New: PDF on WHM official site
Update: Dec 29, 2016: Missing only one or two days in the last week each morning I've done four rounds of the breathing technique. Today a breakthrough came when I finished. Yesterday was very good as well. Yesterday I felt incredibly "young" energized after the exercises and a cold shower. I was so energized I wanted to get outside and walk. So I took a walk. The whole day went well. This morning I did four rounds of the WHM breathing exercises. After I completed them I felt like a completely different person. Dysthymic depression was completely gone as I sat on the edge of my bed greeting my non-depressed self for what seems to be the first time. Living with Dysthymic depression is not a death sentence but it grinds against the productivity and joyful play we experience in its absence. Yesterday it was gone, for the most part, all day, but today the results were so astonishing immediately after I completed the breathing exercises that I was absolutely flabbergasted. I felt as though I had taken a magic anti-depressant pill and it kicked in immediately. Every day I take a warm shower as usual but finish with a 60 degree (F) 30 seconds to one minute cold shower by slowly lowering the temperature to zero added hot water. Once I reach that point I go for one minute of 100% cold water each day after the WHM breathing exercises. I will add the Push Up's routine to the last (of four) rounds of breathing exercises tomorrow as my body keeps feeling stronger and more alive. I look forward to extended benefits from adding this and also yoga exercises to the method over time.
Update Dec. 11, 2016: I have been working with this technique for five days. Each morning I get up and work this program. The warm-to-cool/cold showers are getting more tolerable and far more refreshing and exhilarating than warm showers. There is no need to take anything beyond our edge of tolerance but the cool thing is we get to find out where our edge actually IS.
“He or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest but rises the fastest.”
– Brené Brown
Bill Zimmermann comments:
I get excited when I review the extensive research behind the Wim Hof Method to find that there's important immune system activation science and more (much more) behind it. Also learning that it was recently believed that there was nothing we could do to improve our metabolism or our immune system and no having proof that there is and that the old science was all wrong is astounding, to say the least. The science is in and the medical school textbooks ARE INDEED being changed thanks to extensive university studies of the Wim Hof Method. Here is an overview. I'll add more videos below as I find ones that detail and expand on this important topic.
- 1.26.17 This is a video below from a study referenced by Wim Hof hof about how he had trained people to withstand the effect of a bacterial toxin. Which those who did not practice the Wim Hof Method could not do. They would get quite ill whereas those trained in the Method had very few symptoms if any. This is a student trained by Mr. Hof along with various measurements performing the breathing technique that led to the improved response.to a bacterial toxin introduced later. It is pretty straightforward. I don;t know why he breathes in only through his nose, but the oxygen numbers are impressive, to say the least.
The Wim Hof Method:
- CAUTION: Do not push or force the method (especially at first). Practice on an empty stomach, morning is best.
- Inhale / Exhale 30 times. (Take deep belly and chest breaths in and allow exhale to be natural not forced)
- Breathe in fully
- Breathe out fully and hold until gasp-reflex
- Inhale fully and hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Repeat until finished (usually three or four rounds)
Note: When "breathing out" understand don't breathe out actively (force air out of the lungs), but rather passively relax your torso and allow air to go out). Inhaling is active, exhaling is passive. the act of pushing air out of the lungs may compromise the benefits of the technique and is the main reason people complain the method not working for them. Beging by inhaling 30-40 deep breaths, then exhale and don't force residual air out of lungs. Relax the torso hold still at the bottom of the breath without any muscular tension.
Expanding the Method:
Add push-ups or yoga poses during the time you are holding your breath until you wait for the gasp reflex. Notice that you are stronger without air than you would normally be if you could breathe
Charge the energy up the spine by holding Moola Banda, contract the rectum & sex organ and pull the navel inward towards the spine.
Stand up in squat position and do the balloon breath. Try to breathe away the burn. (get seated again the moment you continue the cycle, you don’t want to be standing and faint) See if you can get the energy overtake the pain. Don’t give up easily and see how far you can go if you have the willpower!
After the body scan of the previous exercise, you are now ready to let your body embrace the cold. It is very important to try to relax as much as you can, really be with the cold, only then can your body process the signals and start thermogenesis. As Wim says, “the cold is your warm friend!“
Cold Showers and Baths:
If you are new to cold exposure, start with cold showers. Begin with your feet and then follow with your legs, your stomach, shoulders, neck and back and finally your head. An initial shock, shivering and hyperventilation is normal. Try to remain calm and breathe easily. Close your eyes and really try to embrace the cold. If you feel any strong physical uncomfortableness, like heavy shivering, numbness or pain, get your body warm again as soon as possible. Once you are out of the shower, take a moment to do another slow body scan before you dry yourself.
Cold exposure works like weight lifting, you get stronger over time. There are little muscles around your veins that contract when they get into contact with the cold. After some time (only 1-2 weeks according to Wim) these become stronger, making your veins healthier and reducing the force that your heart has to use to pump blood around your body.
You can increase exposure over time. At one point the cold will feel just as comfortable as wearing your favorite pajamas and you can skip the warm shower completely. Notice how you feel amazing after a cold shower and sluggish after a warm one.
After a few weeks of cold showers, you can up your game with an ice bath. Get 2-3 bags of ice at your local convenience store and put them in a half-full bath. Wait until around two thirds is melted or that the water has reached your designated temperature (10 / 12 °C (50 / 59 °F)). You can throw in a couple of handfuls of salt to speed up this process.
As with the cold showers, try to relax as much as you can. Start out with around 10 minutes and increase exposure over time. If you feel uncomfortable or in doubt, get out. After this exercise make sure you do another body scan.