Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is the "Iceman" a Real Life Superhero?

Wim “Iceman” Hof is an adventurer who currently holds 18 world records for his daredevil activities. He has conquered stunts such as the longest ice bath, completing a full marathon above the polar circle, and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro barefoot wearing only shorts. How does the Iceman accomplish his daredevil acts without killing himself during the process? Hof claims that he “influences his autonomic nervous system and immune response through concentration and meditation”. He possesses the abiliity to maintain a safe core temperature which prevents his body from entering a hypothermic state.
So far Hof is the only human being known to have this remarkable ability, which is why Dr. Peter Pickkers from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre performed research on the Iceman recently. During the experiment Hof was injected with an endotoxin while meditating. In a normal healthy human the body reacts to the endotoxin as if it were being attacked by bacteria and then launches an immune response. After the injection Hof's results were quite different. He displayed elevated cortisol levels suggesting that the stress hormone suppressed his immune response. Hof did not experience the typical " flu like" symptoms associated with an endotoxin injection and his immune response was recorded to be approximately fifty percent less than other human participants.

Is the Iceman a superhero? I will leave that up to you to decide, he does possess an abnormal ability to keep himself alive under extreme circumstances and has mastered the art of mind over matter.

Angeline Latsch (2)


  1. According to those whom practice the art of meditation, these are the types of goals of meditation. Controlling breathing, blood pressure, functions of organs, and other functions of the body we usually do not controll with our minds; even ridding the body of cancer and other diseases. Very intertesting.

    Tonya Sulham

  2. It would be interesting to know more about the link between survive extreme physiological conditions and the immune system and immune response. Do you know if they tested his immune response without meditation, and if it was in line with a normal humans immune response?

    Michael Ball (1)

  3. What is endotoxin exactly and why was he injected with it while meditating?

    Kimberly Ty (3)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Do you think it is a mutation in his body (cell wise) that he learned about and was able to experiment with...or more of strict meditation and chi aspect that he was able to conquer "mind over matter"?

    Sunni-Lynn Farias

  6. Do you think that this is more mediation, endotoxin, or they are both equally important? Also, I feel like he should also consider the fact that if he keeps getting injected with the endotoxin , over time his body can adjust to it, just like if he practices these stunts, he could be possilby acclimating?

    Cynthia Bui (1)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The connection between body and mind is so much more than most of us are aware. In this case, there appears to be an obvious connection between body and mind. If the ice man were to encounter a more serious disease though, would he be able to battle it with his mind? And if he could, what does that say about what types of advancements we could make in our own medicinal practices if we appreciated this connection.

    Ashley Sterpka (1)

  9. This is very interesting. It makes me wonder if he can fend off more serious or detrimental diseases by meditating. If the Iceman is a superhero, I'd rather have his superpower of not being able to get sick than being able to fly, because really...who likes being sick all the time?

    Gabrielle Wertheim (3)

  10. This is amazing! However, I don't think this man is a superhero, I think he is a very dedicated man with an exceptional body-mind relationship. I have tried meditation many times and so far I haven't been able to reach that level, but I completely believe that he can achieve these amazing feats by controlling his autonomic nervous system. I think that if more people who are able to reach complete serenity and tranquility through meditation were to try this, they would be able to perform at a similar level of exception.

    Lindsey Dugas (1)

  11. If he can find a way to use his power for the good of mankind then I will call him a superhero. At that point he will have to come up with a more original name as "Iceman" is already claimed by a popular comic book superhero and, more obviously, that pilot in Top Gun ("you can be my wingman any time").

    Joking aside, I wonder if his ability is due to some mutation that somehow allows him to have incredible powers of descending inhibition. I have read about monks who, after years of meditative practice, were able to lower their heart rates and blood pressures to amazingly low levels. In my opinion, icebro has taken meditation to a whole new level by influencing multiple systems at once (immune response, stress response, heart rate, etc). If we can figure out how (physiologically), he is able to do this we might be able to use his meditative method therapeutically for a wide range of health issues.

    Joseph Starrett (3)

  12. I've seen this before! He's a heavy believer of "mind and body" as a solitary unit. It's actually a pretty ancient philosophy, it's not far off from what monks practice, but the concept is that the mind can control the body with the correct concentration of energy. He has just unlocked that barrier and found a way to concentrate energy through meditation. It's very cool, and very mysterious.

  13. Wim Hof holds workshops teaching his meditation techniques. Here is a link to his website if any of you would like to check it out.

  14. While researching the Iceman I watched a video that was aired on Fact or Faked a show on the SciFi channel. It appears that when he participates in these challenges he is always in a "meditative" state.

    During the particular study that I mentioned in the blog his responses were tested against normal healthy humans.

    Here is a link if you would like to watch the Iceman in action on Fact or Faked.

  15. The iceman is such a great example for "one can do anything they put their mind to." I heard he practiced with monks to achieve total control of is body. I wonder how long it took him to perfect his techniques and skills. He sets a great example for the potential of ability one's body can hold.

    Nick Mulone (3)