The Wim Hof Method

Who is Wim Hof?

Wim Hof aka “The Iceman”, broke a number of records related to cold exposure. He climbed the Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, ran a half marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, and stood in a container while covered with ice cubes for almost 2 hours.

‘The cold is my only master, the cold is my only teacher’ — Wim Hof

Wim hof about his journey: “Like many, I was in a soul search. I tried al kinds of esoteric disciplines. Then one day I felt attracted to the cold water. I’m going in, ice water, for 30 seconds, then some minutes. I start feeling the connecting within.”

“The answer is in the body and the brain together, and cold water triggered this. When I go in the cold water regularly, I become conscious. My breathing pattern changed. When I changed my breathing pattern was when the magic begins.”

Achievements of Wim Hof

  • 26 Guinness World Records
  • 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, like Mount Everest, in the world while wearing shorts
  • Running a full marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking
  • Standing in a container while covered in ice cubes for extended periods of time

What is the Wim Hof Method?

The Wim Hof Method is built on 3 pillars, which are breathing, cold therapy and commitment.

1. Breathing

The Wim Hof Method starts with breathing. With good breathing, you can hold your breath longer and you consciously make contact with your heart, autonomic nervous system, and immune system. It also has a positive influence on your blood circulation.

2. Cold Therapy

After breathing and meditation exercises, your body is prepared to take on the following challenge: the confrontation with cold. To make your body stronger and get used to the cold, you can start exercising at home. For example, end your hot shower with a cold shower. With this, you train the muscles in your veins. As you progress you can walk or run through snow and over ice or even meditate while sitting in the snow.

3. Commitment

The third pillar of the Wim Hof Method is the foundation of the other two: both cold exposure and conscious breathing require patience and dedication in order to be fully mastered. Armed with focus and determination you are ready to explore and eventually master your own body and mind.

How will the Wim Hof Method benefits?

  1. Increased energy
  2. Better sleep
  3. Heightened focus & determination
  4. Improved sports performance
  5. Increased willpower
  6. Reduced stress levels
  7. Greater cold tolerance
  8. Faster recovery
  9. Enhanced creativity
  10. Stronger immune system

The science behind it

Tap into the nervous system

In one experiment, practitioners of the Wim Hof Method were able to control their sympathetic nervous system and their immune response, while they were injected with an endotoxin. 

An endotoxin provokes a response in the immune system, as a result, you become feverish, you can get headaches, uncontrolled shivering or start vomiting.

The trained participants showed fewer symptoms, lower levels of proinflammatory mediators, and increased levels of plasma epinephrine. This could mean that the Wim Hof Method is an effective tool to battle symptoms of various autoimmune diseases.

Scientists have found a lot of benefits related to the Wim Hof Method, including the buildup of brown adipose, a stronger immune response, and a positive influence on hormone levels

I want you to be happier, stronger and healthier — Wim Hof

How I apply the Wim Hof Method

Breathing exercise

After my yoga session, I’m following an exercise where I do 3 rounds of breathing work.

Cold shower

Finish my warm showers with cold water for 20–30 seconds. The goal is to move completely from warm to cold showers.

Swim in the sea

Every two days I commit myself to take a swim in the sea or outside swimming pool. The water in January and February is around 14 degrees Celsius. 

More about the Wim Hof Method:

Interview with Joe Rogan

Interview with Lewis Howes

Sources:

Wim Hof Method

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