Fourteen words and phrases have been taken out of the text below. Choose from the list the word or phrase that best fits into each gap. There are four words/phrases you do not need to use. 0 is an example.
Can the cold make you stronger?
Cold showers are commonly associated with controlling sexual desire, tropical holidays and plumbing emergencies. But Dutch Wim Hof, the current world record holder for the longest time immersed in an ice bath, (0) claims they can also teach people how to control their immune system.
Hof was called “The Iceman” for his achievements, (1) … include climbing Everest while wearing shorts, swimming under polar ice, and running a half-marathon in the Arctic Circle. But he wasn’t satisfied with merely getting into the Guinness Book of Records. Hof wanted to demonstrate that his techniques allowed him to manipulate his nervous system, something biologists consider impossible – and also that anybody could do it.
Hof’s belief is that cold exposure and (2) … exercises can enable people to benefit from a neglected part of their brain and control their nervous systems, keeping illness and disease at a distance. “Eighteen years ago I said in my book that these techniques could influence the immune system,” he says. “If I (3) … that on TV, people would have told me I was crazy.”
Some will remain sceptical, but Hof’s ideas have been (4) … by limited scientific studies. Two years ago, researchers at Radboud University in the Netherlands confirmed that he and 12 of his students could consciously control their autonomic nervous system and innate immune response.
The doctors injected the men with an endotoxin, a substance that usually causes symptoms similar to those of flue, while they practised Hof’s meditation and techniques. While the control group (5) … and shook, Hof’s group were asymptomatic. The doctors found that their bodies had freed epinephrine, libearating a number of anti-inflammatory agents to fight off the endotoxin.
The authors of the study said that the finding could have huge implications for people suffering autoimmune conditions, (6) … rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Hof himself responded by taking people with Crohn’s disease and coronary problems up and down Mount Kilimanjaro in 48 hours after (7) … them last year.
The efficacy of Hof’s techniques on specific illnesses or diseases hasn’t been (8) …, so it’s far too early to rely on them: (9) … is in progress at Radboud and other universities. And it shouldn’t be ignored that Hof charges $199 for an online video course, (10) … the basics of the technique are simple and available for free on YouTube.
The programme has three (11) …: cold exposure, starting with icy showers; controlling your breath; and finally, exercises like headstands. There’s no doubt it takes some determination. A cold shower in the middle of winter, even a cold current of air at the end of a hot shower, (12) … leave you feeling permanently cold instead of refreshed. Hypothermia is a real risk for those deciding to take ice baths.
So there is not conclusive evidence on the health benefits yet. Some of Hof’s supporters are adherents of the ancestral health movement, (13) … believe that mankind’s domestication (from agriculture to pharmaceuticals) has been to the detriment of human health. For those who follow the paleo diet, run barefoot and avoid antibiotics, his method offers an exciting opportunity to feel comfortable in wild (14) … . It may at least be a cure for cold feet.
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