We all know him as the 'Ice Man', the man who pushes the body to the extreme, submerging himself in Ice Water and walking bare through glaciers, in just his shorts!
This isn't all he's known for, behold there are methods to his madness which are far less extreme. The Wim Hof Breathing Method, it is Scientifically proven to boost your immune system without nearly freezing yourself to death!
Interested in finding out more? Read on...
What happens to your Oxygen levels, during WHM?
Lung Bubbles, have a large ''diffusion surface'' - This is where Co2 and O2 are exchanged.
When you breathe calmly, this can stretch up to 70 m2, yet when you inhale deeply this can expand to 100 m2 (Mandigers & Van StraatenHuygen, 2004 p.290 up to p.316). The WHM breathing technique is designed as such that anyone can reach the largest surface possible. By practicing the breathing technique, you will influence the ratio between O2 en CO2 in the blood. Based on scientific research (Kox et al., 2012), Wim Hof’s blood levels indicated, after 30 minutes of implementing the breathing technique, a significantly low dose of CO2. After an hour, the CO2-levels were even lower. On top of this, the amount of O2- consumption had doubled after 45 minutes. (wimhofmethod.com)
What happens to your blood levels, during WHM?
By thoroughly inhaling and exhaling while doing the breathing exercises, you will consume a lot of oxygen. In addition to this, the concentration of CO2 lessens almost immediately. While doing so, a shift takes place in the CO2 and O2 ratio in the blood. By systematically and deeply breathing in and out, the pH-value in the blood increases (making the blood more alkali) whereas the acidity lessens. Normally, on average the pH-value is 7.4. By exerting the breathing techniques, this becomes significantly higher. (wimhofmethod.com)
What happens to your nervous system, during WHM?
Under normal conditions, the nervous system is independently and subconsciously regulated by the body.
It has emerged from a variety of studies, however, that certain concentration/meditation techniques can result in independent, autonomic activity (Phongsuphap, Pongsupap, Chandanamattha & Lursinsap, 2008; Wu & Lo, 2008; Paul-Labrador et al., 2006). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, for example, has resulted in a decrease in activity in the sympathetic nervous system among fibromyalgia patients (Lush, Salmon, Floyd, Studts, Weissbecker & Sephton, 2009). Proof has also been provided that Wim Hof is able to influence his autonomic nervous system by means of his technique (Pickkers et al., 2011).
Throughout the years, Wim Hof has developed special breathing exertions that keep his body in optimal condition and in complete control in the most extreme conditions. The breathing technique is first and foremost premised on inhaling deeply and exhaling without any use of force!
Step 1: Get Comfortable Assume a meditation posture: sitting, lying down — whichever is most comfortable for you.
Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction.
Step 2: 30-40 Deep Breaths Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Be conscious of your breath, and try to fully connect with it. Inhale deeply through the nose or mouth, and exhale unforced through the mouth. Fully inhale through the belly, then chest and then let go unforced. Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short, powerful bursts. You may experience light-headedness, and tingling sensations in your fingers and feet. These side effects are completely harmless.
Hof states: “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”.
Step 3: The Hold After the last exhalation, inhale one final time, as deeply as you can. Then let the air out and stop breathing. Hold until you feel the urge to breathe again. Step 4: Recovery Breath When you feel the urge to breathe again, draw one big breath to fill your lungs. Feel your belly and chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 15 seconds, then let go. That completes round number one. This cycle can be repeated 3-4 times without interval. After having completed the breathing exercise, take your time to bask in the bliss. This calm state is highly conducive to meditation — don't hesitate to combine the two.
With thanks to: wimhofmethod.com