Breathing Your Way to a Healthier You

Wim Hof, holder of 26 Guinness World Records and developer of the Wim Hof Method, has been hailed globally for his breathing technique and his nearly superhuman ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Even Goop has covered him for his method’s ability to treat autoimmune disease. Hof however has always insisted that he is in no way an anomaly and that anyone can learn to do what he does using his method.

The Wim Hof Method, which I’ve talked about in a previous post, can make the human body more resilient to physical and psychological stresses, according to Hof himself. Through teaching his method, he has amassed a huge following, allowing people to use the Wim Hof Method to improve their athletic performance, boost immunity, safeguard themselves from mental health triggers, and even alleviate symptoms of chronic disease.

There are three basic parts of The Wim Hof Method, which Hof claims contribute to the mastery of mind over body, which you can also read on the Wim Hof Method website and the Wim Hof Method app:

  1. Third eye meditation, an unguided visualization exercise aimed at total relaxation.
  2. Cold exposure by a variety of techniques, ranging from cold showers to ice baths to long hikes in the snow.
  3. Specialized breathing techniques. There are two types: The first alternates between short periods of hyperventilating, followed by periods of breath retention, in which you hold your breath as long as you can, following an exhale. The second consists of a cycle of one deep inhalation, one full exhalation, and ten seconds of breath retention in which you squeeze all your muscles.

There have been multiple studies on Wim Hof and his method to better understand why and how it works. Currently Matthijs Kox, PhD, is heading a research team in the Netherlands and hoping to implement the Wim Hof Method as a treatment for patients in the ICU and those suffering from autoimmune disease. While search is still developing, the early research results have been encouraging and Kox is excited about the possibilities. Goop was able to interview Kox, which you can read here.

Wim Hof and his method are getting the recognition they deserve. With his technique helping people in so many different ways, it can help you too. All you need to do is take that first breath.

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