6 Horrible (But Real) Ways To Teach Your Body Superpowers
At any given moment, a good percentage of the internet these days is devoted to "body hacks" -- little-known ways to trick your body into doing awesome things it normally wouldn't do. The good news is that some of those techniques really work, as proven by science. The bad news? Everything else about them.
If you break your phone trying to get it to play old Nintendo games, you can always buy a new one. But if you break your body with one of the following "hacks," it's slightly harder to replace it. So please, don't try this crazy shit.
Improve Your Memory ... By Burning Yourself
Have something you desperately need to remember? Well, there's a surefire way to make sure you don't forget it. Unfortunately, it involves actual fire (or anything dangerously hot).
A study done at Northwestern University made the astonishing discovery that people tend to remember instances when they've felt a great amount of pain. However, this goes further than you might suspect. Pain can help you remember tiny, inconsequential details years down the road (which seems convenient for revenge-seeking purposes). The researchers had 31 masochistic souls look at everyday objects while enduring varying degrees of heat pain, ranging from "Hey, ouch" to "MOTHERFU--"
Remember, kids: If the crazy pyromaniac in class could get his project approved and funded, anything is possible.
The participants were given a test to see how well they could recall what they saw. Initially, they could recall about the same, regardless of whether they were in pain or not -- but then the researchers waited one year and asked them again. After the participants had finished yelling in terror upon seeing the researchers' faces again (we're guessing), it turned out that objects seen at the highest end of the pain threshold were recalled much more easily than those at the lower end of the scale. As the scientists put it in the abstract to their study and in the lyrics to the industrial rock album we hope they recorded, "pain significantly enhanced memory."
"I'll never forget the day we met. She, beautiful in her summer dress. I, literally on fire."
So there you have it. If you're the type of person that has trouble remembering people's names, just carry a lighter with you and be prepared to whip it out during introductions. If nothing else, it will ensure that they remember you. [Editorial Note: Please do not do this.]
Enhance Your Mood (With Unprotected Sex)
The consequences of unprotected sex can range from afternoon-ruining to life-ruining to life-ending. This might explain why nature decided to turn the act itself into a powerful antidepressant so we'd have a(nother) reason to keep doing it.
In a study done at State University of New York, it was found that college women who were doing the four-legged polka without benefit of condoms showed fewer signs of depressive behavior than those who used condoms regularly or abstained from sex. Why? Because semen is only about three percent sperm. The rest includes mood-elevating compounds like endorphins, estrone, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin. Men walk around with tiny Prozac factories in their pants, it turns out.
"You were terrible."
Since the tissue in lady parts is some of the most absorbent in the body, sex without protection is the most effective way of getting those compounds into the body. This also means that no, the effect won't be as strong if the semen finds its way into the organism through any other ... means. Mother Nature thought of everything, the clever bastard.
But the important thing is that it freaking works. Unprotected sex among college students is considered risky behavior, and thus it would be logical to associate it with all the other things that go with that, like suicidal thoughts. But the opposite happens. Of the women in the study who said they always used condoms, 20 percent said they had suicidal thoughts. When it came to the "sometimes used condoms" group, the number dropped to 7 percent. And the "never used condoms" group? 5 percent. So yeah, either the researchers are onto something or New York condoms are soul-crushingly terrible.
OK, mystery solved.
Worried About Getting A Cold? Get A Shitload Of Tattoos
Most of us deal with getting a cold by skipping work, downing some OJ, and watching daytime TV until our organism spontaneously decides to get better. However, there's a better solution. No, not "using medicine like a responsible adult person." We meant getting several tattoos.
"Like my new tat? It says 'Away, Cold' because I'll never get sick again. Anyway, got a mirror?"
Having multiple tattoos can boost your immune system in a way that is similar to vaccination, but somehow even more metal than voluntarily injecting diseases into your bloodstream. The key here is that getting a single tattoo is in fact bad for you. The researchers collected saliva samples of 29 volunteers before and after they got tattoos, some for the first time and some as return customers. After getting the ink done, the first-timers had lower levels of immunoglobulin A -- one of the substances your body produces to fight infections like the common cold. Yes, getting one tattoo fucks you up so badly that it messes with your body chemistry.
However, immunoglobulin A levels were much higher on people who already had tattoos. The study claims that because multiple tattoo owners have gone through this experience many times, their bodies learn to compensate for the trauma by boosting their defenses, which has the side effect of making them less likely to be sneezy all day. It's like instead of getting one flu shot, you got thousands of little ones that left some pictures to remember them by.
Alternatively, your body is compensating for all the time you spend sitting there shirtless.
Before you go visit your favorite tattoo parlor to get ready for the colder months, though, we should note that at least one expert has called bullshit on this study. Then again, if you have lots of tattoos, you're already familiar with making poor decisions. [Editorial Note #2, from the desk of the Cracked editor with 14 tattoos: Hey, fuck you.]
Amputees Can Skate And Play Hockey More Easily
Ever heard the expression "Man, that guy plays hockey like an amputee"? No? Never? OK, well, we're pretty sure someone's said it -- and whether they knew it or not, that's a compliment.
Hockey is a physically demanding sport that puts a lot of pressure on your ankles ... and the most efficient way to avoid that is to simply not have ankles in the first place. If you have feet, you might have noticed that you can move them both horizontally and vertically. In hockey, however, horizontal foot movements are an inconvenience, since they can cause ankle pain and tears. Unfortunately, you don't always control which way your feet will move when you've got six angry guys ramming you.
In fact, this game is bad for every part of your body.
Well, players with prosthetic legs don't have this problem. Not only is there less fatigue where the nonexistent body parts would be, but the body parts they do have absorb the stress way better, since those muscles tend to be bigger. It's the difference between trying to pick up a cinder block with a couple of pieces of twine and lifting it with an excavator.
And then there's the fact that for people with prosthetic legs, ice skating is easier than walking (it takes a low amount of energy to glide by). It's probably for these reasons that amputee hockey isn't a fringe sport -- the U.S., Canada, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Israel, and others all have national teams.
It's a sport where nobody needs feet to kick your ass.
Bloodletting Could Help Prevent Heart Disease And Staph Infection
One of the dodgiest "medical" practices of yesteryear was bloodletting, wherein doctors/barbers would let you bleed for a while and hope that whatever was ailing you would sort of seep out of your body sooner or later. Most of the time, this only succeeded in killing your disease when it also killed you.
"Look how rosy his cheeks are! He's getting healthier! Wait, no, that's blood spatter."
Shockingly, when it comes to a couple of conditions, those ancient quacks may have been on to something. (Please note the "may" in that sentence.)
First, a German study found that obese people with metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms which put you at risk for heart disease) could benefit from a few extended bleeding sessions. Which makes sense when you think about it -- if you have less blood to pump in your body, you have lower blood pressure. This, the researchers believe, could reduce their chances of not only heart disease but also stroke and diabetes. Before you add that knife set and those Band-Aids to your Amazon wish list, keep in mind that this is only a preliminary study, and nothing has been heard about it since 2012.
It is our responsibility to assume everyone involved was a vampire.
A proposed treatment was to get the patients to donate blood ... but that's not something they could do with this next disease unless they're dicks. A study at the University of Chicago indicated that bleeding also reduces risk of staphylococcus infections. You see, staph gets around by using the iron in your blood the same way your loser friend uses your couch: by kinda hanging out there until your body gets tired and kicks it out. In the meantime, it can cause serious, life-threatening infections (also like your friend).
However, if you have no couch because you drained it through your veins (OK, this couch analogy is getting out of our hands), the staph will leave before it can cause any damage. At most, it will steal your coasters.
Castration Can Make You Live Longer
Hey men, want to live longer? All it takes is one simple procedure which for some reason Men's Health has neglected to mention. It's called "castration."
The human testicles produce testosterone (and now we get the name), but the sad fact is that this isn't the greatest thing for health. Testosterone is an immune suppressor, which is why men get sick more often than women and end up getting shortchanged on the whole "lifespan" thing. It might also be the reason men are at higher risks of heart disease. Your balls aren't making you sick, but they're making it harder for you to get healthy -- the ungrateful shits, after all the love and care you've given them.
The male gender in a nutshell.
This is why historical eunuchs and animals that have been castrated tend to live longer than their berry-tangling counterparts. The eunuchs actually outlived nard-havers by as much as 20 years. However, the science isn't 100 percent clear on this. A study done on castrated mental patients found that balls-less-ness did indeed increase lifespan, but another done on castrated male singers (which, holy shit, is that still a thing?) contradicted that.
So maybe hold off on cutting off on your coin purse -- unless, of course, you're young enough and you seriously want to be able to hit the high note at Mariah Carey karaoke. (After all, one can only sing Old Dirty Bastard's part of the remix of "Fantasy" so many times.)
When not writing for Cracked, Mike Garowee works on a dairy farm in New Hampshire.
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