Breathing with Wim Hof: What the World Should Know

What I am capable of, everybody can learn

Wim Hof
“The Iceman” Wim Hof

I stumbled across conscious breathing after 30 years of my life. A moment of fate. I fortuitously met a wise man one day and we struck up a friendship. He taught me a Navy Seal “box breathing” technique, ahead of my first amateur boxing fight. It was a basic technique; inhale, hold, exhale, hold. I learned it, and applied it every day. Tranquility washed over me as I entered the ring for the first time in my life. What had happened?

Through box breathing I had regulated my own parasympathetic nervous system, slowing down my own heartbeat, resulting in a sense of calm, and control. Imagine if conscious breathing was taught in schools?

Wim Hof, “The Iceman”, takes this a step further with his method. Wim Hof breathing allows you to stimulate, at will, the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, “feel good” stress hormones which energize you and can suppress sickness.

Wim Hof has risen to fame in recent years. He has captivated the curiosity of various news channels, including Vice (watch their documentary below). High-profile celebrities have endorsed his method, and crucially, he has been backed by science. Yet, today he is still battling to get his method out to the world.

The Iceman is on a mission to prove that we have far more power than we know. He is determined for his method to be incorporated globally to help cure sickness and disease. Wim Hof has allowed scientists to conduct multiple studies on him and his method, all with startling new discoveries about our capabilities. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself, watch the safety video here first – his method can lead to a blackout if it’s not used properly.

His breathing and cold therapy methods have been adopted by some of the world’s greatest athletes, including all-time great tennis player Novak Djokovic, and MMA legend Alistair Overeem.

Wim Hoff and MMA legend Alistair Overeem

Scientific research has concluded that his method works, and anyone (not just Wim Hof) can indeed regulate their own autonomic nervous system, and immune system, using focused, Wim Hof breathing (Radboud study, 2014). Previously, science had said this was impossible. The Iceman re-wrote science, and his work has, in a sense, empowered humanity once more.

His principle is simple: we have moved away from Mother Nature, become too comfortable, and our powerful, primal instincts have been diminished. It’s time to go back into nature, into the depths of our physiology and re-establish the mind/body connection, through deep, profound breathing and exposure to the cold.

How does Wim Hof breathing work? Wim Hof proved that we can store more oxygen in our body than previously thought by science. With 30 long, deep breaths (as shown in the tutorial below) we increase our blood circulation by 25%.

Then, after the final exhalation we hold our breath, until the point we feel like we need to breathe again. This final stage triggers a “fight or flight” response, tapping into our primal instincts – the brain stem. This floods the body with anti-stress hormones that act as a medicine.

Wim Hof has always claimed that we can heal physical ailments through this method. During focused breathing meditation, he says, simply direct your focus to the problem.

The study at Radboud University, 2014, revealed that Wim Hof, and anyone who used his breathing method, could suppress symptoms of sickness when injected with an endotoxin. Normally, this injection triggers an onset of severe flu symptoms, fever and vomiting. This showed that humans have the ability to control their immune response. A mind-blowing discovery. Wim Hof believes his breathing method can be used to treat depression, and he is driven to prove this to the world. He once lost his own wife to suicide and raised four children alone.

Wim Hof swam 57 metres under ice, a world record

What about the cold? Wim Hof has achieved staggering feats, world records, submerged in ice, swimming under ice, climbing Mount Everest in shorts – the man loves ice! He promotes cold therapy, including cold showers and ice baths, and gradual exposure to the cold. His breathing method increases glucose production, raising the body’s temperature and keeping it warm, even in freezing conditions. As proved in the 2018 Michigan study “Brain over Body”.

Wayne State University of Medicine in Detroit created a special body suit where they could raise and lower the temperatures, analyzing The Iceman’s reactions via imaging. His body was subjected to extremely cold temperatures, and “periods of mild hypothermia”.

What transpired was amazing. Wim Hof raised his metabolic rate 300%, and warmed his own blood back to normal body temperature. In addition to this, his brain activity showed that he was able to override the brain’s natural aversion to the freezing cold, and reverse the onset of hypothermia. Instead, he appeared to voluntarily trigger the release of “feel good” endorphins. A beautiful interplay between mind, and matter.

The Wim Hof method might allow practitioners to develop higher level of control over key components of the autonomous system, with implications for lifestyle interventions that might ameliorate multiple clinical syndromes.

“Brain Over Body” Study by Wayne State University of Medicine

This is Wim Hof’s blueprint for proving that we can influence chronic sickness and disease via breathing techniques, cold exposure and focus.

There’s a lot of chemistry going on inside our body. When the chemistry is messed up, or imbalanced, we become sick and even depressed. Through breathing we can influence our body with life-changing consequences. Wim Hof, with his method, appears to have opened a doorway into something quite extraordinary. So, my friends, let’s get breathing.

Wim Hof online (click the link)

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Personal note: After trying this method, I would recommend it to be used when you feel you need a boost of adrenaline, or you’re under mental stress. Never hold your breath longer than feels right. I have experienced great benefits from both Wim Hof breathing, and cold showers every morning. More energy, more focus, more connection between mind and body. If you’re interested in his breathing method, watch the safety video and use it, don’t abuse it.

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