I’m sure you’ve heard of The Iceman by now – the crazy, old, Dutch man who does super human things like climbing Mt Everest in his jocks? If you haven’t heard of Wim Hof then it might be time to look into him and his world famous techniques.
I personally had seen him on TV years ago breaking yet another world record in freezing cold conditions and in the past few years have seen his ever-growing following on social media practicing his breathing techniques in ice baths all around the world. Most recently I came across a few podcasts that interviewed Wim and finally I was sold – Here’s a link where you can find a lot of the interviews he’s done with some of my fav podcasters like Lewis Howes, Tim Ferris, Joe Rogan and Russel Brand https://www.wimhofmethod.com/media
Why was I convinced to download his free app and start the Wim Hof Method? Well, I hope that you’ll click the link above to watch one of his videos or listen to one of the many podcasts which talks about his journey, his techniques and the new and exciting science that is coming out with it, but here a just a few reasons why I’m now ending my showers with cold water and basically hyperventilating in the mornings.
As it states on his website “Because we wear clothes and artificially control the temperatures at home and at work, we’ve greatly reduced the natural stimulation of our bodies, atrophying the age-old mechanisms related to our survival and basic function. Because these deeper physiological layers are no longer triggered, our bodies are no longer in touch with this inner power. The inner power is a powerful force that can be reawakened by stimulating these physiological processes through the Wim Hof Method.”
So basically, the comforts of our controlled, new age environments have made our bodies weaker and have lowered our immune systems. Wim and science have shown that by exposing the body to the cold, along with his breathing and meditation regime, you can greatly reduce the levels of proteins associated with the immune response. Studies have also revealed that his type of breathing practices (like hyperventilating) can temporarily suppress the innate immune response as well as temporarily increase heart rate and adrenaline levels.
One test in particular, injected an endotoxin (a toxic molecule) into subjects which resulted in flu-like symptoms but Hof showed no flu-like symptoms and had half as many cytokines (signalling proteins released by affected cells) than the others. What’s more is that Hof then trained some volunteers for a week and they too had little to no symptoms and lowered levels of cytokines, proving that his method works when it comes to strengthening the immune system.
So if you’re convinced and want to see a basic outline of the Wim Hof Method, here it is:
His method involves three “pillars” – cold therapy, breathing and meditation (similar to Tibetan Tummo meditation and yogic pranayama).
There are lots of variations of the breathing method but the basic version consists of these three phases…
- Controlled hyperventilation: The first phase involves 30 cycles of breathing. Each cycle goes as follows: take a powerful breath in, fully filling the lungs. Breathe out by passively releasing the breath, but not actively exhaling. Repeat this cycle at a steady pace thirty times. Hof says that this form of hyperventilation may lead to tingling sensations or light-headedness.
- Exhalation: After completion of the 30 cycles of controlled hyperventilation, take another deep breath in, and let it out completely. Hold the breath for as long as possible.
- Breath retention: When strong urges to breathe occur, take a full deep breath in. Hold the breath for around 15 – 20 seconds and let it go. The body may experience a normal head-rush sensation.
These three phases may be repeated for three consecutive rounds.
I strongly suggest however, that you take a look at his site and click the link above to get a more in-depth insight to his methods and download his free app (https://www.wimhofmethod.com/wim-hof-method-mobile-app) if you’re not already familiar.
For many of us, flu season is here and we should prevent catching the common cold (along with all other disease) and strengthen our immune systems through free and natural ways and this is one!
And remember, you don’t have to jump straight into and ice bath or sit and meditate, half naked in the snow. It’s all about training the body to adapt, so start small like me and finish your warm shower with some cold water and work on progressing with the amount time you stay under the cold. It’s also a great mental game and will strengthen the mind in so many ways as well!
Will you join the huge Wim Hof Method community around the globe? Let me know!
Enjoy the challenge and another way to becoming a healthier, happier version of you!