When John Lennon approached the end of, “All You Need Is Love,” he burst into the chorus of another great Beatles song, “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.”
When I heard this years ago, it seemed to derail his message of humanity’s desperate need of a higher love.
We carefully distinguish between romantic love and all the other loves, but could this be inaccurate or even misguided?
How might things look from the perspective of The Cosmic DNA Coder?
Imagine he’s putting together a new reality, a “simulation” where people can go to learn to love in an environment where anger, fear, pain and hunger make it difficult.
If love requires a minimum of two, he might divide the players into males and females, a novelty in his realm, no doubt. He invents procreation with a physical and emotional climax of love that begins gestation, allowing another player to enter the Love-Challenge environment.
In the Challenge, some individuals become technically advanced and tamper with the original DNA codes, splicing amalgamations such as the duck-billed platypus, and wreaking havoc on God’s ideal coding for procreation through love. Loveless perversions spring forth, but love’s key elements survive on some planets.
In these lucky worlds, falling into romantic love remains the most powerful, meaningful and ubiquitous form of love, rivaling even the love of parents for their children and grandchildren.
On the luckiest of planets like Earth, the distinction between platonic and romantic love begins to seem arbitrary. Couples grow old, procreation leaves the picture, and yet love continues to grow and deepen.
Despite the Earthling’s lifelong struggle for food and shelter, some of them adopt other species and discover what they believe is the purest form of platonic love.
God smiles with interest and appreciates even their dreams…
Last night I awoke from a recurring nightmare. I had lost Halo, my little black labrador retriever while the rest of our family was on vacation.
The loss of my gentle little dog was shattering. I imagined her shivering alone, hungry and confused in a dog shelter awaiting a death sentence and wondering what in the world she could have done wrong to make Daddy leave her.
I didn’t know where I’d lost her or how. I had only vague recollections of taking her with me, but where? It seemed I was losing my memory like both of my parents did years ago.
I said something like a prayer, but not to God. It was to Halo, trying to reach her through the ether and tell her I still loved her. I asked her to forgive me for being such a fool and losing track of her. I said I was so, so sorry and cried for her forgiveness until the anguish woke me up.
When my eyes popped open, I knew she was OK. I remembered putting her to bed that night and playing in the backyard with her and two of my grandkids that afternoon.
The flood of relief was beyond wonderful! I smiled at the darkness in the room and thanked God, remembering a time years ago when a similar dream about my son had shaken me to the core.
Eventually I got back to sleep, knowing that one of the most loving beings I’ve ever met was safely sleeping downstairs on her little bed with the brand new Naugahyde cover Sandi finished sewing onto it that afternoon.
And that’s platonic love, not romantic, not parental? Does love really need any qualifiers?
In God’s eyes, I doubt there’s a black-and-white distinction between romantic love and all the other forms we think we’ve identified. In my heart they all feel equally transcendent and sacred.
I wonder if John Lennon saw beyond the distinctions we make in the way we love.
“Because she loves you.
And you know that can’t be bad.”
Many years ago, Neil Young wrote something profound and worrisome, “Only love can break your heart.”
But just this morning Ellie, my granddaughter asked, “Why are we here?”
Auntie Teri laughed and said, “That’s the great philosophical question that everyone wants an answer to.”
I blurted out, “I can tell you why we’re here. It’s so we can learn…”
But I hesitated as thoughts rushed through my head. Things like, “We’re here to find out what it’s like to live in a place where God isn’t physically present to influence us… so we can see who we really are. Our souls are from another realm called Reality. Life in this Universe is an E8 simulation that Johanna calls 229 H Street. God is The Great Surfer who lives outside of space and time and misses us when we’re away from home…”
My words, “So we can learn…” hung awkwardly in the air. I was starting to realize I had nothing appropriate to say to someone her age.
Until she rescued me and finished my sentence…
“to love?” She made it look and sound like a genuine question, but it felt to me like an angel’s solemn message.
I said, “Yes,” and grinned the biggest ever, realizing that she knows more about life than I do.
“We’re here to learn to love,” I said firmly, pretending that “love” was the word I was searching for all along.
“For only love can break your heart. What if your world should fall apart?”
No, Neil Young, your world won’t fall apart. Hang tough. Ellie says the whole reason we’re here is to learn to love. And she should know, she’s five years old.
I’m thinking from now on I should focus only on the stories, not the video clips.
Stringing together video clips that follow a story to any vague degree is a time-consuming, tedious process that probably distracts the viewers from visualizing the story in their minds, the Earth’s high-tech simulators.
I may eventually take drone videos of local rivers and use those for background on YouTube. I’ve got a cheap learner-drone coming in the mail, so we’ll see. Hope it works out because I need more natural vitamin D3. Actually, I think there’s more health-related energy coming from sunshine than just the D3 conversion — assuming a person doesn’t over-do it and age their skin or worse.
I’m not sure if YouTube viewers would want the words scrolling across the video as I read. I could start doing that, I guess.
Just as the Genesis serpent was sort of right and wrong when it told Eve, “You won’t die,” John Lennon was both right and wrong about turning off the mind and not dying.
He was right that we’d all do well to turn off our inner critics sometimes and rise above the fears that bind us.
Turning off the inner voice allows the silent parts of the mind to shine. For me, this has become a major goal of meditation: waking up my subconscious gifts by temporarily shutting up inside.
The exercise lets the silent parts of my mind arrange things wordlessly and efficiently, making intuitive and logical connections that would take way more time in the verbal realm. Sometimes, in fact, it’s like a message blinks into my head from beyond like the proverbial “download.” Who knows what this is, really? I don’t.
The wise and occasionally depressed King Solomon wrote, “For everything there is a season… a time to keep silence and a time to speak.”
This passage advocates balance, not black-and-white labeling. I like that.
With a little reflection, it’s clearly not in our best interests to always keep a silent mind, focusing only on what the hands and eyes are doing in the present moment.
If you’re depressed, of course you must learn to “live in the present moment,” shutting off that blasted verbal and visual habit of going over past hurts, fights, losses and embarrassments, as well as future worst-case scenarios. This kind of rumination will drown you unless you put in the time and effort to learn inner silence and the skill of stopping and diverting inner “tapes” when they turn self-destructive. Everyone knows this.
But if you’re not depressed, your inner voice can help you with all sorts of nice things.
Like when you’re washing your hair in the shower and your mind wanders. Some of the best stories come directly from heaven to Earth through shower nozzles. Ask any writer.
Some of my blog posts spring into my head in nearly final form while I’m sitting on the floor with my legs crossed planning to focus only on conscious, deliberate breathing.
Just as some academics are misguided in thinking that maleness is inherently evil, so some gurus are confused into believing that inner chatter is inherently negative.
It’s understandable. I’ll admit that my dog, Halo, avoids inner monologue assiduously and she’s the happiest person alive, but still, some of the spiritual and psychological advice I read regarding the inner voice can’t possibly apply to humans.
Not only do they imply that the inner voice is an unqualified negative to be abandoned for the eternal superficial concrete present moment, they also have the obtuseness to equate the inner voice with the total mind.
I’m sorry, but some of these experts are like a mouse with its head stuck in a coke bottle. Myopic but enjoying the flavor.
The inner voice is just a tiny part of the mind, gurus. Come on, the non-verbal parts are the iceberg below the surface. Things like:
1. Free will (the non-physical core). 2. Conscience (molded by the environment but innately sensing fairness). 4. Silent analysis of math, physics and ecosystems. 5. Autonomic and deliberate breathing. 6. Circadian timing of the body’s organ systems. 7. Consciously moving body parts. 9. Doing body-scan meditation. 11. Intuitive self-preservation (for instance, sensing that the guy leading your meditation group is more of a crooked cult leader than a loving mentor.)
That last one is significant to trusting souls like me…
I took a $2,000 online meditation class a few years back from a PhD claiming to be doing breakthrough scientific investigation, the goal of which was ongoing bliss. His success rate was through the roof, he said. And I was “special” for even reading his email ads. Gee.
In retrospect, some of the participants did find bliss by the halfway point. But I wouldn’t call it enlightenment because there were side effects not mentioned until after the money changed hands. After that, he discussed the side effects as if they were trifles and “perfectly normal,” a phrase he repeated often over the weeks as students shared their growing concerns.
Tell me, are these side effects normal?
1. Memory problems. 2. Loss of organizational skills to the point where “enlightened” people from the prior group had to use lists to keep track of simple everyday tasks. 3. Diminished interest in fiction of all types. 4. Loss of interest in other people’s lives and stories. “You’ll have to fake interest.” 5. The showstopper: those who achieve the highest level of ongoing enlightenment would experience the complete loss of emotion, including love.
Would a scientist fail to mention these details until after he had your money? I doubt it, but maybe the pop business literature of the 1980’s was right — suckers deserve to be fleeced. I doubt anyone reading this believes such Darwinian dogma, but who knows?
To be fair, I did sign many pages of legal docs that I didn’t read. The side effects of eternal bliss might have been listed there in the fine print, but it wouldn’t have made any difference because the legal papers were sent to us only after the good doctor had stashed our cash safely in his account.
Anyway, this next part is interesting. During the classes, there were always questions from the students about how one or another of the PhD’s ideas could be integrated into the concepts of other famous gurus.
The doctor’s answer? If you want bliss, such questions miss the point: Forsake all thinking and do the exercises.
“The mind,” he said, would only interfere with the highest possible human goal: obtaining a permanent blissful state of enlightenment. He had his own proprietary words for enlightenment, of course. But the mind must be turned off during this bliss-through-meditation process. We were building new neural pathways, after all. We needed only to stop thinking critically and follow his instructions to the letter.
And so I lay on my back in my bedroom with electrodes on my chest doing endless varieties of body-scanning type meditation, two hours and more each day for eight weeks. Plus online small group meetings and other assignments.
About that time (which was halfway through the course) one of the people in my subgroup on Google Hangouts reported serious memory problems that were getting worse.
Both of my parents died with significant dementia, as you may recall from other posts, so I have zero tolerance for memory loss. And now the “perfectly normal” side effects of this man’s bliss scheme appeared to be real.
I left the program quietly.
He later kicked me out of his Facebook group when, in response to his own request for feedback on how to improve the success rate, I suggested he might in effect pre-screen the participants by telling them the potential side effects of success before taking their money.
This was to imply that a PhD should act like a scientist not a drug dealer. I wish I’d said it that way.
Bottom line, I would never trade my memory, my love for fiction, or my interest in other people’s lives for ongoing bliss.
And I certainly wouldn’t risk my ability to love people. Not for anything. One day when I was a new Christian in a Church-run High School I experienced a sense of God’s love flowing through me to the other students. It was weird, probably the most joyful and meaningful experience of my life.
“Love is all and love is everyone. It is knowing, it is knowing.” – John Lennon
John was totally right about that. I’ll never give up hope of someday revisiting that feeling. I’d never trade the faintest hope of agape love for an emotionless, loveless life of ongoing zombie bliss. “No tanks, uh?”
Although self-love runs contrary to my upbringing, I also wouldn’t want to lose the ability to love myself, even if it feels wrong to say so — and it does. (Some people of my generation were taught that self love indicates there’s something terribly wrong with you. It sounds bizarre, I know, but “correct” thinking was 180 degrees different back then.)
I’m telling you all this to illustrate the danger and stupidity of turning off your mind’s critical thinking and logical objective analysis for the bliss offered by a guru or “bliss researcher.” Not that they’re all the same. I really don’t know. But in some cases, the bliss is real and the cost is your empathy and love. I suspect these methods rewire the circuitry of mirror neurons.
At any rate, the DNA Code Writer would not have gone to all the trouble of coding for the human brain and its transcendent access to free will if the ultimate purpose of humanity was to turn off the whole cognitive process for a flat-affect bliss that kills empathy like an opiate addiction.
I’d guess the severely depressed and suicidal among us might be tempted to trade almost anything for bliss. I don’t blame or shame them for it. Major depression is hell on Earth, often fatal. Don’t cast the first stone.
But I’m talking about seeking a higher spiritual path when your life is pretty much OK.
In that context, it’s unhealthy, stupid and dangerous to shut off your mind. All money hungry cult leaders demand that you stop thinking critically and fall in line. Usually they do it more subtly and artfully than my PhD friend with his little ongoing-bliss scam.
So be intelligently careful and balanced. If you’re depressed, use inner-silence meditation to deal with rumination. If you’re fine and seeking a more spiritual life, try inner-silence, slow breathing and yoga to discover the gap between your free-willed self and the brain-fixed aspects of your mind and body. Use your silent techniques to connect with your highly efficient subconscious creative talents. And probably I’ll meet you in a non-physical realm of agape love someday. Stranger things happen.
Imagine you’re like me and have a genetic variation in your D2 Dopamine receptor code which makes some aspects of “executive functioning” difficult. (I was always the last one to finish my lab work in Chemistry, Biochemistry, and General Physics — though I got the highest final score in Physics Lab, so I’m not claiming to be stupid.)
Anyway, you’ve got this D2 challenge in your brain, you do some reading and discover that organic velvet bean powder has L-dopa that might help you with things like working faster through cookbook recipes.
You buy some velvet bean powder, try it and, wow, you’re not only more efficient, your mood improves.
You should feel ecstatic, right?
But no, you’re vaguely suspicious because you’re a medical doctor. Professors and attendings have warned you that anecdotal evidence is worthless, and the placebo effect is ready and waiting to make a fool of you.
To avoid embarrassment, you decide you need a double-blinded, prospective clinical trial with a large number of test subjects and proper randomization. Anything less would be rubbish.
Fortunately, this is not a problem. You’re also a multi-billionaire who can fund a complete drug trial.
Of course, you didn’t get rich by ignoring opportunity. You plan to make money with these velvet beans.
Knowing that your problem starts with genetic D2 variation, common sense tells you to study a few thousand people who have the same genetic makeup.
But what about your target buyer? A businessperson looks there first.
From that perspective, you want the FDA approval to apply to as many people as possible so you can hand out genetically modified velvet bean pills to the broaderpublic and make more money.
You therefore choose the typical mainstream experimental design: Thousands of unselected participants taken in randomly and then randomized and blinded into trial and control groups. You’ll also blind the people administering the bean pills and placebos so no one can fault your study.
Ten years and 1.2 billion dollars later, the trial ends and the stats come back from the math geeks, those rare professionals who honestly understands statistics and can manipulate themdishonestly.
Despite their efforts, they bring you bad news. There is no statistical evidence that your patented velvet bean extract improves executive functioning or mood.
You go home and glare at your dog, then apologize with an organic carrot.
If you publish the paper, the entire world of mainstream MD’s, those smart women and men who don’t read the scientific literature or think for themselves because they’re too busy and frightened of lawsuits – those dedicated, exhausted people will hear from their educators, the drug reps, that velvet beans are rubbish. “This is just another example of the functional medicine quacks peddling snake oil.”
But you take organic velvet bean powder every day, it’s made a real difference. In the kitchen now, you’re turning out Molten Lava Cakes faster than the famous TV chefs. You feel more grounded and calm, too.
What should you do?
It’s obvious, isn’t it? Common sense tells you to go back and do a clinical trial using people with the D2 receptor issue, testing the organic velvet bean powder that works for you, not the GMO stuff your lab cooked up for megabucks.
Unfortunately, this common-sense approach rarely if ever happens in the real world. Negative studies like this are routinely published, and the mainstream fails to see the elephant-sized flaw in their assumptions: the human population is vastly more diverse than previously known at the genetic and biochemical level.
Genetic diversity is relevant to every branch of medicine because single nucleotide polymorphisms (genetic SNPs), like the one that affects my D2 receptors, create a huge diversity in disease susceptibility at the root-cause level, as well as a myriad of diversity in personal strengths and weaknesses within every system of the body.
From the central nervous system to the skin, genetic SNPs are the rule, not the exception. And science has hardly begun to uncover them all or understand their complex interplay across systems.
I have another common genetic SNP that reduces my ability to “detoxify” caffeine by about 60%.
With this knowledge, I’ve lowered my caffeine intake from several double mochas a day (at the VA Med Center years ago), to two cups of green tea per day. This reversed an unbearable sensation of vascular congestion in my legs. (n=1)
I also have a SNP that makes me inefficient at converting beta-carotene to vitamin A, a few SNPs that increase my need of several B vitamins for adequate methylation to keep my homocysteine levels down, and numerous others that I won’t bore you with. But despite all my SNPs, I’m still quite healthy for 63 year-old man.
The thing is, genetic SNPs are so common, you yourself almost certainly have at least one, more likely a handful. So it’s irrational for researchers to lump you into a huge unselected “normal” population when they’re testing something. And it’s misinformed and lazy for MD’s, however busy they are, to ignore your SNPs and follow cookbook-official protocols when treating you. They need to read more broadly and act with integrity even if it costs them.
Genetic diversity is why functional medicine, imperfect as it is, will become central to mainstream medical care someday. The establishment will change the name from functional medicine to something they haven’t already disparaged.
Currently, they say functional medicine is not evidence-based. In some ways that’s true.
But when it comes to reversing chronic disease rather than just controlling its progression, functional medicine is more evidence-based than mainstream medicine because it uses personal genetic data that the mainstream ignores.
Moreover, it understands the elephant-sized flaw in the mainstream’s large clinical debunking trials.
“Remember how electrical currents and ‘unseen waves’ were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy.” – Albert Einstein.
Slow deep breathing shunts blood to the prefrontal cortex and the subjacent pleasure center on the left. Science can tell us this much, but it cannot detect the non-physical field of free will interfacing with the brain.
When science leaps in faith beyond its self-imposed physical limitations and denies the existence of free will and all else non-physical, it is like a man who has refused to open his eyes since birth, declaring now that all vision is an illusion. He, being superior to the uneducated in intellect, insight, courage and integrity, stands alone as willing to face the difficult and oppressive truth that human vision is a false, meaningless illusion.
Science must learn to admit the obvious: it has chosen materialism, to be blind to the non-physical realm and all evidence of its existence, including the most obvious, free will.
While this choice persists, science cannot claim to be informed about the realm it ignores, much less pose as an infallible anti-spiritual authority in Western textbooks and classrooms.
The Wim Hof method of life improvement through hyperventilation, breath holding and cold exposure has gone mildly viral, but until I googled “Wim Hof and headaches,” I thought I would be the first to mention a headache connection.
Mr. Hof is no joke, by the way, though he comes across as happier and more enthusiastic than our jaundiced society allows. For this, some call him crazy.
But he’s not above reproach, either. Who is? He makes a few over-the-top claims. For instance, he’s made medical claims that jerk the black-and-white chains of professional skeptics whose logic casts out the baby with the ice water at the slightest provocation.
But many scientists, journal gatekeepers, and healthcare providers depend on the “incurable” adjective. And they’re human. Where would they all go if, for instance, type 2 diabetes disappeared along with a few of the most common cancer types? How can anyone expect them to be objective about feeding their children?
I’m afraid I’m not.
So let the skeptics howl while the rest of us avoid their binary thinking. We’d be nuts to write off Wim Hof for simply being as excitable and capable of exaggeration as most of the rest of us.
You probably know he’s earned many world records for things like sitting in ice water for roughly 2 hours and swimming a terrifically long distance under surface ice, once overshooting the exit hole and nearly drowning.
He recalls no fear of dying during the incident and now says he has no baseline fear of death. That’s fascinating and probably important. Who knows?
Under medical supervision, a few brave scientists injected him with toxic bacterial antigens, waited, then drew his blood for analysis. It showed a lack of the expected spike of inflammatory markers. He had no fever and felt no flu-like symptoms.
Wondering if Wim was unique in this ability to suppress inflammatory markers, they had him train a dozen new students for 2 weeks, then tested them.
The students’ bloodwork showed a low inflammatory response compared to controls, and they reported less intense flu-like symptoms.
And as if destiny wanted to remove all suspicion that Wim has “superhuman” talent, the man has an identical twin with no unusual cold tolerance.
Another group of scientists put Wim in an MRI scanner wearing a cold-immersion bodysuit. This was fascinating. They found peculiar activity in his insula and the periaqueductal gray areas of his brain. Also, he had increased glucose metabolism in his intercostal muscles.
I’d like to know if he was panting. I vaguely remember a video clip of him panting in a tub of ice, but I can’t find it now.
It’s safe to say that Wim Hof’s path to “health, strength, and happiness,” has a few credible underpinnings in physiology. And there’s also the “life-changing” effects asserted by his raving students.
Unfortunately, the body is too complex for our hyper-segregated sciences to explain the morphologic, physiologic, biochemical, epigenetic and genetic details of anything much beyond conditions like sickle-cell anemia, but an obvious feature of Wim’s achievements is human antifragility, a counterintuitive response that includes hormesis, the beneficial middle-dose of something toxic or even lethal at higher exposures.
Oh dear, I hope the medical thought police don’t revile me for suggesting there’s hope of preventing such lucrative diseases through simple hormesis.
Anyway, in the Wim Hof method, the hormesis comes from hypoxia and cold exposure, either of which might kill you at too high an exposure.
What doesn’t kill us wakes us up, it seems.
Since my first breath-holding ocean dive (with no wetsuit) at Shell Beach, California, age 12, I’ve loved holding my breath — just for the relaxation and clarity of mind it brings. As we know, the mammalian diving response kicks in, shunting blood to the brain, lungs and heart.
What a fortunate setup for anyone living on a water planet, though! Who do I thank?
Later when I took SCUBA, I learned that by hyperventilating before breath-holding, I could stay down longer because huffing and puffing expels carbon dioxide and makes the blood less acidic. This shifts the oxygen dissociation curve to the left, allowing the red blood cells to deliver more of their oxygen to the tissues, giving us the feeling that hyperventilation supersaturates the blood with oxygen. It doesn’t as far as science can so-far determine.
It’s also true that CO2 buildup in the blood provides us with the urge to breathe. That’s why blowing it off in hyperventilation lets you stay down longer before air thirst forces you up for a breath.
This scenario is dangerous, though, because hyperventilation can make you pass out and drown — as can hypoxia.
I urge you not try hyperventilation in the water. Wim Hof says to do it lying down. (Far from a pool or bathtub, I’d add.)
And here’s another caveat: too much hypoxia causes brain damage, depression and dementia. We know this from studying sleep apnea, a common ailment that’s vastly underdiagnosed and contributes to a truckload of human misery. So “moderation in all things” is the faithful heuristic. And for the careful, swimming underwater in the cold (without hyperventilation) wakes up the mind and makes you feel sharp as a tack.
Since life on Earth was intelligently designed, our bodies keep us fully conscious and awake under water because the alternative tends to be fatal. Whoever wrote this planet’s genetic codes must have designed life around water and decided that we would hold our breath and spear cold-water fish during the ice ages. This would have the side effect of providing a diet rich in marine oils to supply DHA to our brains which are predominantly lipid and heavy with DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.
Periodic ice ages awaken humanity’s epigenetic adaptations to cold, it seems, switching on genes that become dormant during warmer eras. Activating our “cold-shock” genes to produce cold-shock proteins renders us not merely cold-resistant, but antifragile to cold. We don’t merely survive the ice ages, we thrive — mentally, physically, emotionally and probably spiritually.
We’ve all seen clear evidence of this in the ancient megalithic structures on most continents — evidence the mainstream detests because it falls outside their “gradualism” dogma of all history.
Nevertheless, since the Younger-Dryas event ended the last ice age about 11,600 years ago, our species has forgotten the value of God’s latent gift of cold-adaptive epigenetics. Fortunately, Wim Hof and a few scientists are rediscovering it, uncovering what may be a human capacity for broad volitional immune regulation and substantial mood management.
Some of this magic results from the “mammalian diving response.” It’s a well-studied physiologic mechanism that shunts blood to vital organs, as I mentioned. This includes the brain’s center of higher decision making, the prefrontal cortex, which is close to a quasi-pleasure center located just below the left prefrontal region.
It would seem that Earth’s DNA Code Writer has worked to keep us alive, healthy, happy and eating cold-water fish with our broccoli sprouts.
“The God Hypothesis is now a more respected hypothesis than at any time in the last 100 years.” — Frederic Bradford Burnham, PhD.
I haven’t taken the Wim Hof course, as yet, but I’ve watched enough relevant YouTube videos to know the basics, and I’ve been doing an easy version of cold exposure and hyperventilation-with-breath-holding for five months now, several times a week. In my view, Wim Hof is onto something big with the potential to help many of us, not just my fellow headache sufferers. But let’s be careful not to over-do the hypoxia aspect.
Although I’m not quite as predisposed to euphoria now as when I was younger, I do feel exhilarated after a cold shower, and mentally sharp with temporary mood elevation after the intermittent hyperventilation and hypoxia.
By the way, if you try cold showers, consider my method. I’m careful not to let my subconscious mind learn to hate the whole experience. To me, this principle of catering to the subconscious is a key to sustaining purpose with anything that requires discomfort and ongoing effort.
Here’s how I avoid hating cold shower…
First I step back out of a hot shower, turning the knob all the way cold. Then I put one part of myself into the shower at a time. I stay in the cold spray for seven breaths, step out and warm up for a few breaths then rotate another section of me into the cold.
In the past I’ve tried cold showers by sudden immersion and wound up avoiding the whole process after a few weeks, having never consciously decided to stop. It seems that when anything is judged by the subconscious self to be too uncomfortable, we avoid it reflexively without conscious deliberation. In this way, the subconscious mind makes many decisions about survival. We see this happening with hunger avoidance, cold avoidance, pain avoidance, and the avoidance of believing things that will bring us rejection by our peers and bosses.
There’s good scientific evidence now that cold showers should improve most people’s health and well-being, but the most unexpected thing for me was the headache remedy.
I’ve had headaches all my teen and adult life, originally caused by something in fresh fruit (probably fructose) or in my 30’s by caffeine withdrawal.
Nowadays, my headaches come mainly from eating a little naturally occurring sucrose in my low-carb, circadian diet. (Sucrose or “table sugar” is half fructose, so that may be the primary cause of my headaches now.) Incidentally, the low-carb, circadian diet brings me mental clarity like nothing else ever has.
I’ve had about 12 headaches (all associated with “natural” sucrose intake) since I’ve been doing my easy version of the Wim Hof method. Each headache has vanished after hyperventilation and breath holding, usually after 4 or 5 cycles. That’s 12 our of 12!
Cold exposure doesn’t seem to affect my headaches, though at least one observant writer describe evidence that “cryotherapy” of this sort might prevent migraine headaches by reversing the low norepinephrine levels found in migraine sufferers.
Also, it may be noteworthy that at least one anecdotal report has surfaced of a headache appearing after doing the Wim Hof technique.
One size rarely fits all in biology. Perhaps it’s tangentially relevant that when I’m trying to get rid of a headache, it sometimes feels worse during the hyperventilation phase, diminishes during the breath holding, and then vanishes after several cycles.
My last headache inspired me to write this article. It woke me at 5:30 AM pounding in my skull. It felt like one of the monster headaches that lasts all day and brings nausea.
I did the usual 4 cycles of Wim Hof hyperventilation and breath holding and although the pain diminished, it quickly came back. Not willing to give up and waste the entire day in pain, I kept at it, hyperventilating more and more vigorously and holding my breath longer and longer as my heart chugged in my chest. Finally, after about 12 intense cycles, the pain vanished completely and never came back, not even a dull ache.
Dude! Thank you, Wim Hof.
I speculate that the diving reflex, while shunting blood to my central nervous system as designed, also sent blood flowing swiftly through my scalp where the nerve endings for headache are thought to reside, diluting out vicious chemicals released by mast cells. These chemicals were causing vasoconstriction and pain while signaling for inflammatory cells to rush in.
And because I treated the headache early in its course, I postulate that the inflammatory cells that would have migrated in, set up shop and made the headache a full-day affair never had time to arrive in significant numbers.
Of course, not all headaches have the same pathophysiology. What stops mine might not touch yours, and might even make yours worse. But the Wim Hof Headache Fix is worth a try if you suffer headaches. Just promise me you won’t hyperventilate near water, pass out and drown, OK?
I wish I’d had the Wim Hof Headache Fix when I was a highschool boy lying in bed on Sunday afternoon in my dorm room in throbbing pain, praying to God for relief and assuring him that I understood if this wasn’t the time for a miracle.
And I wish scientists weren’t so quick to shout down everything that moves contrary to their “knowledge.”
Science has historically made quantum leaps by seeking the unexpected, the weird and impossible. It’s tragic that many scientists today express pride in their skepticism. It would serve us all if skepticism were a source of scientific shame.
And it doesn’t matter what’s new, weird, or improperly boxed, my generation of baby-boomer scientists will attack and viciously debunk it, often without studying the work they’re struggling to bury. For example…
The “fringe” evolutionist, Elaine Morgan’s theory that humans evolved from aquatic apes is rejected by mainstream evolutionists for purely emotional reasons, as best I can tell. The phrase, “aquatic apes,” doesn’t sound right to them regardless of the evidence.
The non-materialist research scientist, James Tour, makes an absolutely stunning case for intelligent design in origins theory, only to hear the materialist establishment reject his insight and expertise because they already “know” that life’s origins are mindless and meaningless.
Governmental officials team up with fighter pilots to show evidence that UFO’s are real, someone in our skies seems to have breakthrough technology, but academics remain invested in denial of anything beyond their insular, inbred boxes of narrow expertise.
I’m hoping that something will change with the next generation of scientists and thinkers.
Maybe the next team will value objectivity over skepticism.
Science could use their help right now.
Morrill Talmage Moorehead, MD
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