I first heard about the Wim Hof Method a few years ago when I watched a short documentary about ‘The Ice Man’. The film showed how this Dutch athlete, Wim Hof, taught two reporters how to walk up a freezing snowy mountain in their shorts, resisting the cold by using a breathing technique and ‘cold therapy training’. I filed it in my mind as a bit mad, curious, and not relevant to my daily life.
However, what I really didn’t pick up from the documentary was the potential for extraordinary health benefits from this simple, accessible technique.
1) Breath - a simple breathing technique, in 3 to 4 rounds (10/15mins)
2) Cold - a cold shower (2mins)
3) Commitment - do it every day
I came to it as I was suffering with some stress-related inflammation. I was in pain, which was making me feel low and - apparently randomly - the Ice Man kept popping into my mind. So, I followed my intuition and looked him up again…
My journey began as I started by signing up for the free mini class which gives you all you need. At first, I couldn't believe how simple and quick it was. Techniques need to be complex, lengthy and challenging to be beneficial, right? Nope! Like he said, I began to feel it immediately.
What benefits has it given me?
The first for me is the HUGE boost of energy caused by the breath work. I felt like my energy levels increased by at least a third. Then I felt more positive and enlivened, as I had reduced pain - due to reduced inflammation. The breathing was also a big stress release for me - and I felt more relaxed.
In terms of the cold shower, well the shock of the cold water is strangely addictive. It wakes you up and makes you feel alive, ready for the day. It is also very empowering as you learn to move out of your comfort zone. It helps you to realise what you are capable of, engaging your mind to shift your levels of tolerance and endurance.
It quickly I brought me to wild swimming - as my tolerance for the cold shifted dramatically and I wanted a way to push myself further. I go swimming with my friends and this has been a wonderful gift to have in my life. I have also noticed improved immunity in the last 6 months. I haven’t caught a cold for example, when normally I might during the winter season, even when my immediate family was pretty unwell.
What is the science - how exactly does the technique work?
- The Breathing
- The Cold
Who would benefit from it specifically?
It can be good for anyone working with:
- Depression - for mood regulation
- Chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis - for pain reduction
- Autoimmune disorders - for higher energy levels
- High stress levels - for stress reduction
- Low energy levels - to boost energy
If you are interested to learn more you can read his book, The Wim Hof Method or check out his website or YouTube for lots of free information and videos. I can also recommend The Fundamentals class, an online 10 week course.
Win Hof is a real light of a human being too - extremely positive, enthusiastic and caring. It's infectious. The technique is definitely not just for fit young men who want to be able to climb mountains in shorts! As a mum with a toddler, it is perfect - I can do it all in 15 mins whilst my daughter has a little screen time. It gives me a HUGE boost of energy, it’s empowering, focuses my mind for the day and is so simple. I am definitely a fan. Why not try it? You never know what delights and benefits it might bring you.
By Nicole Drummond. Edited by Dinah John.
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