Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research on 'Iceman' Wim Hof suggests it may be possible to influence autonomic nervous system and immune response

Date:
April 22, 2011
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre
Summary:
New research on "Iceman" Wim Hof suggests that he can influence his autonomic nervous system and immune response through concentration and meditation. The results obtained are remarkable, however, the investigators emphasize that so far, these results have only been obtained in a single individual. Therefore, they can not serve as scientific evidence for the hypothesis that the autonomic nervous system and the immune response can be influenced through concentration and meditation techniques.

At the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, professor of experimental intensive care medicine Dr. Peter Pickkers and his team have performed research on "Iceman" Wim Hof. Hof claims that he can influence his autonomic nervous system and immune response through concentration and meditation. The results obtained are remarkable, however, the investigators emphasize that so far, these results have only been obtained in a single individual. Therefore, they can not serve as scientific evidence for the hypothesis that the autonomic nervous system and the immune response can be influenced through concentration and meditation techniques. Further research with larger groups is warranted.

Research on the immune response

A well-functioning immune system protects us against viruses and bacteria. However, excessive activation of the immune system can cause tissue and organ damage. The immune system is, in part, controlled by the autonomic nervous system, a system which cannot be deliberately influenced. Professor Peter Pickkers and PhD candidate Matthijs Kox investigate the effects of the autonomic nervous system on the immune response.

Pickkers said: "We administer endotoxin, a dead cell-wall component of bacteria, to healthy volunteers. The immune system reacts as if real live bacteria have entered the body and mounts an immune response characterized by the production of inflammatory mediators and flu-like symptoms like fever, chills and headache. These experiments are completely safe and have been performed on more than 240 subjects in our centre."

Results obtained in the Iceman

Wim Hof is well known for his remarkable activities in extremely low temperatures. Hof claims that he can influence his autonomic nervous system and thereby suppress his immune response through concentration and meditation.

To investigate this, Hof was administered endotoxin while practising his concentration and meditation technique. During this experiment, various measurements were performed, including brain activity, autonomic nervous system activity and inflammatory mediators in the blood.

Pickkers said: "After endotoxin administration, the increase of the stress hormone cortisol in Hof was much more pronounced compared to other healthy volunteers. We know that this hormone is released in response to increased autonomic nervous system activity and that it suppresses the immune response. In accordance, the levels of inflammatory mediators in Hof's blood were much lower. On average, Hof's immune response was decreased by 50 percent compared to other healthy volunteers. In addition, hardly any flu-like symptoms were observed. These results are definitely remarkable. However, so far, they have only been obtained in a single individual and therefore cannot serve as scientific evidence for the hypothesis that the autonomic nervous system and the immune response can be influenced through concentration and meditation techniques. Further research is warranted in which a group of volunteers that have acquired Hof's concentration and meditation technique is compared to a group that does not master this technique."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. "Research on 'Iceman' Wim Hof suggests it may be possible to influence autonomic nervous system and immune response." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422090203.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. (2011, April 22). Research on 'Iceman' Wim Hof suggests it may be possible to influence autonomic nervous system and immune response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422090203.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. "Research on 'Iceman' Wim Hof suggests it may be possible to influence autonomic nervous system and immune response." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110422090203.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins