Author of the week
If you’ve seen Scott Carney jogging in Denver this winter, you probably remember him, said Lulu Garcia-Navarro in NPR.org. The 38-year-old investigative journalist makes a habit of running shirtless in sub-freezing temperatures because he believes exposure to extreme cold dramatically boosts health. Carney is a piker, though, compared with the man who made him a believer. Four years ago, Carney flew to Poland to meet with Dutch fitness guru Wim Hof, expecting to write a story debunking Hof’s claim that by submerging himself in ice water, he had gained control over his body temperature and immune system. Instead, Hof taught Carney some breathing exercises and forced him to stand in snow barefoot. Within five days of such training, the former skeptic could last an hour, and he’d also shed several pounds of fat.
Carney’s new book, What Doesn’t Kill Us, opens with a long disclaimer. The message: Don’t try any of the stunts described without a doctor’s approval. But Carney has now climbed Mount Kilimanjaro shirtless, and he’s come around to Hof’s view that exposure to cold strengthens muscles in the cardiovascular system and perhaps can cure rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic ailments. Saying as much is tricky territory for a journalist who has often warned against charlatans’ phony health promises, said Josiah Hesse in Vice.com. “I’m not saying medicine is dumb and we should all just take cold showers,” Carney says. And to his credit, he admits the first plunge into snow or ice water delivers no instant high. “Of course it’ll hurt,” he says. “I’m not going to sugarcoat that for people.” ■