The Wim Hof method takes stress management to a whole new level.
Wim Hof’s technique of using physical discomfort, like ice baths, to improve mind and body is quickly gaining popularity as it continues to demonstrate scientific acceptance.
Wim Hof, also known as ‘The Iceman’, has set over two dozen world records for withstanding extreme temperatures, completing a marathon in below-zero temperatures and climbing Everest and Kilimanjaro wearing only shorts. Wim credits these superhuman feats to powerful breath-work, focused meditation and cold exposure. But it’s important to remember when learning about the Wim Hof method that Wim is Wim, and not to be confused with the Wim Hof method which we use as a framework in our own practices of breathing, commitment and controlled exposure to the cold.
Wim is my complete hero and he is on a mission to change the world of health. Everything he does comes from the heart and he is now getting the scientific recognition his work deserves.
Along with many other health benefits, the method will help reduce mental stress caused by a multiple of factors and helps with the recovery from bodily stress caused by physical exertion.
Stress is a natural thing. It is a response in your body that can be triggered by a number of things including, for many people, lockdown and all the uncertainty and changes that came with it, the juggle of work and home-schooling, relationships. Even just small daily hassles can build your stress levels. This then generates negative feelings, such as fear, anxiety, anger, loneliness.
Prolonged or chronic stress responses can lead to:
· High blood pressure
· Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
· Skin conditions
· Sleep disorders
However, saying all that, it’s important to mention when talking about the Wim Hof method that not all stress is bad, the right stress for the right amount of time can actually be really beneficial for us. Think of the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” for this part. Within the method we use breathing techniques and cold exposure to awaken our natural coping mechanisms that we have suppressed for so long.
Exposing ourselves to natural stress helps us adapt to stressful situations, becoming stronger and more resilient.
A healthy level of positive stress empowers you in three ways:
· Emotionally with positive feelings of motivation, inspiration and confidence
· Psychologically by building independence and optimism
· Physically by building up and strengthening your body
Seriously, why wouldn’t you!
I have been practicing and teaching the Wim Hof method for some time now and without it I most certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today. Yes, I still get stressed, I am a mum of two, building a business and have historic scars the same as anybody. But each day I get stronger, each time I have the negative stress or feelings associated with it, I use these tools to come back happier and stronger. The breathing exercises, exposure to the cold and commitment (that’s right commitment, you have to practice it for it to work), can help you significantly regulate your stress levels.
Once you gain control over your stress levels you will see a ripple effect into other areas of your life such as increased sleep quality, less inflammation, better focus, resilience, increased immune response, hormonal balance, reduced anxiety and much more.
Building the Wim Hof method into your everyday life is important and I can help you with that, but so is the safety of the practice. Practice the Wim Hof method in a safe and comfortable environment. Make sure you’re sitting or lying down when doing the breath work. Don’t practice the breath-work in the water. Get some guidance from an instructor if you are pregnant on what you can and can’t do in the practice.
Make sure you seek medical advice before practicing if you have a heart condition or asthma. Cold exposure should be gradual, stop doing it if it feels uncomfortable and never attempt alone.