“The cold is your warm friend. When we embrace the cold, this is when magic happens.”
Wim Hof, the Dutch ‘Iceman’ first caught the attention of scientists when he proved he was able to use meditation to stay submerged in ice for 1 hour and 53 minutes without his core body temperature changing. Since then, he’s climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes, resisted altitude sickness, run a full marathon in the highest Namib desert (50 °C) with no water and food, completed a full marathon (42.195 kilometres), above the arctic circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C. Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours 25 minutes.
Wim Hof is a holder of 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures. He has proven under a laboratory setting that he’s able to influence his autonomic nervous system and immune system at will. Almost everything Wim has done was previously thought to be impossible – but he’s not a freak of nature.
Wim is able to accomplish these feats with ease through the use of “The Wim Hof Method” — a breathing technique that allows you to control the autonomous systems of the body and serves as a stress trigger to prime your body to deal with future stress.
However the most earthshaking effect of the Wim Hof Method is the ability to consciously control the immune system to fight off diseases. Our immune system plays a significant role in almost all devastating diseases plaguing the modern world, and finding a way to improve it can help us discover new avenues for medicine. Learn more about other methods of alternative medicine on yourbrides.com.
The Wim Hof method is composed of three parts: cold exposure, breathing exercises, meditation/visualization exercises.
Let’s see now the actual breathing technique used by Wim Hof as reported from his website. But remember, these exercises are extremely powerful when done consistently and with intent. Always make sure you are save and can’t harm yourself in the process.
The first step is simple. Sit in a meditation posture, whatever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction. It is recommended to do this practice right after waking up since your stomach is still empty. You can also do it right before a meal.
30 POWER BREATHS
Inhale through the nose or mouth and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully. Close your eyes and do this around 30 times. Symptoms could be light-headedness, tingling sensations in the body. That’s normal when you’re a beginner.
After the 30 rapid breaths, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using any force. Then push all of the air out and hold for as long as you can without force. Really relax and open all energy channels in your body. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex on the top of your chest.
Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 10 seconds and this will be round one. The breathing exercise can be repeated 3 rounds after each other.
After having completed the breathing exercise take your time to enjoy the feeling afterward. This feeling will be more and more like a meditation.
After doing the breathing exercise and you feel good, you can start with taking the cold shower. It is very important to try to relax as much as you can, only then your body can process the signals and start thermogenesis.
While taking the cold shower begin with your feet and then follow with your legs, your stomach, shoulders, neck and back and finally your head. An initial shock, shivering and hyperventilation is normal. Try to remain calm and breathe easily. Close your eyes and really try to embrace the cold. If you feel uncomfortable, get your body warm again as soon as possible.
Cold exposure works like weight lifting and you get stronger over time. There are little muscles around your veins that contract when they get into contact with the cold. After some time (only 1-2 weeks according to Wim) your body becomes stronger, making your veins healthier and reducing the force that your heart has to use to pump blood around your body.
There are some other benefits of cold showers, such as:
- Anti-depressive effects (exposure to cold increases beta-endorphin and noradrenaline levels)
- Healthier skin and hair (hot water dries out skin and hair, cold water closes up your pores)
- Strengthened immune system
- Increased testosterone levels
- Increased fertility
After a few weeks of cold showers you can up the ante to an ice bath. Get 2-3 bags of ice and put them in a half-full bath tub. As with the cold showers, try to relax as much as you can. Start out with around 10 minutes and increase exposure over time. If you feel uncomfortable, get out.
Please be mindful that you are doing these exercises on your own risk. Never practice breathing exercises before/during any activities where a loss of consciousness may prove life threatening. The breathing methods may have a profound effect and should be practiced exactly as explained and always in a safe environment. Wim strongly advises you to gradually build up your exposure to the cold. Always train without force and listen to your body carefully. And finally, always consult your doctor first before beginning any exercise program.