Mudita Journal

Dutchman Wim Hof uses meditation to control parts of his autonomic nervous system

May 23, 2011 · Filed under: Current Events, Health, Meditation

Since I use meditation as part of my regimen to manage chronic facial pain, this story caught my attention. A key difference, though, is that while I use meditation to manage my body’s reaction to the primary pain — i.e., to reduce the tension and anxiety and subsequent pain — this guy uses meditation to alter the body’s own primary functions: heart-rate, cortisol levels, body temperature, etc.

I’d love to learn more about how he does it.

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) – The sun beams down on a warm Dutch spring morning, and the Iceman’s students look wary as they watch him dump bag after bag of ice into the tub of water where they will soon be taking a dip.

The plan is to try to overcome the normal human reaction to immersion in freezing slush: gasping for air, shivering uncontrollably, and getting back out again as soon as possible.

Instead, under the direction of “Iceman” Wim Hof, the group of athletes is going to stay in the water for minutes practicing his meditation techniques, seeking possible performance or health benefits.

Hof, 52, earned his nickname from feats such as remaining in a tank of ice in Hong Kong for almost 2 hours; swimming half the length of a football field under a sheet of ice in the Arctic; and making the Guinness record books for running a half-marathon barefoot in Finnish snow in deep subzero conditions.

Keep reading.