Dutchman who holds a whopping 26 Guinness World Records for extreme sport challenges. When you hear “extreme sports” you might envision something like wingsuit flying or mountain biking through treacherous terrains, but Hof takes the meaning of extreme sports far beyond normal human ability.
In 2007, Hof climbed to a 6.7 km altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts. In 2009, he reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in two days, again, only dressed in shorts. He completed a full marathon above the polar circle in Finland (temperatures close to -20 °C or -4 °F) in 5 hours and 25 minutes. Need I specify he was only wearing shorts?
His seemingly “superhuman” abilities don’t discriminate against heat either. In 2011, Hof ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert with no food or water. To ensure his safety, the run was supervised by Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels, but Hof completed it smoothly. Surprisingly, his core temperature remained 98.6 °F (37 °C) the entire time. He was dehydrated of about 5 liters of water following the marathon, but he was fine after drinking water and a couple of beers.
Hof caught the attention of scientists when he proved he was able to stay submerged in an ice bath for one hour and 52 minutes without his core body temperature changing. The average human, in comparison, would experience hyperventilation, and after 10 to 20 minutes, severe muscle weakness. Remarkably, Hof attributes his success to meditation and breathing techniques. Almost all of the feats Hof accomplished were previously thought to be impossible, but by mastering his own body, he’s achieved what no one else even dreamed of.
Hof has demonstrated that the physically impossible can be made possible with mind control. He’s proven, in lab settings, that he’s able to influence his autonomic nervous system and immune system at his own will. He also changes his breathing pattern. In just a couple months of practice, Hof was able to draw so much oxygen inside of his body that he was able to stay five to seven minutes under ice without breathing.
When Red Bull asked Hof how he stays warm throughout his extreme tasks, he explained, “I stay warm by thinking and breathing. I direct my mind to work the hormonal system. Just with the mind – no shivering or moving about – my cells produce 300-percent more metabolic activity. That means energy. That's the way I keep warm. It's mind control”
Until Hof, scientists believed that the autonomic nervous system couldn’t be controlled by voluntary will, but Hof’s techniques have proven them wrong in scientific studies. Hof trains people with his deep breathing and techniques for mind control, and in a study, 12 of his trainees were able to produce more adrenaline lying in bed than someone in complete fear, trying bungee jumping for the first time. The 12 participants were also injected with a bacteria that normally makes you sick for five to eight hours, and the group suppressed their reactions within 25 minutes. Phenomenal.
Hof explains that he doesn’t even really feel the cold at all because of his overwhelming control over his body. Dopamine reduces pain reflex, and by controlling the nervous system, you can produce high amounts of it. He recommends training yourself with rapid successions of breath cycles, followed by drawing in enough oxygen to fill the lungs to maximum capacity and then slowly exhaling. He also suggests regularly taking a hot shower followed by a cold one. He says you will see and feel change if you try his methods on a regular basis.
His ultimate vision for his mind control techniques is to create a world without sickness. He’s confident that by becoming more in tune with the body and learning to control the immune system, people will be able to fight off any disease, like AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, and cancer. In any case, Hof’s inspiring outlook on life and determination to push beyond limits manifests that almost anything can be conquered with the enigmatic power of the mind.