The Wim Hof Breathing Method and Techniques
Have you ever heard of the Wim Hof breathing method? The Wim Hof method was actually created by Wim Hof, a famous Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete who is also known as the Iceman. Wim became a global phenomenon due to his incredible ability to endure freezing temperatures. He also holds the Guinness World Records for both prolonged full body contact with ice and swimming under ice. He attributes his huge achievements and ability to withstand extreme cold to what he has dubbed the Wim Hof breathing method, which is actually a combination of breathing exercises, frequent cold exposure, commitment, and meditation. He also claims that this method helped him cope with the loss of his wife. According to Wim, by developing command over your mind, body, and breath through the use of specific Wim Hof breathing techniques you can accomplish really great things in life and become a better version of yourself. The goal of the Wim Hof method is to teach you how to control your immune, nervous, and cardiovascular system and help you become a stronger, healthier, and happier person.
How to Perform the Wim Hof Breathing Exercise:
So, the Wim Hof method includes three powerful pillars: breathing exercise, cold exposure, and commitment to the practice. The breathing technique is the first part of this popular method. The most important thing to keep in mind if you want to try the Wim Hot method is that this shouldn’t be uncomfortable, so if it becomes too unpleasant at any point, just take a break and try it again later. If you want to learn to practice the Wim Hof method, you will have to stay relaxed and focused at the same time. Here’s how to practice Wim’s breathing method:
– Lie down comfortably in a relaxed position. Find some place at your home where you won’t be disturbed. Do not do this exercise while standing up, driving, or diving.
– Close your eyes and clear your mind.
– Inhale deeply through your nose or mouth.
– Exhale through your mouth.
– Repeat this 30 times in short but powerful bursts, until you feel that your body is saturated with oxygen. During this stage, you will feel different changes in your body like lightheadedness or tingling sensation.
– After the 30th breath, empty your lungs of air and hold your breath for as long as you can but without force.
– After the breath retention, inhale deeply one final time, let the air out and stop breathing. Then, hold until you feel the need to breathe again.
-When you need to breathe again, inhale to full capacity and hold your breath for 10 or 15 seconds before exhaling.
-Repeat this entire process for another two or three times – the basic Wim Hof breathing exercise involves 3 successive rounds.
– If you feel any dizziness or pain, stop the practice session.
-After this powerful breathing technique, always reserve a few minutes to relax and meditate.
-Always do this breathing exercise in a safe environment (sitting on a couch or on the floor). Never practice the Wim Hof method while you’re driving, swimming, or diving, or any other place where it might be dangerous to faint.
-If you’re unable to breathe through your nose, it is perfectly fine to breathe through your mouth.
-You can write your times down to track your progression, but keep in mind that it’s absolutely not important how long you can hold that last 30th breath.
-This method is not recommended for pregnant women or people who have a history of seizures, stroke, respiratory problems, and high or low blood pressure.
The Benefits of The Wim Hof Breathing Method
According to the official Wim Hof method website, this breathing exercise has a plethora of physical and mental health benefits. Some of the biggest physical Wim Hof benefits include stronger immune system, increased energy, better sleep, faster workout recovery, lowering blood pressure, migraine relief, arthritis and fibromyalgia relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and better athletic performance. Scientific research has shown that the people who regularly practice the Wim Hof method have stronger immune systems, sleep better and wake up feeling more energetic, and have lower blood pressure. Some of the mental health benefits of this method include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, increased willpower, enhanced concentration and mental clarity, and increased happiness.
By following the Wim Hof breathing method, you will learn to focus only on the things that truly matter and you will become a better version of yourself. The best thing about this method is that it will improve your mind-body connection, which will help you to better manage your emotions and deal with life’s challenges. However, keep in mind that everybody’s body is different, so everybody will respond differently to this breathing exercise.
After the series of breathing exercises, cold exposure is the second and very important part of the Wim Hof method. As a beginner, you can start by taking cold showers only for 5 to 7 seconds daily, gradually adding a few seconds every day. Shivering and hyperventilation is normal, but try to remain as calm as you can and embrace the cold. Over time, you will manage to take a cold shower for a few minutes, and according to Wim, 2 to 3 minutes of cold shower every day is enough. However if you feel any strong pain, heavy shivering, or numbness, get out of the shower and get your body warm again as soon as possible.
After a few weeks of cold showers, you can also try an ice bath. Get 2 or 3 bags of ice and put them in a half-full bathtub.Wait until the water has reached your designated temperature (10/12 °C), then get in the bathtub and try to relax. You can start with 10 minutes and increase the exposure over time.
It has been scientifically proven that frequent exposure to cold can stimulate the blood circulation, increase overall well-being, help to burn fat faster, speed up metabolism, reduce inflammation and sore muscles, and improve immunity. That’s the reason why so many athletes are using ice baths to speed up the recovery process and reduce inflammation after training. Cold exposure can also improve your focus, concentration, and your quality of sleep.
Commitment to the Practice
The third pillar of the method is commitment, willpower, and inner strength. This step is essential for the first two pillars in order for the effect of the whole Wim Hof method to unfold. Conscious breathing and cold showers or ice baths require commitment and dedication to be fully mastered. Taking a cold shower or an ice bath is not an easy task, but each time you do it, you strengthen your mind to learn how to deal with discomfort in life.
Be mindful that you’re doing these exercises at your own risk. If you’re in any doubt, always talk with your medical caregiver before trying. Always make sure that you’re safe and that you can’t harm yourself or other people in the process.