How to Consciously Control Your Immune System
The Wim Hof Method Revealed -- Learn more in the new book What Doesn't Kill Us
We previously published a video about Wim Hof, 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, and run a full marathon in the highest desert (50 degrees celsius, 122 Fahrenheit) with no water & food.
Wim is able to accomplish these feats with ease through the use of ‘The Wim Hof Method‘ — a breathing technique that allows you to control the autonomous systems of the body.
However the most earthshaking effect of the Wim Hof Method is the ability to consciously control the immune system to fight off diseases. Our immune system plays a significant role in almost all devastating diseases plaguing the modern world, and finding a way to improve it can help us discover new avenues for medicine.
Wim recently came to do a workshop with the Valhalla Movement team and explained that he wants as many people to know about this as possible. His vision is a world without sickness.
So without further ado, here are the principles of the Wim Hof Method…
The first part is a breathing exercise which can be likened to controlled hyperventilation. This is, of course, an oxymoron. Hyperventilation is something which happens involuntarily. But just imagine the breathing part, without any of stress triggers that normally cause this way of breathing. The image will consist of rapid breathing that makes one languid, invigorates one, makes one high on oxygen. One mechanism of this practice is the complete oxygenation of your blood and cells.
Before you try this at home make sure that you don’t do this:
Please be mindful that practicing this method is completely your own risk.
1) Get comfortable and close your eyes
2) Warm Up
3) 30 Power Breaths
4) Scan your body
Often people report swirling colors and other visual imagery during this exercise. Once you encounter them, go into them, embrace them, merge with them. Get to know this inner world and how it correlates to the feeling of tension or blockages in your body.
5) The Hold
6) Recovery Breath
Start this practice with one or two rounds. Try to do it daily and add two more rounds in a few days. After you feel more comfortable with holding your breath you can start to add exercises and stretches. Work up to a minimum of 15 minutes or 6 rounds with exercises. You can do this practice for how long it pleases you.
If you feel dizziness or pain, get out of the posture and lie on your back. Breathe easily again and stop this practice session.
Reserve at least 5 minutes after this practice to relax and scan the body.
Add push-ups or yoga poses during the time you are holding your breath until you wait for the gasp reflex. Notice that you are stronger without air than you would normally be if you could breathe!
After the body scan of the previous exercise you are ready let your body embrace the cold. It is very important to try to relax as much as you can, really be with the cold, only then can your body process the signals and start thermogenesis. As Wim says, "the cold is your warm friend!"
If you are new to cold exposure, start with cold showers. Begin with your feet and then follow with your legs, your stomach, shoulders, neck and back and finally your head. An initial shock, shivering and hyperventilation is normal. Try to remain calm and breathe easily. Close your eyes and really try to embrace the cold.
If you feel any strong physical uncomfortableness, like heavy shivering, numbness or pain, get your body warm again as soon as possible.
Once you are out of the shower, take a moment to do another slow body scan before you dry yourself.
Cold exposure works like weight lifting, you get stronger over time. There are little muscles around your veins that contract when they get into contact with the cold. After some time (only 1-2 weeks according to Wim) these become stronger, making your veins healthier and reducing the force that your heart has to use to pump blood around your body.
You can increase exposure over time. At one point the cold will feel just as comfortable as wearing your favorite pajamas and you can skip the warm shower completely. Notice how you feel amazing after a cold shower and sluggish after a warm one.
After a few weeks of cold showers you can up the ante to an ice bath. Get 2-3 bags of ice at your local convenience store and put them in a half-full bath tub. Wait until around two thirds is melted or that the water has reached your designated temperature (10 / 12 °C (50 / 59 °F)). You can throw in a couple of handfuls of salt to speed up this process.
As with the cold showers, try to relax as much as you can. Start out with around 10 minutes and increase exposure over time. If you feel uncomfortable or in doubt, get out. After this exercise make sure you do another body scan.
It is normal to feel extra cold after a small period of time after the ice bath. This is called the after-drop. Take a hot glass of raw coca and keep your blood flowing by talking a walk. You’ll feel amazing after!
Please be mindful that you are doing this exercises on your own risk. Using any of these exercises while driving or being immersed under water can be extremely dangerous. When in doubt, talk with your medical caregiver.
These exercises are extremely powerful when done consistently and with intent. Always make sure you are safe and can’t harm yourself or anyone else in the process. Remember, the cold is your warm friend.
By Jordan Lejuwaan / High Existence
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