"If we always choose comfort, we never learn the deepest capabilities of our mind and body." Wim Hof
What is the Wim Hof Method and how does it work?
Wim has a personal dark history with depression and anxiety that has affected his life and his children. His personal experiences led him on a journey to take control of his body health and to strengthen his immune system. He began by using cold water to test his emotional reserve and find a quiet space for his mind that he could not achieve through any other means than by inflicting extreme stress on his body.
He began to experiment with his use of breath to control his state and experience in his cold water emersions, and so began many years of research into breathing practices of the ancients, coupled with extreme challenges that he put his body through to test the theories he was uncovering. What has resulted is the Wim Hof Method, backed by research and science, a method to reconnect our body with its natural ability to heal, adapt and survive. Its pillars are available to all: breathwork, cold therapy, and commitment.
The breathwork protocol is unique to the Wim Hof Method but draws on many ancient teachings. As part of it, there is the legendary ‘breath hold’ that many people misinterpret and judge both for its safety and its uses.
The Wim Hof method uses rounds of breathwork, which allow you to exercise your respiratory system and in so doing you blow off carbon dioxide. This creates an alkaline state in your body rather than an acidic one. Then you are able to undertake a breath-hold and stay without breathing for an unusual length of time without the body fearing for its survival. In this breath-hold, the body is developing a more alkaline pH.
Your blood oxygen will start to drop and under normal circumstances, your body would go into survival mode and force you to breathe. But because it remains in an alkaline state while these levels drop, it is happy, and the process triggers our survival mode and begins to release adrenaline into the body to reset and boost our immune system in a reptilian way. We then take a deep breath when our body tells us to (not our mind) sending a surge of oxygen back into our system. With each round, as this describes, we are activating our body's natural triggers and systems to survive, training our respiratory and immune systems just like we do for our muscles in the gym. These rounds are doing our reps.
"We have become alienated from nature, but the cold is capable of bring us back what we once had lost." Wim Hof
What about the cold therapy and the ICE BATHS?!
It is so easy for us to exist within a comfort zone both mentally and physically. We have come to believe that by doing so we are keeping ourselves happy and safe. Whether that is turning up the air conditioning or pumping up our heating, to eating continuously at impulse, we are constantly seeking to make our environment comfortable. But for our body to work as nature intended to fight against bacteria, viruses, and stress, we have to put ourselves into discomfort to activate our natural mechanisms of protection. The Wim Hof method breath-hold and breathing protocols, paired with the challenge of cold therapy, add the required triggers we need to learn to control our physiology.
Cold therapy, be it a cold shower, ice bath or sea swim offers real stress on our body from nature. The Wim Hof method uses cold therapy to test your self-control in the stress of the cold, thereby teaching the body to relieve and manage the onset of stress in a controlled situation.
What are the health benefits?
- Reduced stress level
- Greater cold tolerance
- Faster recovery
- Enhanced creativity
- Stronger immune system
- Increased energy
- Better sleep
- Heightened focus & determination
- Improved sports performance
- Increased willpower
How does the method help with your mindset, anxiety, and mental stress?
Anxiety and mental stress often involve a level of self-doubt or a reduction in confidence. Self-doubt comes from our subconscious when we know we have not got the right tools to face what is coming. Even the most confident/class clown/tear-away student knows that feeling when they haven’t done any form of revision and have been out all night and are about to face an exam. The crushing self-doubt cannot be avoided as the subconscious knows that they are unlikely to have the tools for what is about to come.
Self-doubt is a messenger, telling you to do something about what is about to come. We can go into the breathing to go past the blockages created by the subconscious to find the connections, allowing the breath to help you go past your current state of conditioning of the mind and body. The breathing rounds act like water, finding a way through to flow and unblock your energy. Confidence comes when you feel in control of your body and can feel open because then your subconscious is happy that you are prepared. Breathing is a way to get into the subconscious quickly, to take away any blockage, fear, inhibition, and allow you to have flow. Thus, breathing practice is a great way to help alleviate anxiety and stress as well as control your mindset.
What will I get from attending a Wim Hof Fundamentals Workshop?
The aim of the fundamentals workshop will be to give you an understanding of the Wim Hof method protocols and to allow you to feel their impact on your body and mind. You will be encouraged to not be in your mind and to not be in your ego, but to be in the present.
This won’t be a hippy experience, but a connection achieved by simple science-led practices that can show you the power of the breath over your body and your mind. You will then delve into the Wim Hof Method protocols that will act as a gym training session for your respiratory and immune systems.
“The stillness of your mind is the real control, in life and for your health” Wim Hof
Through a fundamentals workshop, we will begin to show you how breathwork and cold therapy can begin to unlock this all-important stillness, under your own control in your day-to-day life. You will let go and connect to yourself – for a few hours you will become simple and at the behest of nature and its intended tools.
You will be surprised at how you can attend a fundamentals workshop with a complete group of strangers and in the end, feel a kinship with them you never thought possible. You will let go of all the sh*t and be with who you are and what you are. You will come to terms with who you are. Sit with yourself. Be yourself. You will do this by learning the science and protocols of the method together in one room, but your experience will be your own. You will then test your body and your breath with rounds of breathing, followed by (if you so wish) an ice bath. A powerful combination that cannot help but leave you feeling new levels of control over your body and mind.
As a certified level 2 Wim Hof Method Instructor, Tom Parry hosts regular workshops at Hyntle Barn Clinic, in Suffolk and other venues by arrangement. To find out about the format of these workshops and the next available date, head to his instructor profile on the official Wim Hof Website.
If you'd like to discuss running a workshop or bespoke event then please contact my admin team.