In this article I go into the Wim Hof Method and explain how it works.
Who’s Wim Hof?
Wim Hof is a crazy Dutch guy also known as the Iceman. He holds more than 20 Guinness world records and has single-handedly refuted many beliefs and dogmas in science about human physiology.
For instance, he
- Climbed Mount Everest wearing nothing but his shorts and shoes
- Completed a full marathon above the Arctic Circle in Finland, wearing the same clothes
- Ran another marathon in the Namib Desert with no water
- Swam underneath winter ice for over 50 metres
- Got injected with an ecoli bacteria and cured himself from the disease within an hour
- And oh yeah, the longest he’s been immersed in ice neck down is nearly 2 hours
He credits his superhuman feats to his meditation and breathing techniques. He has taught the same techniques to many other people so he’s not just a mutant – everyone can do it.
It’s not about the cold, but about improving our health and regaining inner power. Wim Hof has been able to master his own physiology and believes that this is how nature intended us to be. It’s just that our modern world has distanced ourselves from our prime-primal state.
To spread his message of love and happiness, Wim has started to work together with scientists to prove the benefits of his method. By now it’s scientifically accepted that humans can voluntarily control their autonomic nervous system.
The Wim Hof Method Explained
His breathing exercise is like controlled hyperventilation. Usually, hyperventilation makes you start gasping for air in stressful situations and triggers the “fight or flight” response, but with this method you won’t trigger the stress.
- You oxygenize the blood and cells
- CO2 goes down, oxygen gets in, blood pH levels go up and the body becomes more alkaline.
- Because of the stress you experience in your daily life, you’re not connected with the brain stem anymore and are in “fight or flight” mode most of the time. The brain stem is the reptilian brain that controls your hormones and physiology
- As you enter hyperventilation, you activate the brain stem’s survival mechanism by triggering stress hormones, such as cortisol, norepinephrine (adrenaline). But, by controlling your hyperventilation you’ll be able to stay in control..
- At the same time, you get a surging rush of dopamine (the pleasure hormone), oxytocine (the love hormone) and serotonin (the relaxation hormone).
How to Do the Wim Hof Method:
Here’s how to do it:
- Do a set of push-ups a few repetitions short of failure – about 80-90% of your max. This is done so you would know your initial baseline of how many push-ups you can do at the moment
- Rest about 5-10 minutes until fully recovered
- Do about 25-30 repetitions of the following breathing exercise: Max inhale (raise chest) and let go exhale (drop chest sharply). You’re breathing in a whole lot of air but you’re exhaling just a little bit. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. The let-go breath is a short “hah.” You may experience mild lightheadedness and tingling in your fingers
- On the last breath cycle, breathe in completely, exhale completely, then do another set of push-ups whilst holding your breath. Most people will exceed their previous results.
The Wim Hof Method will help you reduce stress, increase your ability to stay in control, improve your focus and make you feel amazing. It’s a great way to get more in touch with your own body and to control your physiology.
My first results with regular push-ups were 80. After controlled hyperventilation I was able to do around 100. That’s quite amazing. And oh yea, I did them outside in the snow in –10 degrees Celsius. Watch the video on my YouTube channel.
Master Your Physiology
As you keep training your nervous system, you’re also capable of handling other physiological stressors a lot better, such as the cold, heat, viruses and stress in general.
To keep improving your health, you can start exposing yourself to cold more often. Once you tap into your prime-primal state and control your brain stem’s response, you can withstand a whole lot more than you think you can.
The core essence of Wim Hof’s method is in regulating your own physiology with your consciousness. With enough attention and concentration, you can voluntarily control your autonomic nervous system and become stronger than you thought was possible.
When asked what would be the #1 advice he would give to people, Wim answered: “Breathe, motherfucker!” (Click to Tweet) That’s my advice to you as well.
If you want to learn how to use the Wim Hof Method to start enduring the cold, then check out my FREE E-book called the Body Mind Agoge. Also, subscribe to my YouTube channel for future videos about polar plunging.
Keep Breathing, Stay Empowered!