Named after the Dutch world record holder for cold submersion, Wim Hof, developed the technique. These are the basic tenets:
- Cold Therapy
- Commitment (or Meditation)
The Breathing Method is best described by watching a video, but can be broken down into:
- Relax completely
- Inhale fully and exhale repeatedly at least 30 times.
- Upon the final exhale, stop and hold your breath for as long as possible.
- Take a full breath and hold for 10 seconds while squeezing your stomach, neck and head.
- Exhale and repeat.
Here is a link to Wim talking practitioner’s through the practice.
Cold Therapy is increasing your exposure to cold, gradually.
- Start with 30 seconds in a cold shower and add a few seconds every day, building up slowly and over time.
- Eventually, you will be able to sit in a tub of ice water.
Commitment is sitting quietly and calming your mind. It is meditation.
These are overly simple explanations, but I hope they clarify and pique your curiosity.
I highly recommend the Fundamentals course and/or the application. The app is free to start, then tries to get you to subscribe. The Fundamentals course was on sale for Covid-19. Wim’s site is a plethora of knowledge and guidance. Visit it https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
Like most things, I learn by doing and by exchanging ideas with other practitioners.
I have been practicing the Wim Hof Method for a year and love it. I am fortunate enough to live on a lake in New England, so taking a morning dip in cold water is an option that I enjoy most months of the year.
I would love to share my tips, especially regarding cold water submersion. Here are some:
- Cold water dries your skin. Follow any cold submersion with oil or lotion. I recommend neem oil. Here is the brand I use Neem Oil by Kate Blanc. I am an Amazon affiliate so I do benefit if you purchase from this link. I like this brand because it is organic, cold pressed and not too expensive. I have used one bottle for a good 6 months. I checked my orders on Amazon, and I bought this bottle more than a year ago. Unfortunately, I did not use it religiously when I started and was scratching like a hound before I was given good advice by others.
- Listen to your body. Hypothermia is real; don’t wait until your toes and/or fingers feel numb. That is just dumb.
- Wearing scuba booties really increases your time in the cold water. Also, they protect your feet from sharp objects you may not see. Once again, I purchased these and use them in the colder months.
- Once you are out of the water, dry off and warm up. Don’t wait. Your core temperature will continue to drop and you want to help it get back up. “After drop” is a negative side effect that happens if you do not get warm.
- Do the horse stance after you put on dry clothes. It does warm you up! Check it out https://gethealthyu.com/exercise/horse-pose/ Do the active version. Reach out as you inhale and pull towards your chest and squat as you exhale.
- I mastered the cold shower by playing upbeat YouTube videos. Pharrell Williams “Happy” is my favorite. It’s four minutes and once I started singing and dancing I didn’t notice the cold. Seriously. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbZSe6N_BX It is all about Commitment as Wim calls it. For me, it’s a mindset. I am learning how to harness it.
- There are tons of videos on YouTube that cater to the breathing method. I like some that offer drums, chimes and an Om chant. It uses mindset to overcome the breath hold. Try different ones.
I hope this encourages you to start. Nothing is more invigorating to begin your day! I am no expert, but I have some experience and I am happy to share. Let me know if you have tried it and what works for you, or if I can help you.