I didn’t take Wim Hof seriously for years. I know some people who did a class or a weekend, and then never did it again, so I thought it might just be a novelty. I changed my opinion when I read James Nestor’s reporting on the many studies about the positive effects of the Wim Hof Method. There are also many anecdotes of healing from chronic illnesses, so I wanted to try this to see what effects it might have for people with burnout.
The rave reports by our friend Thorfin, spurred me to get started. The method includes breathing, cold exposure, meditation, yoga/stretching. I did the basic WHM breathing (~30 minutes) twice a day for 65 days, took over 20 cold showers, did a lot of pushups.
The breathing exercise — which you can learn from Wim’s youtube videos — is both easy and compelling. I never thought I’d be able to hold my breath for 180 seconds without straining. The experience of holding my breath was one of intense quiet mental focus.
These kind of breathing techniques [hypoxic breathing] really do have a measurable effect on the body. Here is one factoid: Human blood stays within the pH range of 7.35 to 7.45. Studies show that WHM breathing moves blood pH towards the alkaline end of the range where it stays for hours.
Cold showers are not my favorite, but if you keep breathing you get over it. Our tap water is ~50 degrees F. I’ve been too chicken to immerse myself in Pugot Sound, but that is in the future. My showers average 4~5 minutes, my longest was a 7 minute shower. No hypothermia.
The first thing I noticed was how tired I was for almost 30 days. It did not increase my ability to do pushups, or to stretch. I did not get the pronounced ‘uplift’ that Thorfin got, but the practices increased my frequency of sleeping through the night and gave me vivid dreams. It had an astonishing positive effect on my qigong practice.
My guess is that to the extent this method heals, it does over many months. I’m now convinced that hypoxic breathing is a real, powerful thing, and I’m going to go deeper and longer into this. WHM is one of three(?) easily available hypoxic breathing methods.
If you’d like to know more detail, here is a link to longer version of this post on my blog — https://endingburnout.com/65daysofthewimhofmethod/
Are you someone who has tried the method for months or years? What results did you get, why did you stick with it?