Integrating Breath & the Cold with the Wim Hof Method
I heard about Wim Hof “Iceman” from a convention last June. Simple and free ways to improve my health, yes please!
The speaker explained some of the science from Hof’s book, The Wim Hof Method. I was completely fascinated! I picked up his book, (alongside another that I had been dying to read, another recommendation, The Gap and the Gain!), and began reading right away.
While I cannot personally advocate for or endorse the new age/meditation/yoga aspect of Hof’s philosophy, I believe there is a lot of value in his life story, talk of forgiveness and commitment, and finally, his core principles of BREATHING and COLD. I am touched by his journey, but also, that comes with some warning, because he talks quite a bit about the Hindu beliefs of meditation and yoga, which I don’t subscribe to or want to encourage.
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” — Genesis 2:7
Oxygen is LIFE. God breathed into our nostrils! But unfortunately, we breathe shallowly all the time. Our lungs and entire systems need that breath— and for longer intervals. Hof has an entire method on how to practice deep breathing which includes breathing deeply for a couple minutes and then holding your breath. It’s pretty neat to see how long you can actually hold it!
(As I said above, Hof also includes “meditation” as a part of his work, which is the Hindu portion of his method that I don’t do or want to promote. I hesitated even sharing for this reason, but I think the breathing and cold showers can be separated from the other portions of his method.)
The whole body feels amazing when you just BREATHE.
A side note from that, I’ve also been reading more about the sinuses/tonsils and how to heal and clear them — they are all interconnected! I’ve learned too about how SINGLE NOSTRIL BREATHING is incredibly beneficial!
This deep breathing doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, I try to breathe deeply for five minutes before I get out of bed — Hof recommends about 15 minutes, which I haven’t worked up to yet.
Now, the cold showers! Phew! Daily cold showers can:
— reduce stress levels — small daily stressors form the showers causes your nervous system to handle more stress when needed
— increase alertness — by waking you up hello and decreasing your carbon dioxide levels, helping with concentration
— improve your body’s immune response — scientific studies show the cold can increase your white blood cell count
— increase your metabolic rate
— strengthen your willpower
Amazing stuff! I want to try ice baths one day with my husband, Nathan. And I can tell you that I feel it working in my own body! The main reason I’ve wanted to try this is I’m fascinated that it could aid in my body’s immunity. Isn’t the human body remarkable?
The trick is to breathe it in — and say “I am cool, calm, collected” — even if you don’t quite feel that way!
I like to take my shower as normal, then after I’m done, I simply turn the faucet all the way to COLD. Then I stand there. Starting with about 15 seconds helps with your vascular system, circulation, and many other benefits! I have worked up to about 60 seconds and sometimes more. I am really wanting to continue this through the winter, I know that my feet and hands will no longer feel cold if I am diligent and continue!
This past summer, at Lake Michigan where I’m usually freezing and won’t go all the way in unless it’s a very warm day, instead, I was often the first one in and LOVED how it felt! I never shivered. It was amazing!
Have you tried deep breathing or cold showers? What have been your techniques?