Wim Hof (the Iceman) on Defeating Extreme Cold & Attenuating the Immune Response

Posted on January 3rd 2016 (almost 3 years)

Dr. Rhonda Patrick interviews Wim Hof, also known as the "Iceman."

Wim holds the world record for the longest ice bath (1 hour and 53 minutes and 12 seconds), just to name one of his many impressive feats. Dr. Patrick and Wim talk a bit about Wim's back story that culminated in him trying out cold water immersion, the 2014 scientific publication of the “Wim Hof Method” which includes cold exposure during training, exposure to bacterial endotoxin, Wim's breathing techniques, and meditation.

The 2014 study demonstrated the effects of just 4 days of training with the “Wim Hof method” on 12 volunteers injected with bacterial endotoxin.

"It brought me a sense of tremendous power within. A control. I was looking for that. That's the way it all began." - Wim Hof Click To Tweet

Some of the effects observed in the 2014 study included:

  • increased epinephrine (greater than first time bungee jumpers while laying in bed!)
  • increased norepinephrine
  • increased anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10)
  • decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha)
  • decreased carbon dioxide blood levels
  • increased blood pH to 7.75 (in some cases), which is actually a mild respiratory alkalosis

As discussed in the video, the respiratory alkalosis, in particular, might explain why Wim’s technique helps him to endure the cold more, while some of the other changes, help to explain how he is able to suppress his inflammatory response to endotoxin.

For a deeper conversation about these topics, see the related video below.

WARNING: Breathing techniques should not be practiced when in water or before swimming. Shallow-water blackouts, which may be fatal, can occur.

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