Myth or reality!!! Does the Wim Hof Method work?
ALL THE BENEFITS I HAVE NOTICED FROM MY DAILY PRACTICE OF THE WIM HOF METHOD.
I embarked on this amazing journey 2 years ago when I saw an article in a local newspaper about The Iceman, Wim Hof and his method. So intrigued at first I checked his website, listened to his interview on the “Joe Rogan podcast” and was immediately hooked. I started practicing with his guided breathing and this was swiftly followed by a full 10 weeks Fundamental course.
Two years down the line I am still practising daily and want to share the benefits I am experiencing.
CONSCIOUS BREATHING- I have become aware of my breathing!
I can still remember my first guided breathing, I lay on the sofa, listen to Wim hof’s instruction,…deeply in…and let it go, for 30 breaths and then held my breath. It was all a bit odd at first, not at all familiar. The second round felt better. Now the third round was such a memorable experience that it is still very vivid in my mind. It felt like I was experiencing an internal revolution, my hands were tingling, I could see flashing multicolored lights coming and going behind my eyes and mini lightning bolts going through my brain, I noticed also that my entire body and especially my cells were gently electrified, finally I experienced a pleasant light headed floating sensation as if my mind was leaving my body and gliding above me. I did not panic at the time as I had been warned that I would experience some very unusual sensations, so I went along with it..
Also on my first rounds my breath holding time was of 1, maximum 2 mins, but after a few sessions I could easily reach 3 mins.
Learn to breathe deep….and feel good.
After the first week of regular breathing practice I realized the importance of breathing, especially deep breathing, has on my levels of energy, on my attention span, on my endurance and my overall well being. This method is simple and efficient and the more you repeat it, the more you encode it in your neurology and the more aware you become of your breathing. So you become conscious of it and delight of all its benefits. This means you are going to teach your body to breath deep, be more and more aware of the importance of reaching deep into the lungs and to be able to fully reoxygenate your body on demand.
If you haven’t practised this WH breathing method, the best next step is to go to his website, www.wimhofmethod.com to try one of his courses.
Here is a succinct description
Breathe in deep and let it go.
Do this 30/40/50 times.
Then hold your breath for as long as is comfortable for you. At this stage you have raised your PH levels, so you can easily stay 1 min or more without air in your lungs.
When you feel the need to breathe
Take a deep breath in and hold it for 10 seconds. Then let go.
This is your first round!! Repeat this for 2 more rounds.
I NO LONGER FEAR THE COLD!
By regular cold exposure (cold baths, cold showers, cold air, etc) you increase your tolerance to the cold. This is a slow and gradual process where you teach your mind to let go, not think of the cold and to place your attention on your body and what it is supposed to do… which is to warm you up!
You also train your vascular system to contract and react to a cold exposure. The more you repeat this experience with daily cold showers (or baths), the more efficient your cardiovascular system will be at pumping the blood around. Considering that cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 killer in our modern society, it is of the utmost importance to start the cold water training as soon as possible.
This cold exposure also produces brown fat which is immediately used to warm your body up. As a new born baby we have lots of this brown fat to protect us from hypothermia. As we grow up in our modern societies we progressively lose the ability to produce this amazing substance to refuel our heating system because of our excessive clothing, heating or air conditioning, As Wim Hof says “ A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away”.
So start the training at home, after a warm shower always finish with 30 seconds of cold water and over time gradually increase until you start enjoying it and look forward to turning the dial to cold… I promise you, this will happen !! Then you are ready to go directly into a cold shower…. It took me about six weeks of daily practice to start enjoying the cold shower and now I can step into cold water or even an icy bath without a thought. So this cold training gave me more control over my mind.
Last year I even participated in a charity swim on boxing day in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland. The water was approximately 6 degrees Celsius. This became a family event as my son, my daughter and her boyfriend, joined me for this invigorating experience.
All the family ready for the Carlingford swim….
SAY BYE, BYE, TO FEELING STRESSED!
Just after starting this method I got offered a job in a private school as an assistant PE for their primary section. I accepted the position and started my teaching, not realising how demanding 25 screaming little kids would be. During my first days I could feel the stress mounting up as the day went along, until I realised I was not breathing deep enough. So that’s what I did, as I walked through the corridors of the school, I would silently murmur in my mind, “ Deeply in,…and let it go”, and actually take a few deep breaths before welcoming my new lot of 25 new children all eager to run and jump and have fun. This worked a treat as I was able to control my stress just by breathing alone.
With daily WH practise, you learn to follow your breath and control your stress. This deep breathing and super oxygenation process makes you control all the stress hormones, adrenaline, cortisol, epinephrine, and that’s how you gain control over your body and mind. So when you are exposed to cold , heat, any emotional or physical stress, you are able to move your attention away from the prefrontal cortex to the insula ( which is the deep part of the brain that you engage during deep meditation) and this shift usually leaves you with a pleasant floaty feeling. This is often accompanied by a release of opiods thanks to the periaqueductal gray hemisphere originating from your reptilian brain. These opiods help in making you feel good,and experiencing this familiar euphoric sensation not dissimilar to the one you experience during exercising or running (Runner’s high!!). And after this I sleep like a baby.
NEVER GET SICK AGAIN…
I was brought up to fear cold, to never go out without a jacket, or with wet hair or barefoot and so on. All these rules which I am sure are familiar to you, did not prevent me from catching a cold, the flu, having a stomach ache or headaches, developing light eczema or many other little annoyances. So needless to say that, when I saw this Dutchman swimming in icy water I thought at first that he was totally mad. In starting the cold shower progressive training I immediately felt different and was almost looking forward to this challenge. Once I realized that I was gradually changing my mindset from fearing the cold to liking it, there was no stopping me, I was gone like a rocket…. I literally understood that I had changed my perception of the cold and this all happened with the power of my mind.
Now 2 years down the line, no aches or pains, no flu or colds, no more allergies or eczema, no more fatigue. All in fine working order and I have exceptional levels of energy.
In the last 10 years I have also suffered from old sports induced injuries that kept dragging on and on. Well, surprise surprise… with the cold exposure and the breathing techniques these old pains and aches have subsided tremendously and no longer stop me from any physical activity.
When you feel the cold or the heat and get out of your comfort zone with the Wim Hof method (WHM) you learn to tap into that mind/body connection and regain control over it. So by breathing deep and changing your focus you can willfully influence the bone marrow to activate T cell and B cell production and these, in turn, will fight any inflammation that is taking place in your body.
With this breathing method not only do you bring in more oxygen to your tissues to subside inflammation, but you also increase your adrenaline production which in turn will suppress inflammatory markers in your body.
THE MOST ENERGY AND STAMINA I’VE EVER HAD!
Increase your endurance to physical activity.
I love working out, and I get to slip into the gym every day at 6 am before work. I am 54, and over the last 15 years I have noticed a slow and steady decline in my performance. I was told this is normal …doctors said that this is age catching up with you….or after 50 it’s all downhill from there… Somehow I did not believe them …so I decided to change my mindset and believe that age is only a number. So when I read Wim Hof’s method, life story and philosophy I said to myself, “ at last there is a man that doesn’t talk about aging, and feeling ill, and limiting beliefs”. Instead his message was that we all have the innate capacity to thrive on life, to be energized and be strong, happy and healthy.
Ever since I started the WH guided breathing I can go on and on during my workouts. I oxygenate myself before, during and after physical exercise. The result is that any physical activity becomes more enjoyable, I can push myself a bit more whilst I am engaging in it, and the next day have no muscle pain. It’s a win win situation. What happens is that this deep breathing floods the muscle tissues with surplus O2, makes them more alkaline and in such an environment they perform more efficiently. At a cellular level the mitochondria is also surrounded by this excess of oxygen and does what it does best … produces more energy for you to use. It has literally increased my sports performance by a mile.
Check my underwater workout here.
CREATIVE AND CONNECTED LIKE A CHILD!
We all start life with a deep breath in and we all end it by releasing a last breath. As if our breath is our life force, capable of giving life but also removing it. I am more aware of my breathing and beyond the pure chemistry of the breath, I often contemplate this air moving throughout my entire body and giving me life. During my daily breathing exercises I visualize this life force gently moving from place to place and awakening all the creative centers of my brain. It’s almost as if it has allowed me to tap into my innate creativity, the one we have as a child, where you are so happy to draw, play an instrument, repeat a word in a foreign language or apply yourself to any new skill.
In the past year I have felt so creative, that I finally gathered the courage to start my own online business along with my website and connecting in all the major social media platforms. At the age of 54, with no previous computer or business background this was a big challenge. But I go through my day one deep breath at a time and after it all feels, looks and sounds good.
With the WHM and especially the breathing technique, I am able to make my internal chemistry more alkaline, accessing deep into the lymphatic system and cleaning it and releasing the bad chemistry and all negative feelings. It’s like cleaning the garbage from your house, you are left with a clean and inspiring place to start creating.
FEELING HAPPY AND HEALTHY ALL THE TIME.
The three pillars to the WHM are breath work, cold exposure and commitment. So following the tutorials of the WH fundamental 10 week course, I engaged daily in a WH guided breathing session, plus a cold exposure routine and some sort of meditation practise. The first and most obvious outcome is that I developed a profound mind & body connection. I have felt a sense of well being that starts in my brain and fills my entire body.. I am now able to tap into my autonomic nervous system and produce my own feel good hormones. This is free and always readily available… I love it !! All you need is to lie down in a safe and comfortable place and do the breathing. To quote The Iceman , “ Get high on your own supply”!!
I am no doctor and not a scientist either, but many studies show that this method could help people suffering from depression or anxiety.
Ultimately we are all seeking what’s the best path in life.
This amazing technique has opened my understanding of the huge power that resides in my mind (and yours) It has given me a life long wish to discover and work on the mind body connection. So exploring and pushing the limits of my mind, removing limiting beliefs and helping others is now my life mission. I have embarked on this wonderful journey, I am learning on a daily basis and enjoying every single day. I feel grateful and privileged to be able to take yet another breath. So, it has made me so aware that breathing is our own and unique gift that we carry with us every single moment of our life. I am only 54 and as you know I will live to 100 and I haven’t counted them yet, but that’s many breaths left… so join me on this trip of a lifetime.
Follow me on this journey to 100:
DISCLAIMER; The material on this post is for informational purposes only. As each individual situation is unique, you should use proper discretion, in consultation with a health care practitioner, before undertaking the protocols, diet, exercises, techniques, training methods, or otherwise described herein. The author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects that may result from the use or application of the information contained herein.
This wim hof breathing should be done laying down or sitting in a safe environment, not in water or close to water or whilst driving.