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Successfully running through hot coals: role of the CNS and PNS

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How does your Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System play a part in allowing people to run barefoot over hot coals?

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Running barefoot over hot coals not only involves the central and peripheral nervous systems, but also takes advantage of the physics of the situation. Thermal energy diffusion between two bulk structures, i.e., the coals and the tissue of the foot, is not an immediate process, but requires a finite period of time. As a consequence, if the cooler structure is in contact with the warmer structure for a time period much shorter than that required for thermal transfer, significant heating of the cooler ...

Solution Summary

Successful running through hot coals requires control of anxiety, suppressing sympathetic nervous system activity, allowing better gait control, and reducing anxiety caused enhancement of noxious stimulation transmission at multiple levels in the nervous system. This solution expands upon this topic and provides detailed explanations on the physiology of trained hot coal walkers.