In the stream of medical science and research articles I’ve set to feed to my android phone, I usually look for anything related to diabetes or auto immunity. So when this Science Daily article scrolled by last April, it caught my eye: "Research On 'Iceman' Wim Hof Suggests It May Be Possible to Influence Autonomic Nervous System and Immune Response." This guy is mostly known for being able to raise his body temperature. His stunts include: up to 90 minutes buried up to his neck in ice cubes; running a marathon above the arctic circle in just a pair of shorts; swimming under arctic ice, etc. He taught himself a Tibetan form of meditation called “tummo”. Buddhist monks have apparently been doing cold-defying feats using this “fire meditation” for centuries. But the article is about Hof’s claim that he could also affect his body’s autoimmune response. The study, using an immune-response producing endotoxin, certainly looks legitimate. Hof was able to lower his body’s immune response by 50% compared to 240 other subjects by using concentration and meditation.
I thought, pretty darn interesting!
Because in the autoimmune flavors of diabetes like Type 1 and my LADA, it’s always seemed to me that ANYTHING that hints at a way to stop my body’s attack on my pancreas is worth a look. Even the regeneration of beta cells isn’t going to do me much good if they’re just going to get killed again. It’s one of the reasons I avoid insulin. It doesn’t fix the problem or the root of the problem. And I worry it’d damage my remaining capacity.
In reality, the odds that I could actually teach myself the secret tradition of tummo are slim. Hof may have done it, but it’s supposed to take 12 years in a Himalayan temple. Still, the idea of it was still enough of a hook to get me started. And there’s plenty of evidence that any meditation is good for you. Being the typical restless-minded westerner, I’m only managing 15 minutes a day for now. But I know for a fact it lowers my stress. And who knows, maybe this winter I can don a lighter weight parka when I hit the slopes.
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