Home Fitness What is the Wim Hof Method?

What is the Wim Hof Method?

by Tanya Agarwal

In my continuous quest for learning and practicing new breathing techniques, I came across the Instagram handle of Wim Hofman, much known as the ‘Iceman’! I remember being completely in awe of him as I went through his feed. Phenomenal ways of improving the life we have left for us now! While medical science is still searching for the Covid-19 vaccine, we are unanimous on building our immunity, leading an active lifestyle and living with a positive mindset. Sounds like half the battle is won? The Wim Hof Method promises all this and more. Very recently I happened to speak to a person who has been following the Wim Hof Method for almost a year now. Here is an interview blog on his magical experience on the Wim Hof Method:

To Breathe is to Live

The start line of a marathon race…..relax the nervous tension…..breathe 

Late night…Early morning…need an energy boost, clear mental fog…… breathe

The long day has ended and you need to relax….. breathe

First meeting with the girl of your dreams….you are tongue tied…… breathe

You are on the stage (extremely nervous) and everyone is staring….. breathe

COVID times- make your lungs strong…. breathe

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Try this mind blowing experiment….

Step 1 – do a set of push-ups, a few reps short of failure. Step 2. Take a break of 30 minutes. Step 3 – Max (100%) deep and forceful inhale. Exhale (60-80%) with a short sharp ‘Hah’. Repeat this 30 to 40 times. You may feel a little lightheaded. Immediately after this do another set of push-ups. The results – a stunning 30-50% increase in the number of rep – that ladies and gentlemen is the power of proper breathing ! 

Breathing techniques galore. To name a few….. Pranayama, Tummo method and now the Wim Hof Method ! The push-up experiment and the quest to improve my energy levels and endurance motivated me to try the 10 week Fundamentals course of the Wim Hof Method. A brief intro before I reveal my experience….

Who is Wim Hof ? 

Wim Hof is a crazy (I am a fan !) 60 plus adventurer cum daredevil from the Netherlands. Nicknamed “The Iceman”, Wim holds 26 world records (that’s not a typo). One of them is for taking the longest ice bath in the world:1 hour, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds in case you were wondering. He also climbed both Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro wearing nothing but shorts and a pair of shoes…He even completed a full marathon above the arctic circle wearing nothing but …..you guessed it …..shorts…..On the other extreme side of things, he also ran a full marathon in the Namib desert — without water (nah you didn’t guess this right !) Always living on the edge….pushing the envelope continuously to astonishing levels by practicing his patented WHM method. What method, you ask. Read on….

What is the Wim Hof Method?

The three horsemen of the Wim Hof method are – breathing exercises, exposure to cold and training of the mind / concentration.

Breathing Exercises. The basic breathing technique involves 30 deep inhales and sharp exhales followed by breath holds from 1 to 3 minutes. Three cycles. Do try this link for the correct technique.

Benefits promised – More energy, improved endurance and less stress.

Exposure to Cold. This involves gradual exposure to cold showers (don’t we already know the benefits ? ) and subsequently ice baths. Gains in the offing – higher immunity, better health and improved metabolism (yes…..greater energy and higher calorie burn).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am52mg5tH1w&feature=youtu.be

Training the Mind. It gets spiritual and meditationesque here. Focus and concentration exercises to be done while breathing. Call it “active meditation” if you like. Results expected – Stress reduction, Better sleep, Enhanced creativity, More focus and Mental clarity.

My Experience

I tried the free WHM app for a week. The links:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nl.deckeron.apps.innerfire

https://apps.apple.com/in/app/wim-hof-method/id890471578

Armed with a positive experience I spent $99 and bought the 10 weeks fundamentals course. My regimen -30 minutes of WHM breathing every morning followed by an ice water bath (I used 10 ice trays to cool two buckets). The breathing techniques (there is a new one every week) are pretty addictive. The mental high and the  controlled adrenaline release sets you up for the day. However, the cold water baths are a totally different ball game. Volunteering to freeze my tight b…tt… every morning was not very appealing ! But once I got used to it…..there was no going back ! Improved blood circulation, endorphin release, higher T levels :-), etc, etc….taking cold showers soon became a no brainer ! 

Energy Levels. Enhanced with no slump pre or post lunch. Better and more intense workouts ! 

Endurance. Raised my one set push ups max from 74 to100. Couldn’t test my running endurance due to a nagging injury. But am pretty sure that went ballistic too.

Immunity. Can’t comment. Let’s just say that I’ve not had even a sniffle for the last four months !

Sleep. Not much improvement here. But there is much less tiredness even if I’ve had little sleep.

Stress. A definite calming down of the mind and increased patience.

Mental Clarity and Focus. This has been the big benefit for me. Creativity and work efficiency improved by leaps and bounds. Difficult situations and crises handled with ease !

Personality. But the biggest takeaway has been the positive impact on my mindset, attitude, personality, self confidence and relationships. Enough said….too personal.

Bottomline

The Wim Hof Method worked for me. Will it work for you ? I don’t know. But any investment in the mind and the body can never be without its benefits. And after all what am I asking you to do is….Just breathe.

BREATHE. BELIEVE. RECEIVE.

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Photo from Unsplash.com by Nitin Mathew

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