Imagine yourself to be stuck on a small island. The island is covered with ice all around and the weather is even worse; with chilly winds getting to your bones. How do you feel about it? Most importantly, how did you imagine yourself to be? Were you wearing thick clothes and still shivering?
That’s completely fine. We all do that.
Let’s play another game now. Imagine yourself shirtless in the same situation. You are standing on a block of ice which might break anytime, and you have nothing to hide from the cold. Sounds horrific, right?
No matter how hard it sounds, it is a piece of cake for Wim Hof. Wim is a holder of 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures. He has climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes, stayed comfortably in ice baths for hours. He has also run a full marathon in the highest desert (50 degrees Celsius, 122 Fahrenheit) with no water & food.
Wim is able to achieve all these feats through a method which he calls, “The Wim Hof method”.
What is Wim Hof Method?
According to Wim, “Wim Hof Method” is a breathing technique that allows you to control the autonomous systems of the body. This might still sound achievable but what has truly been an exceptional feat by this guy is his ability to consciously control the immune system to fight off diseases. We all know how our immune system plays a significant role in almost all devastating diseases plaguing the modern world, and if we find a way to improve these, we could take heavy leaps for medicine and do things we would have only dreamt of.
Wim is currently working with a group of university researchers to prove that anyone can do the extraordinary things he does. He’s taking 12 participants who have no prior training, and instructing them over the span of a week. At the end of the week, each participant will be injected with a bacterium that normally causes violent nausea, vomiting, and fever for several days. However, with the use of the Wim Hof Method, the participants will feel nothing (Wim previously did this and felt no more than a slight headache).
In the video Wim is doing a controlled breathing exercise, and the key here is the breath retention. This exercise teaches you to hold your breath longer and to make conscious contact with your heart, autonomic nervous system, and immune system. With this technique, the frontal cortex learns how to override the hypothalamus which is responsible for regulating the peripheral nerves and veins which, in turn, regulate body temperature.
If we go a bit further, the body shuts down blood flow to the extremities to protect the inner organs. If the core temperature drops under 35 °C (95 °F), hypothermia sets in which can be lethal. Wim, however, does not close his nerves and veins. His metabolism goes into overdrive (300%), generating extra heat. With his veins open, he can still distribute the heat effectively to his extremities. After almost two hours in the ice, his core temperature will only drop a little. Additionally, his body shows no signs of frostbite.
This is why Wim manages to survive in such cold conditions when an average person cannot even think of it.
(Image source: BuzzNet)
You can learn and try Wim’s method for free in this 3-day video course.
The summary of this technique involves three basic steps:
1. The Breathing Technique: This is a breathing technique that generates heat in your body and helps you deal with very low temperatures. This has been explained in the video above.
2. Commitment: Like they always say, commitment is the key to success. The same principle applies here. To keep yourself devoted to this exercise, you need a lot of commitment and focus. By doing the exercises and focusing, you learn that you can move your boundaries.
3. Cold Shower Therapy: After the breathing exercise, you’re ready for the next step.
Through gradual exposure to cold showers, one can improve their cardiovascular system. After that, all you need to do is gradually work up. You can start by taking a cold shower after a normal hot one. Gradually, day by day, you set the temperature a little colder. This way, your body gets accustomed to these conditions. Although it seems implausible, this can be attained with proper guidance and self-consciousness.
I don’t need to tell you about how cool it is to walk with your shirt off in that cold weather, -55 degrees Fahrenheit to be precise!
(Featured image source: Enjoy the moment rituals)