Your are stronger than you think
I’ve been practicing Wim Hof Method for over a month. If you’re not familiar with Wim Hof,
1,. Wim Hof is known as the IceMan and has broken several world records (including climbing Mount Everest barefoot and shirtless) as well as proving under scientific observation that his method boosts immune function and eliminates inflammation in the body
2. The method consists of 3 elements: Breathing, Exposure to Cold and Mindfulness (Meditation).
3. Cold water exposure has been proven to elevate core temperature with time, create healthy brown fat in the body (for weight loss), strengthen the immune system, lower stress, to name a few.
I read about Wim Hof years ago and was fascinated by the scientifically proven benefits of cold water exposure and breathing. Watching Jonna Jinton on Youtube , she mentioned she had been practicing Wim Hof Method ever since she moved to northern Sweden. See, during the winter she was experiencing many colds and found that when she started taking plunges in the icy water of the lake near her home, she was no longer getting sick and was able to endure the weather with less discomfort. I admire people who push themselves beyond their limits and in a way I’ve found that any time I have, it’s always been a rewarding experience.
What drew me most to Wim Hof Method was the idea that exposing the body to cold water (while learning to breathe through it and calm the body and mind) has been proven for people with anxiety and depression to strengthen the nervous system and trains one to be able to withstand stress in a healthier way. The immune boosting benefits are another reason to do it. I can say, over a month in, that these are the changes I’ve personally noticed.
Complete Reduction in Headaches
Getting a headache and reaching for advil daily had become a common theme for me as I figured sitting at a computer for work all day was the culprit. I haven’t had one headache since I started Wim Hof. It could be the cold water bringing down inflammation I had around my neck but yeah, no headaches, no advil for over 30 days – my liver thanks me.
Wim Hof teaches 2 breathing techniques. The first is done by over-oxygenizing (this is done with deep breaths in and letting the air out naturally in a very quick manner). The second technique is Horse Stance, a breathwork practiced by buddhist monks and one that warms the body before cold exposure. In everyday life we aren’t aware of how we breathe and many times our breath is shallow which in turn creates feelings of tiredness and brain fog. By breathing mindfully we take in more oxygen and this in turn changes the biochemistry of our bodies energizing and expelling waste in the form of Co2. Breathing is so important for people with Anxiety because as we tense up we tend to hold our breaths tightening every muslce in the body and creating a never ending cycle of stress. Never try this while driving or while in the water as you can get lightheaded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BNejY1e9ik&t=20s
Overall Reduction of Pain and Inflammation
I tore my shoulder 20 years ago and it never seemed to heal properly. Repetitive movement like using a mouse on the computer, scrubbing a bathtub, even hanging clothes create inflammation in my shoulder and I’ve been in “flare up” mode for up to 3 weeks of pain. I’ve felt an overall reduction in my shoulder pain.
At first, stepping into very cold water is a shock but I’ve grown to crave it – in fact I did 2 cold showers yesterday, morning and evening. After standing under very cold water (I’ve worked up to 4 minutes) and your body starts to warm up again, your skin tingles and the shock of cold wakes the brain -I feel so alive and happy. I usually do Horse Stance breathing to warm up again and the feeling of contentment and boost of energy can last for hours.
Mind Over Matter
When you’re in very cold water, you have 2 choices: you can quit and step out or calm your mind and body down enough to endure it. When we do this for prolonged periods of time, our brain starts to create a resilience around stress. By learning to calm down while being shocked with very cold water, we slowly learn to be able to calm our body and remember to breathe when stresses arise in our lives.
Lowered Heart Rate
One of the most fascinating things I experienced physically while cold showering for about the 3rd time, was feeling my heart rate slow down. I’ve been told by a few medical professionals that my heart rate is quite high, this is most likely due to the way my brain is wired (with a propensity to worry) and the levels of adrenaline and cortisol being naturally anxious produces. Cold water creates noradrenaline which counteracts feeling of stress and fear. So 3 days in I’m under the cold water, breathing and this stillness came over me and I could feel my heart slow down, amazing.
I am not a doctor and can’t say if Wim Hof will be of benefit to you. I encourage you to read more about it if you are interested in the physical and psychological benefits of the method. I wish you good health and wellness on your journey. Thanks for reading. Stay warm.
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