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more scientific evidence.... Wim Hof, the Iceman

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Gigalos, May 7, 2014.

  1. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

  2. Mermaid

    Mermaid Well known member

    Thought provoking stuff, thanks for sharing it with us.

    The human race is at the stage of reinventing the wheel. Who would have imagined that breathing steadily is good for you, and being stress and tense is bad ;)
    Joe123x and karinabrown like this.
  3. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    No tricks, no special gift, just use the mind and body to strengthen your immune system. He could have chosen to travel the world like a kind of Uri Geller that everybody (with good reason) suspects of using tricks, but he chose to let doctors do experiments on not only him, also on other people that he taught how to do it. You can't get it any better than this. A great day for science...
    Joe123x likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Even I, who believe 100 percent that deep breathing is one of the best tools we have for healing,
    get so wrapped up in work (on the computer) that I forget and breathe shallow and nervously.

    I want to be habit to breathe deeply, but it ain't easy.

    When I do just concentrate on it, it really works.
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing it.

    Since epinephrine (aka adrenaline) is associated with the stress response and since deep breathing can be used to calm people down and decrease their stress response, I had thought that perhaps the deep breathing was creating a relaxation response. Upon further reading, though, I realized that the breathing, rather than calming people down, was hyping them up.

    Based on reading the abstract, I'd hypothesize something like the following: the breathing technique has an effect similar to hyperventilation, decreasing the oxygen in their blood and even making the blood more alkaline. The stress response is triggered (perhaps because of the lack of oxygen) and adrenaline starts flowing. The adrenalin, in turn, suppresses inflammation, almost as if the body were thinking to itself, "oh, no! I don't have enough oxygen! Now isn't the time to worry about inflammation - I need to get out of here!"

    The article refers to epinephrine, which is the "epi" in "epi-pen." For someone who isn't familiar with these, I'll summarize. Basically, if someone who is allergic to bee stings gets stung, or if a child has an extremely strong allergic reaction to a food, their inflammatory system goes crazy, in a process called anaphylactic shock. Just as Wim Hof uses his techniques to release adrenaline/epinephrine and decrease the inflammation, an epi-pen delivers epinephrine very rapidly to someone undergoing anaphylactic shock. This tamps down the inflammatory response and can save their life.

    For the record, I bet that this technique would never be fast enough to replace Epinephrine autoinjector, but it's almost like he's found a mini mindbody Epipen.
    Mermaid likes this.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

  7. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    If I follow your story correctly, wouldn't this be counterproductive in case it was a real threat. Upping your adrenaline regularly and suppressing the immune reaction won't be very beneficial if for example a real germ enters your body..... I think it is more complex than this but can't put my finger on it yet, but it is time to hit the sack...
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm glad I always find that deep breathing calms me and doesn't make me feel hyper.
  9. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's a good point, Gigalos and thanks for pointing it out. There are a number of channels through which chronic stress depresses your immunity. The following summary is from Stanford scientist Robert Sapolsky's brilliant book, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers:
    How Does Stress Inhibit Immune Function?

    It’s been almost sixty years since Selye discovered the first evidence of stress-induced immunosuppression, noting that immune tissues like the thymus gland atrophied among rats subjected to nonspecific unpleasantness. Scientists have learned more about the subtleties of the immune system since then, and it turns out that a period of stress will disrupt a wide variety of immune functions.

    Stress will suppress the formation of new lymphocytes and their release into the circulation, and shorten the time preexisting lymphocytes stay in the circulation. It will inhibit the manufacturing of new antibodies in response to an infectious agent, and disrupt communication among lymphocytes through the release of relevant messengers. And it will inhibit the innate immune response, suppressing inflammation. All sorts of stressors do this— physical, psychological, in primates, rats, birds, even in fish. And, of course, in humans, too.

    The best-documented way in which such immune suppression occurs is via glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids, for example, can cause shrinking of the thymus gland; this is such a reliable effect that in olden days (circa 1960), before it was possible to measure directly the amount of glucocorticoids in the bloodstream, one indirect way of doing so was to see how much the thymus gland in an animal had shrunk. The smaller the thymus, the more glucocorticoids in the circulation. Glucocorticoids halt the formation of new lymphocytes in the thymus, and most of the thymic tissue is made up of these new cells, ready to be secreted into the bloodstream. Because glucocorticoids inhibit the release of messengers like interleukins and interferons, they also make circulating lymphocytes less responsive to an infectious alarm. Glucocorticoids, moreover, cause lymphocytes to be yanked out of the circulation and stuck back in storage in immune tissues. Most of these glucocorticoid effects are against T cells, rather than B cells, meaning that cell-mediated immunity is more disrupted than antibody-mediated immunity. And most impressively, glucocorticoids can actually kill lymphocytes. This taps into one of the hottest topics in medicine, which is the field of “programmed cell death.” * Cells are programmed to commit suicide sometimes. For example, if a cell begins to become cancerous, there is a suicide pathway that gets activated to kill the cell before it starts dividing out of control; a few types of cancers involve the failure of the programmed cell death to occur. It turns out that glucocorticoids can trigger those suicide pathways into action in lymphocytes, through a variety of mechanisms.

    Sympathetic nervous system hormones, beta-endorphin, and CRH within the brain also play a role in suppressing immunity during stress. The precise mechanisms by which this happens are nowhere near as well understood as with glucocorticoid-induced immune suppression, and these other hormones have traditionally been viewed as less important than the glucocorticoid part of the story. However, a number of experiments have shown that stressors can suppress immunity independently of glucocorticoid secretion, strongly implicating these other routes.​

    But then there is the question of why. Why would the body suppress it's own immune response?

    Well, he can explain that better than I can. The first reason would be related to the whole "Fight/Flight" vs. "Rest/Digest" duality that I referred to in the hypothesis in my last post. Basically, when you are stressed out and hyped up, it's time to fight and you don't have time to rest and digest.

    But what if, when you are fighting, you skin your knee? You need your immune response, as you mentioned. Why is the body doing this? Sapolsky writes, "Various ideas have floated around over the years to explain why you actively disassemble immunity during stress with the willing cooperation of the immune system. Some seemed fairly plausible until people learned a bit more about immunity and could rule them out. Others were quite nutty, and I happily advocated a few of these in the first edition of this book. But in the last decade, an answer has emerged, and it really turns this field on its head."

    Well, it turns out that it is actually just chronic stress that decreases immunity. The short term stress response actually boosts it, according to Sapolsky. (Of course, all of this is so complex and nuanced that it is hard to make generalizations like this, but let's use this as a starting point.) However, if the immunity is boosted for too long, there is an increased chance of autoimmune diseases, so after the immune response has been running for a while, it begins to suppress the increased immune system that it, itself, started. And if you keep the stress up for too long, it can even drive them down below their normal levels. He writes, "For most things that you can measure in the immune system, sustained major stressors drive the numbers down to 40 to 70 percent below baseline." As a result, you start seeing things like stressed out people getting frequent colds or flareups in chronic infections.

    Anyway, that's his story in the third edition of the book. It corresponds to the major theme of his book that chronic stress can cause chronic illnesses because we were designed for the short term stress that our caveman ancestors would have faced. This is Sapolsky's answer to the question that forms the title of the book. Q: Why do Zebras Not get Ulcers? A: Because they are still in their natural environment. Our bodies, like their bodies, were designed for short term stresses, not chronic stresses, so the chronic stresses of modern life can take a devastating toll over the course of a long life.

    By the way, unlike Sapolsky, I don't have three full professorships at Stanford, and I'm afraid I need to take back what I wrote about epinephrine causing a decrease in inflammation. The companion stress chemical, cortisone, definitely does this, but it is not clear that the epinephrine is what cuts the inflammation. In the abstract, the authors write, "In the intervention group, practicing the learned techniques resulted in intermittent respiratory alkalosis and hypoxia resulting in profoundly increased plasma epinephrine levels. In the intervention group, plasma levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 increased more rapidly after endotoxin administration, correlated strongly with preceding epinephrine levels, and were higher. Levels of proinflammatory mediators TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8 were lower in the intervention group and correlated negatively with IL-10 levels. Finally, flu-like symptoms were lower in the intervention group. In conclusion, we demonstrate that voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system results in epinephrine release and subsequent suppression of the innate immune response in humans in vivo. These results could have important implications for the treatment of conditions associated with excessive or persistent inflammation, such as autoimmune diseases."

    In other words, there was a correlation between the epinephrine and the subsequent suppression of the immune response. However, causality was not established.

    So does epinephrine suppress inflammation? According to the information provided by the makers of epipen, during anaphylaxis, epinephrine works through its impact on α- and β-adrenergic receptors. The effect on β2-receptors includes decreased release of inflammatory mediators (including histamine and tryptase). This would suggest that there may be a channel through which epinephrine can suppress inflammation. However, we should not conclude that this pathway necessarily explains the phenomena in the paper.

    As a result of looking more at the above I read more about epinephrine and anaphylaxis, and my thoughts there are different as well. My current understanding is that while inflammation is tied up in the allergic reaction of anaphylaxis, adrenalin/epinephrine isn't used to treat anaphlaxis because it decreases the inflammation or components of the allergic reaction, but rather because it counteracts them. For example, blood vessels get larger in anaphylaxis, decreasing blood pressure. Epinephrine counteracts this by causing blood vessels to contract. Similarly, epinephrine can open up the air passages in our lungs, perhaps because our body "thinks" (evolutionarily speaking) we need more air for fight or flight during the stress response.

    Dr. Sarno was very proud of his affiliation with NYU and with medical science, and thinking more about all of this has reminded me of how important it is to take careful guidance from people who, like Dr. Sarno, have spent decades studying the biology of mindbody medicine.

    I thought I'd close with a couple of other quotes from this chapter of Sapolsky's excellent book:
    • The evidence for the brain’s influence on the immune system goes back at least a century, dating to the first demonstration that if you waved an artificial rose in front of someone who is highly allergic to roses (and who didn’t know it was a fake), they’d get an allergic response.
    • In 1982 the report of an experiment using a variant of this paradigm, carried out by two pioneers in this field, Robert Ader and Nicholas Cohen of the University of Rochester, stunned scientists. The two researchers experimented with a strain of mice that spontaneously develop disease because of overactivity of their immune systems. Normally, the disease is controlled by treating the mice with an immunosuppressive drug. Ader and Cohen showed that by using their conditioning techniques, they could substitute the conditioned stimulus for the actual drug— and sufficiently alter immunity in these animals to extend their life spans.
  10. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Impressive stuff Forest. I have some thoughts myself about this whole thing, but I think it is merely impossible to focus one a couple of substances and try to understand what our endlessly complex system is actually doing. At least for me that is. It is pretty difficult to figure out how a pc works by measuring voltages somewhere on the mainboard. Besides that, we don't even know exactly what software is running.... I like to approach it on a higher level, but my perfectionistic mind still isn't able to complete the puzzle with the pieces that I have collected so far.
  11. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    I began doing Wim's exercises and taking cold showers and even an ice bath at 12 celsius for twenty minutes neck in. Its refreshing. Basically the breathing is form of hyperventilating and you feel really good afterward. if you go scroll down and look for Reddit username 'Frankbonerman' he gives exact explanation of breathing involved

    More detailed explanation for the curious

    He charges $199 for the online video course , some say he's scamming people but in reality he lived homeless I think for a while and is trying to make some money back from his life experiences. nothing wrong with that. It also helps you to commit for 10 weeks to the process
    Gigalos likes this.
  12. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks for the links Irish, this is great!
  13. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Great intuition Forrest....please watch this clip of a group he trained being administered Endotoxin Vs a control group. incredible really, Pharma again stands to lose a little business.
    hecate105 likes this.
  14. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

  15. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    important to validate this stuff, his interview with the fantastic Dr Rhonda Patrick is also full of great info. She works under one of the most cited scientists of all time so you can trust her judgements. Wims son I think is pushing the business side but for the money its decent value and makes you commit. Plus you have a lifelong skill that can come in handy anywhere.

    This interview is with a Professor Emiretus of Experimental Immunology....its easy to get overwhelmed with all the amazing science building.

    Great to have an inside track and know this will eventually help many people!
  16. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    My son sent me his interview with vice.com a couple of months ago, which really intrigued me. I downloaded the app on my iPhone last week. After hyperventilating I can hold my breath more than twice as long--from 45 seconds to 100 seconds. It;s simply amazing. I working on the cold showers. I have tried one minute of cold shower after my regular shower. It is really invigorating. No ice bath like Irish yet, but I am excited to get there.
    IrishSceptic likes this.
  17. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

  18. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Interesting, thanks for sharing, Fred.

    Watching the video, it looks like the following is helping Wim Hof sit in an ice bath for 2 hours. His breathing changes the Ph balance of his blood, which decreases the amount of pain that he feels from the cold. Meditation, of course, helps as well. Because his body can still sense the cold, it goes into overdrive trying to keep his body warm by burning stored energy.

    More advanced: part of the way that his body helps keep his temperature up via the stress response, using norepinephrine (aka adrenalin). There are different categories of cold sensors in our bodies, and they respond at different levels of temperature. Because ice baths are so cold, they fire off the cold receptors that push the body into overdrive to keep it's temperature up.

    Some of what he said reminds me of Howard Schubiner or David Hanscom, because he is using modern pain science to explain how emotions are always part of pain. If we can decrease our anxiety and cool down our nervous system, it will become easier to manage extreme pain over long periods of time.

    For everyone else, the video embedded above looks like it was taken from the following longer podcast, which is full of good science related to TMS:
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  19. Lainey

    Lainey Well known member

    Read your most interesting report on the way epinephrine works in our bodies during anaphylactic shock. I suffered an attack of seemingly classic anaphylactic shock this past new years eve. Awoke with itchy hives, and quickly swelling tongue and throat. Went to emergency room and was given epinephrine, peptide and benadryl. Never having had such a reaction before in my life, (which is quite advanced) I was a bit unnerved. Went to an allergist who found no allergens and also suggested that someone of my age does not normally get such reactions. I was instructed to get epinephrine pens, just in case I needed them. So, moving forward a few months, into early May of this year, I was reading S. Ovanich's book, TGPD, which rang so true for me. I was asked by someone "what is that you are reading?" and I began to explain the book to them, only to realize that once again my tongue was swelling and I was having increased breathing issues each minute. I relayed this to my spouse who actually just talked me down with caring and soft shoulder rubs. I tried a week or so later to talk about the book to someone else and noted a similar reaction, but not as severe. It happened to an even lesser degree a week or so later, and finally I can talk about this book without going into shock.

    So, bottom line, I'm pretty certain I have no immune response to any particular substance, but do know that by late December when the first attack occurred I was reaching the end of my personal stress rope, and undoubtedly had a very beleaguered immune system so I had this "anaphylactic" shock syndrome. A couple of months later, when I began in earnest to address the pain, both emotional and physical, by reading and writing, etc., I was able to begin to release some of the mental stressors in my life. My brain was changing the way it was organizing all of the past emotional stressors. So, in my opinion, when I began to explain this to another my brain (most likely my amyglada) said no way, "I'm still in charge" and began to create this breathing, swelling issue. I'm not sure I will renew the prescription at this point.

    I plan to watch the podcasts you included in some of your earlier posts.
    Any thoughts are appreciated.

  20. Kalo

    Kalo Well known member

    So this means we shouldtake ice cold showers and work on breathing???

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