Wim Hof Method
Nothing for warm showerers!
He climbs Mount Everest, runs in the desert without drinking and holds world records in an ice bath – we introduce you to Wim Hof and the Wim Hof method.
Wim Hof method: Who is Wim Hof anyway?
Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete who was born in Limburg in 1959. He has 26 international records for withstanding extreme cold and ran marathons on the Arctic Circle and in the Namib Desert, for example. In two days, “Iceman” Wim Hof climbed Kilimanjaro in shorts and shoes. And: He developed the Wim Hof method (breathing technique and cold experience), with which you can consciously increase your pulse and adrenaline release via hyperventilation.
According to scientific studies, no special physical disposition could be determined at Wim Hof - that is, everyone should be able to learn his technique. Today the well-known “Iceman” also gives his own courses on his method, for example on his website, and has written a book on the subject.
This is how the breathing exercise works
Do you want to learn the Wim Hof method? Ideally, you do the exercise first thing in the morning when you get up. It serves as a meditation that was taken from the Tibetan tradition. Important: It’s best to do the breathing exercise two to four times in a row – in a safe, comfortable place. Do not perform the Wim Hof Method while exercising or moving. And this is how the technology works:
- Breathe deeply: You challenge your breath with 30 deep breaths. Exhale less deeply than inhale, so that you always keep some breath in your body.
- Hold breath: After 30 breaths, hold your breath for as long as you can. Especially as a beginner you won’t be able to make it for many minutes, but one minute is a good guideline.
- Breathe in: Now take a deep breath and hold it for about 10 seconds.
- Exhale: Let the air out of your body completely.
Effects and benefits of the cold
Immediately after the breathing exercise, you can face another challenge: If we confront our body with extreme cold, this automatically leads to the following effects:
- deeper breathing
- Fat burning is improved
- The hormonal balance becomes more balanced
- Promote muscle growth
- Healing of sick cells
The Wim Hof method and dealing with the cold
Wim Hof recommends bathing in the open air, for example in a lake, even in the cold season. As a result, the body adapts better to the temperatures and you can face the challenge of winter and the cold better. Ice baths are also perfect for this. As a start, however, the daily cold shower is recommended.
In technical terms, we speak of so-called cold thermogenesis when it comes to the mechanism of action of the cold on our body. Humans have 125 kilometers of blood vessels in their bodies that are surrounded by muscles. You experience a stimulation effect through cold, which in turn leads to a lower heart rate, which has a positive effect on your hormone levels and your resistance to stress.
Wim Hof method: cold showers as the first challenge
Especially for beginners: inside the Wim Hof method with cold showers is suitable to slowly familiarize yourself with cold stimuli. That’s how it’s done:
- Take a warm shower first and then turn the shower over to cold water for 30 seconds.
- Start by taking the cold water from the top of the body from the side opposite the heart.
- Finish the shower with cold water.
- Over time, you can extend the cold shower phases to a minute or two.
By the way: Wim Hof says he takes a cold shower for three minutes every day – right after getting up.
7 great tips
To be successful with the Wim Hof Method, the key is: concentration. With the breathing method, your focus should be on how your breath flows through your body. It can happen that your thoughts wander, for example, about not having done the dishes or about unpaid bills, but don’t focus on them. Allow the thought – and then let it go again, before focusing on breathing again. You will notice that the longer you do the exercises, the longer you do the exercises, the longer the intervals between unwanted thoughts.
Are you interested in mindfulness techniques? Maybe you want to learn Osho meditation or Vipassana meditation. Or may it be a break in the monastery right away?
Hof, W .: The Wim-Hof-Method: Push your limits and activate your full potential, Integral, 2021