5 reasons to try the Wim Hof Method!
I can still remember my first Wim Hof guided breathing session, I lay on the sofa, listening to the “Iceman’s ” instructions,…” deeply in…and let it go”…Although I was used to holding my breath underwater, this time it felt slightly odd at first, not at all what I was expecting!. The second round felt better. By the end of the third round, It felt like an internal revolution was happening, my hands were tingling, I could see multicoloured flashing lights coming and going behind my eyes and mini lightning bolts going through my brain. My mind was leaving my body and floating above me, that was surreal!. But, I did not panic and went along with it… fast forward 3 and half years of practice I feel ready to share my findings. In this blog, you will discover who the “Iceman “ is, how to practice this amazing breathing technique, and more to the point, my “ 5 reasons to try the Wim Hof Method ”. Sounds exciting, right!
SO WHO IS WIM HOF OR THE ICEMAN?
Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.
Using “cold, hard nature” as his teacher, his extensive training has enabled him to learn to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures.
A MAN ON A MISSION
Armed with his motto “what I am capable of, everybody can learn”, Wim Hof is convinced that everyone can tap into their inner potential without having to invest the same decades worth of study, travel and daring.
Wim has made it his mission to share what he’s learned with the rest of the world. And so he developed the Wim Hof Method: a combination of breathing, cold therapy and commitment that offers a range of benefits.
With his Wim Hof Method, he teaches people from all over the world, from celebrities and professional athletes, to people of all ages, to control their body & mind and achieve extraordinary things.
WIM HOF’S EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENTS
“The Iceman” Wim Hof has not only helped advance scientific understanding but also accomplished extraordinary feats of human endurance, including 21 Guinness World Records. Below are some of his most memorable achievements.
- Running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle, barefoot only wearing shorts
- Swimming underneath ice for 66 meters
- Hanging on one finger at an altitude of 2,000 meters
- Climbing the highest mountains in the world while wearing only shorts
- Running a full marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking
- Standing covered in ice cubes in a container for extended periods of time
- Shown scientifically, that the autonomous nervous system related to the innate immune response, can be willfully influenced, something that was previously unknown to science
Now here’s the most important part!
WIM HOF BREATHING METHOD! GIVE IT A TRY!
Wim Hof Method breathing is simple and easy — everyone can do it! Just follow the steps below. We recommend practising right after waking, or before a meal when your stomach is still empty. Note that WHM breathing can affect motor control and, in rare cases, lead to loss of consciousness. Always sit or lie down before practising the techniques. Never practice whilst piloting a vehicle, or in or near bodies of water.
Step 1: Get Comfortable
Assume a meditation posture: sitting, lying down — whichever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction.
Step 2: 30-40 Deep Breaths
Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Be conscious of your breath, and try to fully connect with it. Inhale deeply through the nose or mouth, and exhale unforced through the mouth. Fully inhale through the belly, then chest and then let go unforced. Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short, powerful bursts. You may experience light-headedness and tingling sensations in your fingers and feet. These side effects are completely harmless.
Step 3: The Hold
After the last exhalation, inhale one final time, as deeply as you can. Then let the air out and stop breathing. Hold until you feel the urge to breathe again.
Step 4: Recovery Breath
When you feel the urge to breathe again, draw one big breath to fill your lungs. Feel your belly and chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 15 seconds, then let go. That completes round number one. This cycle can be repeated 3-4 times without interval. After having completed the breathing exercise, take your time to bask in the bliss. This calm state is highly conducive to meditation — don’t hesitate to combine the two.
Breathing bubble; Start breathing with the Iceman himself!
What does the Wim Hof method do?
The Wim Hof Method is a combination of meditation, breathing exercises, and exposure to cold that can help you regulate your stress levels.
Is Wim Hof Method good before bed?
As such, the Wim Hof Method acts as a natural sleep aid. People who practiced the Wim Hof Method report many benefits, such as better sleep, better focus, more energy and stress reduction. When you regularly experience sleeping problems, the Wim Hof Method is a great way to improve your sleep.
Can cold showers help you sleep?
An ice-cold shower helps the body to relax, which reduces anxiety and soothes tired muscles. This slows the heart rate, releases unwanted tension and heightens feelings of comfort and rest. When it comes to sleep quality, cold showers are best kept for the mornings.
Do cold showers help lose belly fat?
Ice baths and cold showers can activate the brown adipose fat and muscles. Once activated, they release two hormones: irisin and FGF21. These hormones then burn white fat tissue and help you lose weight.
5 REASONS TO TRY THE WIM HOF METHOD! MY EXPERIENCE.
1- LEARN TO LOVE THE COLD PRACTISING THE WIM HOF METHOD!
Mallorca is not known for its harsh winters, but during the coldest months ( December, January and February) the air temperature can drop to 2/3ºC at night and the sea temperature to 12ºC. So over the last 3 and half years, I have exposed my body to these conditions with daily cold showers and weekly swims in the sea to gradually increase my tolerance to the cold. This is a slow and sometimes painful process where you teach your mind to let go, not think of the cold and instead to place your attention on what your body is trained to do… yes!!! To warm you up!
Subsequently, you get to train your vascular system to contract and react to cold exposure. The more you repeat this experience with daily cold showers, ice baths or cold water swims, the more efficient your cardiovascular system will be at pumping the blood around. Considering that cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer in our modern society, it is of the utmost importance to start cold water training as soon as possible.
Here’s the thing, ice baths and cold showers can activate the brown adipose fat, which in turn burns white fat tissues and can help you lose weight. New born babies come to this world already well equipped with copious amounts of brown fat to protect them from hypothermia. As we grow up and become busy adults, living in overheated apartments, wearing too much clothing, we progressively lose the ability to produce this amazing substance to refuel our heating system. So what’s the answer?
Wim Hof says “ A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away”. So start the training at home, after a warm shower always end up with 30 seconds of cold water and over time gradually increase until you begin enjoying it and look forward to turning the dial to cold… I promise you, this will happen !! Then you will be 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. This cold training gave me more control over my mind.
A cold shower is also ideal to stimulate the brown fat-producing cells as they are usually located around your neck, chest, back and shoulders. I have managed to enrol my family in this crazy but healthy habit, so now it’s your turn!
2- 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 teaching, not realising how demanding 25 screaming little kids would be. During my first week, I could feel the stress mounting up to such levels that I had difficulty taking a deep full breath.
And that’s when it clicked in my mind, I had my answer, I had to take deep breaths as often as possible. 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 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.
Of course, this is not the way I recommend you practise the Wim hof method. My ritual starts just after I awake, I sit cross legend, and do 5 to 8 rounds of breathing.
With daily WH practise, you learn to follow your breath and control your stress. This deep breathing and super oxygenation process make 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 opioids thanks to the periaqueductal grey hemisphere originating from your reptilian brain. These opioids 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. Really you can’t afford not to give it a go!
3- NEVER GET SICK AGAIN…WITH THE WIM HOF METHOD
I was brought up to fear getting 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, when I saw this Dutchman swimming in icy water, I thought at first that he was totally mad.
It all changed when I started my 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 enjoying 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 3 and half 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.
But that’s not all! 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 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.
4- THE MOST ENERGY AND STAMINA I’VE EVER HAD!
I love working out, and pre covid, I used to slip into the gym every day at 6 am before work. I am 55, 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… Does this sound familiar?
Somehow I did not believe them …so I decided to change my mindset and believe that age is only a number. So much so that I have made a conscious decision to Live to 100! And when I read about the Wim Hof method, his life story and philosophy I said to myself, “ at last, there is a man who doesn’t talk about ageing, feeling ill and limiting beliefs”. Instead, his message was that we all have the innate capacity to thrive in 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 there is 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 are also surrounded by this excess of oxygen and do what they are designed to do … produce more energy for you to use. It has literally increased my sports performance by a mile.
5 – FEELING HAPPY & CREATIVE LIKE A CHILD.
We all start life with a deep breath and end it by releasing a last long breath. Breath is our life force, capable of giving us life but also removing it. Now more than ever I am aware of my breathing way beyond the pure chemical aspect of breathing. I often contemplate this air moving throughout my entire body feeding my every cell 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 parts of my brain. This combination of breathing and visualizing has allowed me to tap into my innate creativity, the very same one I had as a child. It has given me back this childish enthusiasm to learn new things and be happy to wander out of my comfort zone.
Beyond that, this breathing technique will help you make your internal chemistry more alkaline, and reach deep into your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system, part of your immune system, has many functions. They include protecting your body from illness-causing invaders, maintaining body fluid levels, absorbing digestive tract fats and removing cellular waste. Think about it another way! It’s like removing the trash from your house, it has to be done every day, so you are left with a clean and inspiring place to start creating.
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 to do is to lie down in a safe and comfortable place and do the breathing. To quote The Iceman, “ Get high on your own supply”!!
So now it’s your turn! I have left some free links down below to get you started! If you want to know more about the benefits of the wim hof method, check this link
MY TAKE ON THE WIM HOF METHOD!
One of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from practising the Wim hof method has to do with attitude and mindset! It has been a lifesaver during those long and hard lockdown periods. This amazing technique has helped me uncover the huge power that resides in my mind (and yours too). It has given me a life long wish to discover and work on this almost mystical mind-body connection. I’ve learned that we are a lot more capable than we believe ourselves to be and that there is a lot to gain from pushing past our comfort zone.
What’s more, this is now my daily mission, to explore the limits of my mind, push through my limiting beliefs, learn new skills, enjoy every moment as it is and help as many people as I can along my journey to 100. I feel happy, grateful and privileged to be able to take yet another breath. It has made me so aware that breathing is a gift that we carry everywhere with us all the time. I am only 55 and as you know I am going to live to 100 (or more) and I haven’t counted them yet, but that’s many breaths left…
That’s all for today, take care my friends, until next week.
Smart Living To 100
PS. Last year I have started learning new skills to help me embrace this digital era. For those that are interested, I have left here a link to click, for some Free video series to learn the huge potential this digital economy has to offer.
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.