Ever since Wim Hof of the Netherlands developed his technique of resisting freezing environments, it had attracted global interest especially when he accumulated “20 world records” for accomplishing extremes in cold temperatures, earning him the title of “Ice-Man.” However, though the vast majority of would-be practitioners first wish to understand how performing such impressive feats is accomplished, the Wim Hof Method is more than just developing a new physical tolerance to the cold. Indeed, there are other factors behind the Wim Hof Method along with the general concept of experiencing the cold in the name of separate benefits.
1. Benefits Towards Endurance
For instance, the Wim Hof method could enable a practitioner with longer physical endurance beyond the cold by building up the body’s components down to their cellular makeup. Using the deep breathing techniques prescribed, the Wim Hof method could aid the “training of veins and muscles” in the body to become stronger and more resilient to environmental changes as well as pump needed blood better. As a result, when coupled with bathing in colder water after taking a hot shower over time, those veins and muscles will result in having the body “warm up” quicker to combat such temperature shocks.
2. Benefits Towards Energy
That same increase in overall functional capabilities could also be said of the Wim Hof method with the creation of more energy for the body to use throughout ideally any day in general. Those deeper breathing exercises taught by the Wim Hof method allow for the body to gain more oxygen which in turn produce greater blood flow to the heart and “lower stress levels” which often sap the body of energy. Consequently, the increase in oxygen would further strengthen the effects that the cold exposure would already have on the body to store enough energy in order for the sense of drive and purpose to last longer.
3. Benefits Towards Sleep
On top of rising endurance and energy levels along with notable resistance against diseases that tax the body, the Wim Hof method offers the chance towards having sleep that is more satisfying. Because of the method’s emphasis on deep breathing along with the cold exposure relaxing any of the body’s instinctive tension, the aforementioned increased oxygen likewise leads to the body feeling refreshed and happier in the morning. Additionally, the deeper levels of sleep result in the body recovering faster from the day’s prior events throughout the night until the time comes to reawaken and continue into completing the next day’s activities.
4. Benefits Towards the Nervous System
Other bodily functions that the Wim Hof method could improve in a person include the way in which the nervous system operates on a daily basis. Specifically, the nervous system was once believed to be an automatic uncontrolled response for the heart until the Wim Hof method proved that it could enable a person to control just how the nervous system responds to the environment and temperature. Therefore, the method teaches the body not to go into the mode of sympathetic response with the cold and rather not have the nervous system become inhibited by environmental changes in terms of over-sensitivity.
5. Benefits Towards the Immune System
A similar assumption was believed of the immune system and its capabilities to become disabled when subjected to colder environments until the Wim Hof method demonstrated that adapting the immune system at will is possible for the average person to achieve. Again, the Wim Hof method has been shown to aid the body to fight off disease precisely because of how it trains the immune system on how to remain active in its natural defenses regardless of colder temperatures. Furthermore, the immune system is improved for the long term in its existence and natural defenses to lessen and prevent sickness.
6. Benefits Towards Weight Loss
Yet another benefit to the Wim Hof method, particularly for those who are older or overweight, is how the method could be key to improving the situation of obesity for its practitioners. Specifically, it is in the brown fat found more commonly in younger people that ‘produces heat” which actually burns off weight unlike the standard white fat which only “deposits energy.” Nonetheless, it has been observed that cold exposure can, in fact, replenish brown fat back in older people’s bodies up to the same amounts found in younger people and maintain those standard levels “after training in the cold.”
7. Benefits Towards Athletics
Then there is the matter of the various ways in which the Wim Hof method could “improve athletic performance” and exercise quality for both athletes and average sporting hobbyists alike. As Wim Hof had demonstrated himself through climbing mountains such as Mount Everest “in nothing but shorts and shoes,” the possibilities in higher athletic prowess are very real to practitioners of the Wim Hof method. What’s more, the entire concept of using “cold therapy” to help with “inflammation and recovery” have been familiar to professional athletes for a while, thus solidifying what the method has to offer in terms of an hour or for a marathon, especially when coupled with the Wim Hof breathing skills.
Ultimately, taking advantage of the range of health benefits from the Wim Hof method towards the cold is meant to be an encompassing exercise in the saying “no pain, no gain” for all those who experience it. In order to actually emulate the physiological journey of Wim Hof from weakness to strength, practitioners must change not only their environment but also their attitude towards resisting said environment itself as well as the cold. Therefore by working with the surroundings no matter how strenuous they might be at first, changes to the body begin with the mind in the Wim Hof method.