Dutch adventurer hosts workshops on withstanding extreme cold conditions

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ABC's Elizabeth Hur has the details on the icy workshops.

A Dutch adventurer who holds 26 world records for surviving death-defying feats, and earning the nickname Ice Man, now claims his ability to withstand extreme cold conditions can be taught.

It's something that's piqued the curiosity of scientists and draws hundreds of thousands of willing students to workshops around the world. One such workshop was recently held in Brooklyn.

On a sunny summer day, a dip in the pool sounds refreshing. But a closer look reveals pools filled with ice cubes. And the men and women enduring the cold are actually trainees, testing their endurance.

It's a method pioneered by Wim Hof, the self-proclaimed Ice Man.

"I'm be able to control the body through just the power of the mind," he said.

Wim was featured on ABC's 20/20 seven years ago, setting numerous records wearing just shorts and sandals. They included scaling the world's highest mountains, running an arctic marathon, and immersing himself in ice for 72 minutes. For most people, such extreme conditions are dangerous or even deadly.

"I know my body," he said. "I know my mind. I know what I can do."

But claiming that anyone can be trained to push the limits of human endurance may be a different story.

Wim now travels around the world, hosting workshops and teaching enhanced breathing and meditation techniques. He calls it the "Wim Hof Method," which he says can help people push through the pain and panic of high pressure scenarios.

"That's us, our body," he said. "That's our mind, and it's able to do that."

Scientists at Wayne State University are taking notice, studying the Wim Hof Method and telling ABC News in a statement, "He found a way to trick the brain into believing it's in a stress situation. The overall effect is that one does not feel cold, is euphoric and somewhat resistant to frost bite," adding, "It's up to each individual to decide whether it's useful or not."

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