PA Homeopathy - Dr. Bernardo A. Merizalde

PA Homeopathy Blog

Jul 5, 2017

The Wim Hof Method (WHM)


Wim Hof—holder of 21 Guinness world records for feats that involve an extraordinary ability to control breathing and/or withstand freezing cold—has developed a training method that positively impacts both the immune system and the autonomic nervous system, which includes breathing, circulation of blood throughout our bodies, and heart rate.

The Wim Hof Method (WHM) is a series of breathing exercises, focus, and gradual exposure to cold designed to reprogram how the body uses oxygen and responds to pain, disease, and stress. WHM increases energy and stamina, decreases anxiety, strengthens the immune system, decreases inflammation, and reduces acidity and waste products at the cellular level.

WHN is different from just meditation because its combination of breathing, focus, and cold therapy and each component trains the body and mind to respond at the global autonomic nervous system response level rather than simply reducing cortisol and stress. Practitioners are encouraged to do the breathing exercises, at least once a day, and cold shower therapy every morning. In doing so, they prepare their cells and bodies to
• Circulate blood more effectively
• Cleanse from the inside out
• Convert body fat and glucose to energy, decreasing obesity
• Increase the metabolic rate
• Lower susceptibility to disease
• Respond to fewer stress hormones so there is less anxiety
• Signal the auto-immune system to not attack itself (as it does in some autoimmune diseases)

At Wim Hof’s level of expertise, one can also regulate one’s body temperature despite outward conditions (Groothuius et al. 2010) and fight off disease (Kox et al 2012).

Please note the following:
• Begin this practice only after consulting with your medical team.
• WHM should be avoided by those who have epilepsy, a heart condition, a child in utero, and/or a serious medical condition that is not well controlled.
• The breathing exercises should be done while reclining or seated because of the possibility of lightheadedness or fainting if one goes too far.
• Never do these breathing exercises during or immediately before any activity where fainting would cause harm including, but not limited to, bathing, driving, engaging in sports, and operating machinery.
• Cold shower therapy—or any immersion in freezing cold—should be gradual to reduce the risk of hypothermia.

Breathing Exercise
• Sit or recline in a safe and comfortable place
• Breathe in deeply, fully but not forcefully, and then exhale, passively but briskly,  at least 20-30 times, at the rate that feels most comfortable to you
• On the 30th repetition, exhale slowly then hold your breath for as long as you can (most people can hold their breath between 2 and 3 minutes); you may get lightheaded or feel sluggish or get tingling in the arms—as long as these are mild, you can persevere, but stop if it doesn’t feel comfortable
• The goal is to increase the amount of time you can go without needing to take a breath
• When you finally feel the need to inhale, breath in deeply, and hold your breath on inhalation, relaxing your body in that space for 10-30 seconds then exhale and regain your normal rate of breathing
• Repeat the cycle 3-4 times

Cold Shower Therapy
• On the first day, take a warm shower then breathe in and out slowly while switching the water to cold—do not hold your breath but do try to stay under the cold water for 1 minute—and repeat daily
• Repeat in week 2 for 2 minutes
• Repeat in week 3 for 3 minutes
• In week 4, slowly breathe in and out while standing under a cold water spray—no warm shower first—for 5 minutes

This is an overview of the Wim Hof Method and you can see the breathing technique demonstrated in detail in this video.

If you desire greater energy, less stress, and less acidity and inflammation in your body, get the go-ahead from your doctor to explore the Wim Hof Method.

References:
Groothuis, J.T., Eijsvogels, T.M., Scholten, R. R., Thijssen, D. H., and Hopman, M.T. (2010). Can meditation influence the autonomic nervous system? A case report of a man immersed in crushed ice for 80 minutes. (Zie bijlage)

Kox, M., Stoffels, M., Smeekens, S. P., Alfen, N., van,  Gomes, M., Eijsvogels, T. M. H., Hopman, M. T. E, Hoeven, J. G, van der, Netea, M. G., and Pickkers, P. (2012). The
influence of concentration/meditation on autonomic nervous system activity and the innate immune response a case study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 74, 489-449. 


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