As Wim Hof once stated ‘the cold is merciless but righteous, it teaches you how to breathe.’ By depending on natural resources, Hof has created a fearless method that clears the mind and creates a healthy vortex.
We found it to be a fascinating subject. So much so that Cez has practised the method himself to feel the full effects before helping to write this piece. It’s clear to see, by combining the cold with breathing and commitment, a new age health regime has begun. That’s why there’s a lot to understand about the subject…
What makes the Wim Hof Method healthy?
Wim Hof is known as a die-hard Dutch daredevil. In his lifetime he has set 21 Guinness World Record titles which are all to do with extreme weather conditions. He has learned to control his inner mind and his heart rate, and he has climbed Everest in just shoes and shorts. Sounds incredible right?!
With all these marvellous talents behind him, he has gained worldwide recognition. Despite what scientists say, Wim has proved that nothing is impossible. He has influenced his autonomic nervous system and consistently maintains a core temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. He has proved that breathing and blood circulation are tools which we are in control of. All of this, he has taught himself. At first, people didn’t believe him. They thought he was a crazy guy trying to do crazy things for attention.
However, when people witnessed him control his temperature while sitting for almost 2 hours in ice, things changed. Even the scientists were lost for words after watching his performance! Now, people may question how healthy this method is as you’re reprogramming your body. Yet, the Wim Hof Method has caught on and thousands of people are now using it (including Cez!).
Where does the method originate?
It all comes from Hof himself, when he was in his teens he was actually running barefoot through the snow. He wanted to test his limits and understand how durable the human body can be in extreme weather temperatures. Through his self-taught method, Wim has achieved some remarkable things. For instance, he has run a marathon in just sandals above the Arctic Circle and also a full marathon in the Namib desert without water consumption.
Hof particularly likes Iceland as he swims in the cold waters and dips into the geothermal spa. It’s a prime location for you to try out Wim’s techniques as you can dive straight into a warm pool of nutrients if you find it to be too chilly. However, if you’re going to try out the method then you must understand one of his favourite sayings. That is, ‘nature is the teacher’. Iceland is a great place to start your training and a great way to refresh your mind is to go diving in Silfra, Iceland. Silfra is just one of the many places you can let go and allow nature to take control…
How do I practice the first part?
Before you even test out the Wim Hof way, you must be open to change. This technique is not for your body to tolerate, it’s to help it to adapt and to merge into the surrounding environment. To perfect the method, you must pair it with patience and commitment. The first part is a breathing exercise and you must not do this while driving, standing up, underwater or without the approval of your medical caregiver. To begin you must close your eyes and sit in a meditation posture so that your lungs are free to expand and take in the air. Warm up your body by inhaling deeply, holding the breath and then letting it go. Practice this 15 times before you do your power breaths. When you’re ready, do 30 power breaths. These will be strong, like powerful bursts.
You can learn more about how to do the 30 power breaths but they should feel short and a similar sensation to blowing up a balloon. When you’re doing the 30 breaths you must dive into your body and trace your awareness. You can send energy to any places that are blocked and you can also send love to those places. People have often described the process to be a huge release, where all your negative thoughts dissolve. After the 30 initial breaths, one last time you must hold in your air and fill up your lungs as much as you can. Then just release it all and feel the tension fly away. To get back to a normal breathing pattern, you can use a recovery breath method in case you’re feeling any side effects. So many people follow this method now, like a flock of sheep walking towards inner peace.
What happens in the second stage?
After the body scan, prepare to jump straight into the cold exposure section! Many people opt for a freezing shower for this part as it’s the nearest tool they have. Try to ease your way into the cold showers as shivering, shock and hyperventilation are all normal but you may be new to this process. Breathe slow, steady and calm. Remember as Hof always says, ‘the cold is your warm friend!’ Close your eyes and allow the ice-cold droplets to sink into your body. Once you’re out of the shower, you can do another body scan and then dry yourself off.
Ice baths are also a common method, yet it’s best to try these after a few weeks of getting used to the shower. If you’re up for it, you can always practice this method in real life freezing conditions. Remember, there are many destinations available around the world to escape the heat!
So, when can I see results?
The results are really down to your dedication to the method. Over long periods of time, participants have noticed a dramatic change in their mindset. They feel as though they’ve cleared a space in their head and body where positive thoughts can flow through. Plus, over time they’ve grown used to the freezing shocks of ice-cold water. After warm showers, we often feel sluggish and lazy. However, cold ones send us into a proactive mode and keep us moving throughout the day.
Whether or not you decide to try out the secret health weapon that is taking over Iceland, and the world, is up to you. Perhaps you’ll stick to carrying around workout equipment with you on your travels, or your own meditation techniques. Whatever workout works for you, the Wim Hof is one that is certainly working for fellow travellers around the globe.