“Unless you are willing to experience new things, you’ll never realize your full potential.”
– Wim Hof, Becoming The Iceman
Are you looking for a new way to…
balance your life?
gain more perspective?
appreciate the world around you?
take on the day with energy and vigor?
Then it’s time to consider the Wim Hof method.
Wim Hof, the Dutch “Iceman,” holds 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures and exploits of the body. He’s climbed Mounts Everest and Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes. He ran a full marathon in the desert with no water or food. He regularly and comfortably sits in an ice bath for hours at a time.
He’s able to accomplish these amazing feats due to a breathing technique that helps his mind connect with his body on a cellular level.
Why Do You Care?
Before we get into the Wim Hof method, let’s talk about how this technique relates to you. Maybe you don’t have a desire to climb a mountain naked (I know I don’t). Maybe you don’t want to take a dunk in an ice bath.
But if there are days when you don’t want to get off the couch, go to the gym, go to work, or be productive… then the Wim Hof method can inspire and energize you. If it can strengthen Wim Hof and his thousands of followers to swim in the Arctic, it can probably empower you to live your best life too.
You can apply this technique to your life at work and at home. It’s easy and takes little time and energy. It helps you connect with your body and the world around you. you will be able to consciously control your emotions, feelings, thoughts, and even illness.
The Wim Hof Method has been shown to help partakers:
- increase energy levels.
- better deal with stress.
- boost immune system.
- strengthen nervous system.
- withstand the cold.
- enhance focus and concentration.
- advance meditation.
- improve mood.
- regulate workout recovery.
This technique works by releasing adrenaline, which produces anti-inflammatory mediators in the body. This helps dampen toxins and pollutants that diminish our natural processes and cause ailments, sluggishness, depression, and more.
Science has proven his method time and time again. One particular study in 2013 looked at 24 participants who studied the Wim Hof method. They were then injected with E. Coli. Not a single participant showed any symptoms of the ailment. The untrained group got sick within 24 hours. It was a 100% study where everyone in trained group did not get sick and everyone in the untrained group got sick. Very rarely in science is it so black and white.
This suggests that you can influence your nervous system and immune system. You have the control over your own health and energy.
At Forge, we care about your work-life balance. The Wim Hof Method is one tool—like the Pomodoro Technique or the Tree of Time Management—that can help carry you to a better work-life balance by improving your stress, concentration, mood, energy, productivity, and health.
What is his method?
There are three components to the method: breathing, cold therapy and commitment. Breathing elevates your oxygen levels for more energy, reduced stress, and an augmented immune response. Cold is optimal for healthy cells, tissue, fat loss, inflammation, immune system, hormone levels, sleep quality, and mood. Commitment is at the foundation of both. You need to have focus and determination in order to see results.
The Breathing Exercise
Don’t do this exercise underwater, while driving, while standing, while showering/bathing, or without consulting a doctor. You should be lying down, because the effects can be intense at first. Doing this exercise is at your own risk.
This breathing exercise is a great way to regain connection with your body at a cellular level. When you gain this mind-body interaction, you can literally “program” your cells to be more energized and productive. It also delivers more oxygen to your body, which boost the mitochondrial performance of your cells for overall better function.
Do this before a game, a competition, or even your shift at work to feel relaxed and energized!
- Get comfortable and close your eyes.
- Start with a warm-up. Inhale deeply until you feel slight pressure inside your chest. Hold for 2 seconds. Exhale completely and push out all the air. Repeat 15 times slowly.
- Now you’ll do 30-40 power breaths. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth in short, powerful burst. Your belly should pull out when breathing in, and pull in when breathing out. Keep the pace steady. Count on your fingers until you get to 30 or 40 breaths. Do the breaths in rapid succession.
- After the power breaths, draw in one deep breath. Fill your lungs to capacity. Push the air out gently. Hold the exhalation for as long as you can. Pull your chin to your chest so air won’t sneak in. Relax into the breath.
- As you hold the breath, scan your body. Where do you feel most energized? Where do you need more energy? “Send” oxygen to those parts that are not as energized. It’s not uncommon for people to feel some sort of emotional release or visualize imagery.
- Hold here until the “gasp reflex” tells you to breathe. You’ll notice that you can hold your breath longer than before the power breaths. You may also feel light-headed, tingling, or surges of energy. That’s because you’ve introduced new oxygen into your body, and it’s feeling happy and re-energized!
- Inhale to full capacity for a recovery breath. Hold the breath for 15 seconds. Relax the body as you exhale out.
- Repeat for another round. As you get more proficient, you can work up to 6 rounds for ultimate energy.
If you feel dizziness or pain at any point, lie down and breathe as you normally would.
The Cold Exercise
Another great addition is a cold shower. It will make your veins healthier and heart clearer, and it helps to boost energy and productivity. The cold also kills off those cells that can’t withstand the cold… aka the sluggish, old cells. This means that a cold shower leaves you with only the healthy cells that are ready to make your body function at peak performance.
Cold exposure is like anything—the more you practice, the better you get at it. So don’t jump into an ice bath right away. Take it slowly.
Start with a cool shower or end a warm shower with 30 seconds of colder water. Walk in feet first to avoid the initial shock. Never enter a cold shower headfirst, as it could spur a headache. Each day, you’ll be able to go colder and longer.
The Bottom Line
“If you can learn how to use your mind, anything is possible.”
– Wim Hof, Becoming The Iceman
Work-life balance isn’t easy to achieve. But it starts with a healthy, energized mind and body. The Wim Hof Method is a great technique to help improve your vitality for a more successful work-life balance. Learn more about the Wim Hof Method here.
Have any of you Forgers tried the Wim Hof Method? What did you think? Share this article with your thoughts and opinions!