Have you heard of the Iceman?
Wikipedia says the following of Wim Hof
Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He has set Guinness world records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice, and still holds the record for a barefoot half-marathon on ice and snow.
Why I decided to try the mini class with the iceman
I had a Facebook ad pop up on my timeline saying try the 3 day Mini Class Wim Hof method and see how you feel.
I thought why not, entered my name and email and within a few minutes, I received my first video. The email title was Welcome to the Wim Hof Method Mini Class (Video 1 inside)
I have seen the iceman many times on YouTube, seeing him swim under ice-covered water, take ice baths and even run barefooted on snow and ice.
When I was reading the welcome email and before watching the video this paragraph stood out
“The Mini Class you receive one email per day over three days, one for each of the 3 pillars of the Wim Hof Method: Breathing, Cold Therapy and Commitment.”
Okay I thought, I do not have a problem 2 out of the three above.
Anyone that studies martial arts knows that there will be aspects of “breathing” within the system. That coupled with the meditation that I have done on and off for years, and a bigger commitment to daily meditation since the lockdown in March 2020 during the covid pandemic, breathing, no problem!
Again to study a martial art and then run a martial arts school takes daily commitment, not only from the business side, accounts, marketing but also from keeping students engaged, class planning, making things fun etc.
My commitment to my chosen martial art, Wing Chun, has really been put to the test in 2020, the loss of students due to the virus, zoom teaching, stress, bills and motivation has really pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Without commitment and love for my students and my art, I could have easily gone back to my 9 to 5.
So the link between the Wim Hof method and Martial Arts so far seemed easy…
I am not sure about you but I do not like the cold, I am not as bad as some people in my family that want to have the heating on in September but having a cold upper back and shoulders isn’t something that fills me with joy
The first video is well explained, and easy enough to follow.
The power of the breathing technique – where you can learn how to increase your energy, decrease stress and strengthen your immune system.
I downloaded the official Wim Hof app from the app store, and off I go.
The breathing video does come with the following warning
WARNING: ALWAYS DO THE BREATHING EXERCISE IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT (E.G. SITTING ON A COUCH/FLOOR) AND UNFORCED. NEVER PRACTICE IT BEFORE OR DURING DIVING, DRIVING, SWIMMING, TAKING A BATH OR ANY OTHER ENVIRONMENT/PLACE WHERE IT MIGHT BE DANGEROUS TO FAINT. THE BREATHING EXERCISE HAS A PROFOUND EFFECT AND SHOULD BE PRACTICED IN THE WAY IT IS EXPLAINED.
Breathing Technique Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Get Comfortable
Step 2: Start to breathe. Fully in (nose/mouth) then let go (mouth), continuously, 30-40 times
Step 3: Last breath – breathe out, emptying the lungs. Hold for as long as you can (no force)
Step 4: After the hold, take a deep breath in and hold for 10-15 seconds
Step 5: Repeat the entire process for another 2 or 3 rounds
I found this method a little challenging at first but by round 3 I had the method down.
The tingling in the hands and feet were a little disconcerting, to begin with, but became more comfortable and this is an expected phenomenon with the breathing method when practised.
Day one completed, easy enough and I felt nice and relaxed.
The next email came on day 2 as expected, I will be honest, the title of the email did make me wonder…
[WHM] Learn how to take a cold shower and smile (Video 2 inside)
Well, because I am committed to this mini-course I watched the video and wanted to understand the following paragraph
“all about the benefits of cold showers – and how they can help balance your hormone system, reduce inflammation and build mental resilience.”
So the alarm is set for 6:30 am each morning, the house if quiet unless the cats want to feed, feed the cats go into the living room get comfortable and start with the breathing method from day 1.
Then comes the challenge, the cold shower.
The method for the cold shower involves having a warm normal shower at first then, once finished, stepping away from the shower, turning the temperature down to cold and then trying to slowly get your body adjusted to the new cold water.
I started arms and hands first, wow, it is freezing, a few more seconds then I try to put my legs in, hmm, not a thing I thought I would be doing a 7 am!
I managed to gey my lower half acclimatised to the water and got as far as my lower back.
As I mentioned earlier, trying to get my shoulders and chest into the cold water just didn’t happen, I did splash the water over my upper body, wow, takes your breath away.
I didn’t time the amount of time I spent in the cold water, I would estimate around 3 to 4 minutes.
Maybe I will have better luck tomorrow.
Today’s email comes in the usual timely manner, “Unlock the power of your mind (Video 3 inside)” The first paragraph goes as follows:
“How was your first cold shower? How long did you manage? I promise you’ll get better at it.
The secret to it is what I want to talk to you about today – the third and final pillar of the Wim Hof Method – Commitment.”
I did find the cold shower a challenge, I think anyone will, our shower is linked to the boiler so is the cold water, it is autumn in the UK and getting colder, I better get used to this cold water before winter comes…
Day 3 followed in the same vein as day 2, breathing method followed by the cold shower.
I did manage to get my whole body under the water today, which was a result, I probably lasted about 40 seconds, but it was better than yesterday.
So will I continue…
I spoke about commitment earlier, something I can easily do, I am going to continue with this method for another 7 days and see how I feel.
The research on the benefits of the breathing method and cold showers are there to studied and seen, so let’s see where this takes me…
Maybe I should do a follow-up post next month to give you an update
If you do try this out for yourself please be mindful of the warnings above and listen to your body.