We are able to do so much more at home for our own body to prevent illness and protect our health. In 2019 I went to Poland to finish my training with Wim Hof; plus of course, do the obligatory mountain climb in just a pair of shorts and walking boots.
The aim was to deepen my understanding about a method that I could bring back to Suffolk and incorporate into my own daily practice and that of our patients at Livelong. It fascinated me, because it uses the tools of nature, transcends age groups and offers protocols that can prevent pain and illness. Fast forward 2 years and we have been through a worldwide pandemic that has globally tested our human immune systems and in the midst, I took this training further to qualify as a level 2 Wim Hof Instructor.
Why? Why is this method important? And other than reading about Wim Hof in the Sunday paper, why should you be thinking about learning it?
Our human immune response has been so greatly affected by the current worldwide pandemic and whatever your views may be, the pandemic has shown that we are vulnerable unless we have a body that is working well. Our immune response is vital to life, but we have lost our way when it comes to tapping into nature's natural defence systems. We can control our immune system at will using the Wim Hof Method.
Wim Hof worked with a university and a room of scientists to record evidence to support this claim, and despite being successful he was told by the scientists that this must be a phenomenon only possible by him, they reported:
“New research on Wim "Iceman" Hof suggests that he can influence his autonomic nervous system and immune response through concentration and meditation. The results obtained are remarkable, however, the investigators emphasize that so far, these results have only been obtained in a single individual. Therefore, they cannot serve as scientific evidence for the hypothesis that the autonomic nervous system and the immune response can be influenced through concentration and meditation techniques.”
So, Wim took a group of twelve normal people like you and me and taught them his breathing protocols, to show that anyone could have the same control over their autonomic nervous system and immune response.
In 2013, scientists at the Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands injected volunteers with a dead strain of E.coli to promote a flu-like immune response. The subjects had been randomly split into two groups; the first comprised healthy individuals and were the control group against which the other was to be measured. The second – the test group – was virtually the same except for one difference: for 10 days they undertook an intense program of meditation, breathing techniques, and cold exposure with Wim Hof.
The result, the trained participants showed fewer influenza-like symptoms, lower levels of pro-inflammatory mediators, and increased plasma epinephrine levels. In conclusion, the trained group was able to voluntarily activate their autonomic nervous system.
2014 - "Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans", authors: M. Kox, P. Pickkers et al - Radboud University Medical Center (published in PNAS)
So why is this important to me?
Because through learning some simple breathing protocols and testing our body with controlled stressors, such as breath holds and cold therapy, we too can achieve control over our immune response. This was important to me in 2017 when I met and trained with Wim Hof for the first time, but now as we face a new winter here in the UK under a continuing global pandemic, it is more important than ever.
What is the Wim Hof Method and how does it work?
To delve into the details of this service and method read more via our detailed service page and find out about what to expect at one of our workshops.