The Mind: Getting to Know Wim Hof

Does . . .
Better sleep & reduced stress
Greater focus & energy levels
Increased willpower & improved immune system
. . . interest you?

Let’s talk about Wim Hof – one 15 minutes session is enough for you to see, feel and notice the difference.

My first introduction to the Wim Hof method was during therapy. My therapy focused on the mind, the body and the connection between physical and emotional pain which often manifests in various types of chronic pain. I was struggling with chronic headaches and migraines on a daily basis, and regular episodes of back pain and disc issues. My goal was to learn how to navigate chronic anxiety and severe depression, symptoms of my lengthy struggle with chronic pain and its
effects on my life. After one session, I was hooked by the way I felt.

Wim Hof, a Dutch athlete known as “The Iceman”, is able to submerge himself in freezing cold water for extended periods of time. In 2011, Wim was studied by Radboud University, and they found that he was able to voluntarily influence his autonomic nervous system – something researchers previously thought was impossible. Studies and research into Wim’s methods and their impact on the body are ongoing, but those who use these methods report positive effects like:

  • Migraine relief
  • Improved focus & mood
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep & body recovery
  • Better ability to manage stress
  • Reduced anxiety & depressed moods

This is fantastic news for those of us looking to use an alternative method to improve body functions and help manage pain, improving our health and wellbeing.

How do I start?

The exercise is simple and needs little preparation. You’ll need a space to find a comfortable seated position and 15 minutes of your time and focus.

A great place to start is Wim Hof’s guided session for beginners. You will begin with 3 rounds of breathing. Each round has a stage of rapid breathing and breath holding. As he guides you through each breath, you will notice feelings and sensations in your body. The response happens quickly – your arms tingle, your head feels light and your cells radiate energy. As you push through these feelings, the goal is to leave your mind and drop into your body, to stop thinking about what you are doing and just feel what is happening.

For me, it was a challenge to leave my mind at first, especially when holding air in. I would feel the need to breathe and my brain would immediately kick in – but eventually, I learned to acknowledge my autonomic nervous system telling me it’s time to breathe and I could let go of the focus, go into my body again, level out and notice a sense of relaxation over my entire mind and body.

Each session gets easier and as you get familiar with the exercise, you will have more time to relax into it – noticing tension areas all over your body. In time, you can let go and rest – the face, the jaw, the neck, the stomach – all the areas where we hold our tension; you will learn to completely surrender.

After the practice, the body feels euphoric – all kinds of energy running through you, not anxious or tense energy, but an ease over your body and mind that is clear, empty and peaceful.

Each person experiences their own unique feelings in using the Wim Hof Method. The more you practice, the deeper the impacts can be. Consider setting a reminder for daily practice, or sharing it with someone to help remind each other to practice regularly. Even when something feels good and we see
the benefits, sometimes we get distracted and skip the things that we know make us feel better – having a buddy or friend can help you stay accountable.

Tried the Wim Hof method? Share your experience on our website!

What’s up next? Check back soon for our next topic in The Mind series: Meditation