“I want to bring back love in the world. Love is compiled by happiness, strength and health. If you radiate good energy because you’re healthy, happy and strong, that’s love. So love is my mission.”
That quote is from Win Hof. Some of you may know him as the Iceman for his feats of endurance under the most extreme cases of freezing cold water, snow and ice. He’s also run a marathon in the desert with no water and climbed Mt. Everest in nothing but shorts and shoes. In addition, he also holds about 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures.
Most of us probably agree by now, if that we aren’t healthy and happy ourselves, we’re not going to be of much use to anyone else. The majority of us also never know what we are truly capable of. Most people never push themselves beyond the levels of their daily routines of eating, working, watching tv, surfing the web, and maybe some type of workout in rarer cases. There are many jobs that are quite physical, but if not done with right intention and focus become just another mindless activity.
Consciously taking your body to another level is something anyone can do if they start small. Take one step forward and work from there. Then do that again, etc. What Wim Hof has done with the human body is quite remarkable. More remarkable is now science is backing up Hof’s claims of the great benefits that can be gained by learning his Win Hof Method which includes breathing techniques combined with exposure to extremely cold temperatures, or “cold therapy”.
By learning Hof’s techniques, “Healthy volunteers exhibited profound increases in the release of epinephrine (adrenaline), which in turn led to increased production of anti-inflammatory mediators and subsequent dampening of the proinflammatory cytokine response elicited by intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin,” according to Proceedings of the National Academy for Sciences.
The findings also indicate that through practicing the techniques individuals are able to voluntarily influence their sympathetic nervous system and immune system. Think of the benefits athletes could get from the anti-inflammatory effects alone, not to mention the ability to stay calm under pressure and control fear.
Much of what Hof seems to be doing has to do with tapping into the power contained in our own breath. It’s what literally keeps us alive. Food you can go hours and days without. But not air. What we are breathing in they call oxygen, but that is just a word. What we are really breathing in is a life force which science has apparently only tapped the surface of. Hof is exploring that area for us. He is definitely a pioneer in the area. He admits he’s not the first to do these incredible feats, but he’s the first to take it from the realm of the mystical to the lab of the scientist.
Athletes have been using cold therapy in the form of ice baths and cryotherapy for some time to help with inflammation and recovery, but combining that practice with Hof’s breathing techniques could potentially open up higher levels of performance. The breathing methods appear to be similar to Yogic Breathing or Pranayama practices, as well as those used in some forms of Chi Kung.
The more control an athlete has over his or her body, the better. And methods like the one Wim Hof is sharing will help do just that. Certain forms of meditation can also do that but what’s great about Hof’s method is that he himself is a testament to its effectiveness and the research is there to back it up.
Check out this documentary on Wim Hof and what science is saying about his method…
- The Science of how to Consciously Control Your Immune System with the Wim Hof Method
- Embracing the Cold: A Workshop with Wim ‘The Iceman’ Hof
If any of our readers have tried the Wim Hof Method or plan to, please let us know your results. Keep breathing.