Who Is Wim Hof And Why Use His Method?
Many people know of Wim Hof as the "Iceman." As a man who can withstand immersions in ice water for almost 2 hours while maintaining a normal core body temperature, he certainly lives up to the name. Wim has been known for all manner of extreme physical abilities. He's run half marathons without shoes on an island in the ice-free Arctic Circle, for example. He's even been injected by scientists with an endotoxin that he withstood. How are these physical feats possible? Hof argues we all have the ability within us to be amazing people. He believes it all comes down to how well we can manage ourselves mentally and what we believe we can do.
What Is The Wim Hof Breathing Method?
For decades now, Wim Hof has practiced self-development techniques which he refers to as the Wim Hof Method. He believes his method has the potential to increase the body's resilience when faced with physical or mental stress and based on his abilities, it's hard to argue against his approach. Keep in mind, this method is not recommended to be performed without the approval of your physician and the appropriate training. Wim has been doing this for decades!
To start, Wim uses third-eye meditation and visualization to achieve complete relaxation. Next, he exposes himself to the cold by various techniques like cold showers, cold water therapy, or even hiking in the snow. The third and one of the most crucial steps is the special breathing exercises he employs.
What Are The Three Pillars Of The Wim Hof Method?
The Wim Hof Method consists of what he calls the "Three Pillars." These pillars include breathing, controlled exposure to the cold, and visualization. Each combines to allow us to deal with difficult physical and mental challenges. Over time, our bodies become accustomed to modern-day comforts and are therefore no longer used to enduring cold and miserable conditions.
Leveraging The Wim Hof Method For Breath Work
What Is The Importance Of Breath Work?
The term "breath work" can be used broadly when describing different techniques that have a variety of possible psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits. Practicing specific breathing techniques is a fundamental aspect of increasing mindfulness. Establishing a strong breathing technique is an essential part of enduring cold water therapy to get the full benefits of cold exposure.
Why Use Cold Water Exposure For Breathing Exercises?
Wim Hof Breathing Technique
Exposure to a cold environment for a controlled amount of time is essentially the basis for evaluating how the Wim Hof breathing technique works. Researchers have discovered that people trained in Wim Hof' breathwork techniques activate the sympathetic nervous system, which controls a part of the autonomic nervous system. Many studies suggest cold water therapy could also boost life longevity, making breathwork a crucial part of extending healthy life.
What Are The Benefits Of A Regular Cold Water Immersion Routine?
Physical Health Benefits Of Cold Exposure
Reducing The Severity Of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
One study on cyclists in 2011 concluded cold water therapy helps reduce the symptoms of DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness. When your legs ache days after training, that's DOMS. For anyone who's suffered this result of hard exercise, you know how hard it can make getting back into the gym. Cold exposure and the Wim Hof method make it far easier to get back to your workouts on schedule.
Increased Blood Circulation
Vascular circulation is a key component in a healthy person. During an unbalanced circulation, blood flow becomes weak, lowering the flow of oxygen and causing stress in the heart. A stressed heart can have the potential to cause headaches, high blood pressure, and fatigue. Cold water immersion increases cardiovascular circulation, helping to maintain balanced circulation and cardio function.
Leading Physical Benefits Of Cold Exposure Combined With Breath Work Include:
Cold Therapy Mental Health Benefits
Researchers have demonstrated that the brain activates areas that influence the perception of cold and also higher brain regions involved in focus when using the Wim Hof Method. This research is supported by several other studies on the effects of meditation.
Using an MRI scanner, researchers revealed how the brain could not be affected in response to cold exposure unless it could regulate its internal temperature. Hof activates periaqueductal gray tissue which regulates pain suppression. Basically, this method trains the mind that pain cannot be avoided, helping it cope better in all things stressful.
How Breathwork Helps Alleviate Anxiety And Stress Levels
Simple breathwork exercises can help improve receptivity. By focusing on the breath by speaking softly when inhaling and even softer when exhaling, you can relax the mind to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
How To Get Started With The Wim Hof Breathing Exercise Method
What Forms Of Cold Water Therapy Work?
The good news is, cold water therapy comes in many forms. You can take cold showers, swim in cold lakes, or take a cold plunge in a purpose-built cold water therapy tub. All can deliver cold water therapy benefits, with some being more convenient than others.
Start By Taking A Cold Shower Daily
One of the easiest ways to start with the Wim Hof Method is to take cold showers each day while working on your breathing exercises. This will help get you acclimated to how your body responds to the cold.
How About Plunging In Cold Lakes?
Taking a swim in a cold lake can also provide the benefits of cold water therapy. Of course, the downside is it's not always easy to find a cold lake. Unless you live in a cold climate, there are far easier ways to access cold water therapy.