Wim Hof also known as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He has set Guinness world records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice, and still holds the record for a barefoot half-marathon on ice and snow. He attributes these feats to his Wim Hof Method (WHM), a combination of frequent cold exposure, breathing techniques and meditation.
Wim Hof markets a regimen, the Wim Hof Method (WHM), created alongside his brother Marcel Hof, that he claims will help with, among other things, sleep, willpower, sports performance, stress, creativity and immune system. Testimonials on his website claim to have improved illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The method involves three “pillars”: cold therapy, breathing and meditation. It has similarities to Tibetan Tummo meditation and pranayama, both of which employ breathing techniques.
There are many variations of the breathing method. The basic version consists of three phases as follows:
- Controlled hyperventilation: The first phase involves 30 cycles of breathing. Each cycle goes as follows: take a powerful breath in, fully filling the lungs. Breathe out by passively releasing the breath, but not actively exhaling. Repeat this cycle at a steady pace thirty times. Hof says that this form of hyperventilation may lead to tingling sensations or light-headedness.
- Exhalation: After completion of the 30 cycles of controlled hyperventilation, take another deep breath in, and let it out completely. Hold the breath for as long as possible.
- Breath retention: When strong urges to breathe occur, take a full deep breath in. Hold the breath for around 15 – 20 seconds and let it go. The body may experience a normal head-rush sensation.
These three phases may be repeated for three consecutive rounds.
Not for everyone but there are some real benefits to be discovered for some.
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