There are a few reviews on the Wim Hof Method out there, I am going to take a slightly different approach here. I am going to base this around the WHM App, and more so on the free elements from the app.
Now you may or may not have heard about Wim Hof before, he is known as the “Iceman”, the guy who climbs Snowy Mountain Peaks in his shorts. He has been training his body and spirit in hard natural cold environments. It is these circumstances with breathing and mindset that has increased his effectiveness to be able to explore his physiology in more detail.
So what is the Wim Hof Method?
It is a process of three components – or pillars as Wim describes, these are:
Deep breathing exercises – similar to Tummo breathing
Commitment – training concentration, your mindset
Cold Therapy – gradual exposure to the cold
The Wim Hof Method is designed for you to achieve a strong mindset, to gain your inner strength – your Inner-Fire.
There have been several scientific research studies around this method that have proven to show great results.
These studies have shown that Wim was able to voluntarily influence his autonomic nervous system. By having an endotoxin injected in him, he was able to dampen the innate immune response.
The WHM free app
What does WHM App provide?
So I am going to cheat a little bit here by including some paid content. This is an optional payment of $5 that unlocks 4 additional activities for the app. In my opinion, it was worth it.
The completely free part introduces you to the basics of the Wim Hof Method with 2 video courses:
- The Explanation Course
- The Mini-Course
Then we get into the activities which are structured into 3 pillars, Breathing, Commitment and Cold. Each activity has a short video with Wim demonstrating what to do.
- Basic Breathing (free)
- Push-ups (free)
- 4 Minute Meditation (additional)
- Forward Bending (free)
- Reverse Balance (free)
- Headstand (additional)
- The Shelf (additional)
- Cold Shower (free)
- Ice Bath (additional)
There is an incorporated timer for your breathing practice so you can keep track of your retention times. Along with keeping progress results for all the activities done through the app. As well as giving you badges for completing certain elements, which give an extra sense of motivation.
Practising the Wim Hof Method
But the real question is – what is it like to incorporate the Wim Hof Method into your life? The short answer is – it is great…. The longer answer, let’s breakdown each activity:
Basic Breathing does feel a little weird to start off with and can take a bit to get used to. Getting into it you can become a little lightheaded and feel some tingling or contractions in the arms and legs – this is good and normal. I have noticed a slight increase in my breath retention over the sessions.
Pushups incorporated in the breathing pillar? That’s because you begin with deep breathes before you begin the pushups. Things I have noticed for myself, starting the pushups feels easier after the breathing technique, and it does seem that I can get 3 or 4 extra reps in. Part of this method is about increasing our stamina.
Meditation (paid addition) again starts with the deep breathing technique, however this time you contemplate on things afterwards. This varies from day to day for me, depending on how many thoughts are racing through my head.
Wim Hof “By not breathing out entirely, you come to a point where a residual of air remains in the lungs. After doing this thirty times, you exhale again without any use of force. This time though, you don’t immediately inhale again, but wait with inhaling until you sense your body needs new oxygen. After this, the whole process starts again. While you start to sensations of lightness, laxity and tingling, these rounds are repeated a number of times.”
Forward Bend will depend on how flexible you are, but don’t worry, you only go as far as you are capable of. Take it easy but push yourself as you’ll get better at it over time if you keep it up regularly.
The Reverse Balance is fairly easy, and again can be dependent on your body. Remember these are progression exercises that help you improve over time. It doesn’t matter where you begin, keep progressing and keep improving.
Headstand (paid addition) could be a challenging one for you, definitely take it easy and don’t overdo it. Use your arms for support. I still require a wall for assistance with my headstands, though I have noticed some improvement with performing it.
The Shelf (paid addition) was the hardest one for me, my first couple of attempts were not successful. Though I kept trying each day and now I can hold myself up for about 20 seconds or so. This can be tough on the wrists so take that as you may.
Cold Showers are the one thing that is hard to do…. The thought of taking a cold shower, especially during winter is daunting. It is bad enough during the summer. The initial blast of cold gives a sharp intake on the chest. After that, it is not overly too bad. This starts with a four-week challenge – 15 seconds up to a minute by the end of the 4 weeks.
A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away!
Ice Baths (paid addition) to be honest I haven’t really got into these, the cold showers seem to be good enough for the moment. The additional purchase of Ice, though I would like to give it a go at least once. My aim is to stick with the cold showers for a while and when summer comes around again I’ll test out an Ice Bath. I think the same principles for recovery apply between the two.
The after effects of practice
Although I have only been incorporating the Wim Hof Method into my life for a short time, I have already noticed various improvements from doing so. I know the science is there from the different methods, so the incentive is high. The ideas are not unique and are practised in various forms around the world.
Wim acknowledges that there are various methods that separately deal with these techniques. Though as far as he and his team knows, no other method interacts with all three components. And it is the interaction with these three elements that create this exceptional performance.
Change in any direction is possible, incremental small changes every day to what is of value will be exponential in the long run.
Altering the way you breath can be something that you’ll need to get used to, though after a while it will become more natural, you’ll feel like doing it more often, give you that natural high of sorts.
During the breathing exercises, your body becomes warmer and you can sense the changes within the body and mind. Which only last for a short while, I am only just starting out.
The cold showers aren’t so intimidating after a while, unless it’s on a really cold day. The skin can become slightly numb, which seems to take some of the bodies aches away.
The benefits of practising the WHM can vary from person to person. Though you will gain both physical and mental benefits like:
- More energy
- Lower inflammation
- Improved body temperature tolerance
- Increased willpower
OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE APP
After going through the basics of the Wim Hof Method and you are still looking for more, or to go deeper into the practice, there are additional paid sections for a deeper understanding of practising the techniques.
- 30-day audio challenge
- The fundamentals course
- Classic 10-week course
- Power of the mind