If you haven't heard of the Wim Hof Method, I encourage you to check it out:
Wim Hof is becoming something of a sensation with his program of breathing techniques, cold exposure, and mental focus. Studies are showing that his method can reduce inflammation, increase immunity, improve mental clarity, etc.
I've been practicing his method for a few months now. I'm taking his Fundamentals course now and absolutely love it. I find that it is an excellent addition to my daily meditation practice.
So, how did I get into the Wim Hof method and what has it done for me?
In the fall of 2017 I was researching breathing techniques and came across articles on the Wim Hof technique. I was fascinating and began to read everything I could find on him, as well as watch the many videos on YouTube about his accomplishments. I discovered that Wim Hof is quite a character! And I love people like that; people with passion for what they do and people who truly want to help others.
At first I just started doing the breathing exercises by watching a few videos on YouTube. But like most things, I wanted more in-depth explanation. So I enrolled in his Fundaments course online. The method follows a progression of exercises. You can't just jump in with long breath retentions and ice baths on day one! As I started doing the exercises, I became amazed. They work.
His method is composed of three areas; breathing techniques, cold exposure, and mental focus.
The breathing exercises consist of taking deep breaths and relaxing on the exhale (you don't forcefully exhale). You do approximately 30 instances of this type of breathing and then on the last one you exhale completely and hold. Your are doing a retention with empty lungs. You hold as long as you can (until you feel the need to breathe) and then take a full breath in and hold for about 30 seconds. That completes one round or set. You then repeat, until you complete 3 or 4 sets. That is the basic breathing exercise. His course also covers a few other techniques.
When I first began doing this, my breath retention on empty lungs was only about 45 seconds. Now I do 4 sets of this exercise almost every day and my retention times for each set are approximately as follows:
Set 1: 2 minutes Set 2: 3 minutes Set 3: 4 minutes and Set 4: Over 5 minutes
My "record" is a retention time of 6 minutes 30 seconds after 4 rounds of breathing. Amazing.
After the breathing exercises, you do cold exposure. This is the part that scares most folks but once you start doing it, it is addictive. You start with cold showers. For example, just get in a warm shower, focus on your breath keeping it even and relaxed, and then turn the water to full cold. Let the cold water spray on your feet, then move to your legs, and then your whole body. Hold for 30 seconds or so as a complete beginner. You can finish with a warm shower. As you progress, you hold the time under the cold water for longer periods. Eventually you can go straight into a cold shower and hold it for over 5 minutes and you'll feel great! The cold exposure trains your circulatory system and doing it gradually is important.
The last part of his program is mental focus. This is really used throughout both breathing and cold exposure and is very much related to meditation. For example when I am doing the breath retention, I go into a meditative state which helps me resist the automatic urge of the body to breath. My cells are saturated with oxygen and I don't need to breathe for a few minutes and I can ignore the automatic response by maintaining a meditative state. I do a similar thing with the cold showers and that allows me to overcome the initial "shock" of the cold water. After a while of practicing the method, I can go into a cold shower with no initial reaction.
A few things I've noticed after doing these exercises; first, after I do the breathing and cold shower exercise, I feel amazing. I feel alert, strong, and my mood is vastly improved. Second, I've tested my ph levels and have gone from being acidic to being perfectly normal. This occurred shortly after starting doing the method on a regular basis. Third, if I meditate after doing the exercises, my meditation seems to go far deeper. I've also had some interesting experiences while meditating which I'll cover in a future blog.
I've been doing the Wim Hof method for over 5 months now and will continue. Overall, I feel much better physically and mentally, I think my immune system is improved, my sleep improved, my meditations are deeper, and I just plain feel more energized.
I would encourage you to at least check out his website https://www.wimhofmethod.com and also check out the research being done into the benefits of his method.
There is a body/mind connection and the more we explore this connection the better we can understand how to improve our lives. Explore and enjoy.