It was through my daughter, Tanya, that I first learned about Wim Hof. She suggested I listen to his podcast. I did and became intrigued.
Known as the “Iceman,” Wim Hof has done many way-out things in the cold: he climbed Kilimanjaro twice in a pair of shorts, ran a marathon north of the Arctic Circle in shorts, swam under a frozen lake in shorts (ok, probably a bathing suit), and he takes frequent ice baths. You get the gist of why he’s called the Iceman.
Although I have spent more time living in Canada than my native South Africa, I still dislike the cold. I thought Wim Hof’s teachings might be a way for me to embrace the cold — and maybe even enjoy it.
So, I decided to try it.
I downloaded his App (which is free). It has routines for breathing, taking cold showers or baths, engaging in physical exercise, and meditating. I started with the breathing.
The guided breathing “bubble” was free for a limited time. I did it every morning, just after I woke up. After about three sessions, I was hooked! My oxygen level has risen because I feel really energized. It seems I walk with a much straighter back and a spring in my step. So, I continued.
Breathing + Meditation
Next, I added my meditation session right after I completed my breathing. It surprised me to find that my meditation (which I have been doing for years) had grown much quieter. It almost seemed as though there were no thoughts in my mind. I was thrilled. So, I continued even further.
He’s written books
My next step was to read his book – The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential. I will review it at a later date.
From his book I learned that a number of universities have become very interested in Wim Hof. He has been the subject of extensive studies in the U.S. and the Netherlands.
The Benefits of the Wim Hof Method
Studies have shown that the benefits include:
- Stress reduction, faster recovery from physical exercise, better sleep, improved sports performance, more focus and mental clarity, enhanced creativity.
- Reduced symptoms of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, severe autoimmune disease.
- Potential for more alkaline blood, which certainly helps many diseases including cancers.
For me, my pulse rate and blood pressure have come down since I started to practice the breathing.
How it works
The training allows you to voluntarily influence your autonomic nervous system which was thought to be impossible to do. This system unconsciously supports your heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, fight-or-flight response, and more.
In one experiment, Hoff trained twelve people with his method. Staff at Radboud University in The Netherlands then injected him and his group with a dose of dead “bacteria’s endotoxin” and also injected a control group. After the injection, the human body normally undergoes an intense sickness for three hours. None of the Wim Hof group got sick, while all of the control group did.
Back to me
My next step was to start the cold showers. I could only stay in the cold shower for about 15-seconds, at first. Since then, I have slowly built it up and can do almost 2-minutes at a time.
On to physical exercise! I have to admit that physical exercise is not my strong point. I am happier doing yoga or qigong, but I have been able to hold a plank for more than a minute and a half and have even done some push-ups.
I have told some of my clients about Wim Hof’s method. Some of them have begun with the breathing and find that they are gaining real benefits. They have experienced less anxiety and even amazing improvements in long term issues.
I encourage you to download the app or check out Vim Hof’s website. You can take his free mini course to get you started. There are videos which you can also watch for free. I feel better and think you can too.
My goal of being able to like the cold has not been fulfilled – yet. However, I find I do not complain as much about the winter weather and have even enjoyed some outdoor walks!
Take care and good health to you in the New Year. May 2021 be a great year for all!
P.S. I posted this article originally in my monthly newsletter in January. If you would like to receive my newsletter, sign up today.