This past weekend I had the pleasure of personally meeting Wim Hof, a radical health enthusiast hell bent on challenging current medical opinion on what the human body is capable of achieving. Let’s just say he’s off to a great start! Nicknamed the “Ice Man,” Wim has accumulated almost 20 world records including; longest ice bath; climbing snowy peaks wearing only shorts; running marathons around the polar circle without a shirt or shoes! You may be wondering, “how the hell is this guy able to achieve this?” The answer to this question is surprisingly simple: breath, focus, and cold.
Wim’s methods influence the autonomic nervous system. This system of the body, according to current medical opinion, is out of our direct control and is in charge of our breathing, heart rate, and immune response. Wim Hof is able to prove this opinion wrong by participating in multiple studies showing him having the ability to influence all of these mechanisms.
Breathing has been known to slow heart rate and lessen the body’s sympathetic tone. Wim Hof’s breathing method helps to give your body maximum oxygen uptake while cutting the internal CO2 in half. This causes your blood to carry increased amounts of oxygen to working tissues, accelerating recovery while increasing white blood cell count and activity to combat disease.
Focus and meditation has been cited by multiple studies to have significant health benefits including reduced anxiety and overall mood (Phongsuphap, Pongsupap, Chandanamattha & Lursinsap, 2008; Wu & Lo, 2008; Paul-Labrador et al., 2006). These mindfulness based stress reduction practices help to compound the effects of the breathing exercises.
Wim’s cold immersion techniques act on the immune system’s inflammatory protein response. Studies on Wim himself show that cold immersion drastically decreases inflammatory response. This coupled with concentration and focus techniques help Wim control natural bodily responses to cold such as shivering. He has also, to many scientists surprise, shown the ability to control how far his body temperature drops to avoid hypothermia.
Wim’s unorthodox methods just may hold the key to us finding ways to self heal when we are sick or diseased. To understand, in more detail, Wim’s techniques; download his free pdf which provides his method and studies from accredited organizations HERE!
-Howard Bowens III