Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Chilling Effects of the Mind

The winter ski & sport season is upon us up here in Vermont, which means an influx of winter-related TV commercials. One in particular recently caught my attention, not for the product, but for the spokesperson-of-sorts. Columbia Sportswear’s new commercials for heat-emitting or heat-reflecting clothing and outerwear feature an astonishing Dutch gentleman who uses meditation to control his body temperature. Nicknamed, “The Iceman”, Wim Hof holds a number of world records for his feats in extremely cold conditions, including immersion in an ice bath and running barefoot on the ice and snow.

Thankfully, Mr. Hof has participated in a number of scientific studies to uncover how and why this seemingly superhuman ability exists. He is not using tricks in his icy stunts! Research has shown that through his meditation practices, he can willfully and significantly reduce cytokine production and increase cortisol levels, thus dampening his innate immune response.

Much research and drug discovery today is focused on the inter-dependency of cells, pathways and compounds - everything is connected somehow to achieve balance. We know that a disruption to this fragile balance causes disease and disorders. We’ve also come a long way in understanding these complex relationships, yet when an enigma like Wim Hof comes to light, I’m reminded of just how far we still have to go.

How powerful, the mind’s effect on the body even down to the intra-cellular level. And how can/will we harness this power - through the mind, or the body? Or somehow, both?

If you want to catch a glimpse of Mr. Hof’s chilling feats for yourself, bundle up and click here for clips from The Discovery Channel.

By Chere Griffin, Account Executive
Shaw & Todd Advertising and Marketing Communications

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