Psychology: The Wim Hof Method

(Images not my own)


“Since time began for us, we humans would emerge from our cave in survival mode, crossing the plains on high alert, on the lookout for sabre-tooth tigers or woolly mammoths. We’d hunt our next meal and return to the fire, food and safety, triggering our calm once again -our parasympathetic nervous system. Modern times find us constantly on high alert, to every email, news cycle, fear and concern, held hostage by our sympathetic nervous system for longer periods than before. We have overlooked the physiological and neurobiological need for downtime, hence the rapid rise of the idea of mindfulness.”

“A surprising number of students (grades 4-11) are asking for tips and tools to assist with daily pressures, anxiety, and depression.”

I cannot begin to process how a child who is only in grade 4 has to deal with pressures leading to anxiety and depression. All in the name of what? The digital age, information overload and a fast pace world? One thing for sure is we cannot run or hide from it…or can we? One option is to educate ourselves on how to adjust our minds to deal with it all. I am always *consciously or un-* on the lookout for ways to improve my life experience. Flipping through an airplane magazine, I bumped into an article about a man who: “Many decades ago, while grappling with personal challenges, would go looking for answers in nature. One day he plunged himself into icy water and felt transformed”.

This meant that he enhanced his resilience under extreme conditions. He used techniques that allowed him to explore his physical and mental capacity which resulted in his ability to influence his autonomic nervous system (including parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system). In his approach there is interaction of three main components i.e. exposure to the cold, breathing techniques and mind-set or concentration. The training of the mind-set component allows for the realisation of inner strength while the breathing component is obviously linked to oxygen intake and the amount of oxygen that we inhale influences the amount of energy that is released into the cells in our body thereby affecting the chemical and physiological processes.

The extreme cold, particularly cold baths, has in the past been associated with physical healing. The science behind cold shock suggests that it stimulates a process that reduces the number of inflammatory proteins in the bloodstream. There are some few researchers who have taken to evaluating the science of this method but my vested interest is in whether or not it would work for me and I’m most curious as to how and/or how long it would take my body to associate cold shock as carrying healing as I have through my own experience found that my body only associates heat (especially hot water: hot showers, hot water bottles, hot beverages) to healing but again if the water, particularly bathwater, is too hot my body quickly spirals into a state of vertigo.

The constant need for healing, especially in the midst of endless modern-day pressures, makes this an idea worth spreading. Have you tried it? How has it worked for you?

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