Updated: Mar 3, 2022
The Wim Hof Method (WHM) consists of three pillars, exposure to cold; his conscious breathing method; and the power of the mind, or commitment.
Wim has demonstrated that humans have a huge amount of potential previously thought not to exist. The Method and Wim's accomplishments have been studied and validated by academic researchers, and there is a considerable amount of research in progress.
Rather than describe how to do the breathing and exposure to cold, we will focus on the benefits of the WHM.
Exposure to cold
Within 10 days of ending your daily shower with cold water for as little as one minute, you will notice that your heart rate decreases significantly, as much as 15 to 30 beats per minute, and that it remains that way 24 hours a day. That translates into a lot less stress since your heart rate increases whenever your body experiences stress.
You will feel more energized.
The improved blood flow delivers better nutrition to your cells.
You will find that you don't get sick anymore. Instead, you feel strong.
Cold is a stressor, so if you can control your body's response to it, you will be able to control stress in any form. After you take a cold shower, you will not only feel that you have more energy, but you will also feel more at rest.
Because the brain and heart are connected, your decreased heart rate affects your mood, lessening anxiety. In peace and at rest, blood slowly flows deeper into the brain. If it reaches the limbic system, a level of deep meditation can be achieved that only seasoned mindfulness practitioners have been known to reach. In Wim's experience, this can be achieved with a one-minute cold shower every day.
The breathing exercise can have a profound effect on your physical and emotional state. It can change your biochemistry from acidic to alkaline and cleanse the body of biochemical residue. Wim is convinced this can eliminate the primary causes of diseases.
The breathing exercise puts the body into an alert state, activating the sympathetic nervous system and preparing the body for performance.
With each successive round of the breathing exercise, you feel stronger, lighter, and more at peace.
After four rounds of the breathing exercise, your blood will be in the optimum pH range (less acidic, more alkaline).
Achieving biochemical and hormonal balance increases your energy, boosts performance, and lowers stress levels.
A major benefit of the breathing method is to regulate inflammation, which causes disease. The Wim Hof breathing method may help ward off illness, including autoimmune diseases, cancer and depression. Wim notes that if you do the breathing techniques described in the book, you will know how to deal with toxic substances in the body, including a hangover, in just 20-25 minutes. This is because the breathing method alkalizes the blood and eliminates the acidity caused by toxic substances like alcohol. The potential applications of the WHM are enormous. Eradicating cardiovascular disease and positively affecting mental healthcare outcomes are applications of the technique that can benefit a large portion of the population worldwide. Practitioners of the method have been able to reverse diabetes, alleviate the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease, lose weight, and achieve remarkable athletic feats.
To fully benefit from practicing the WHM, you must fully commit your mind to it. Wim has demonstrated his ability to do this in several experiments, for example, where he was immersed in ice water and maintained his body's core temperature.
A set of experiments demonstrated that he controlled his vagus nerve, which was thought to be impossible. This has huge implications for battling many conditions and diseases, including arthritis and Crohn's disease. The experiments showed that he was controlling an autonomous mechanism at will, which, in turn, meant that he was able to control inflammation. This opens the possibility that we may be able to get the cause and effect of disease within the control of our minds. Bringing this knowledge to humankind has become Wim Hof's mission. However, he recommends that the WHM be seen as providing tools to help manage your health, rather than as a cure.
Please note that Wim emphasizes being in a safe position to practice the breathing exercise, sitting or lying down, in case of fainting. He also advises starting exposure to cold very gradually, e.g. no more than 15 seconds in a cold shower to begin with. He advises against practicing the WHM if you are dealing with any of the following:
high blood pressure (especially if you are taking prescription medication)
coronary heart disease, e.g., angina
a history of serious health issues like heart failure or stroke
Additionally, if you suffer from migraines, he urges caution about taking ice baths. He also advises against practicing the WHM if you are pregnant; the effects on the baby of the changes in biochemistry associated with the WHM are not known. Children under the age of 16 should be supervised by a parent or guardian, and should never be compelled to practice the WHM against their will. Again, it is emphasized that care be taken regarding exposure to cold, and it should be built up gradually.
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Hof W. The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential. Sounds true, Boulder Colorado: October 2020.
The Wim Hof Method. https://www.wimhofmethod.com. Accessed June 15, 2021.
Disclaimer: The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.