The Wim Hof Method
So recently I discovered The Wim Hof Method. Well, when I say discovered I mean, introduced to it, by local friend and artist Dawn Shade www.etsy.com/uk/shopdeerdaenetsy.
I started by watching a series of videos, like the one below.
After watching the first few minutes of this footage, I felt an instinctive YES! travel around my body with a roar of approval from every cell, nodding and saying, 'Put me in that cold water!'
It’s an unusual feeling wanting this, as the mind is so used to running scared and shutting down such an idea. Yet the science behind it and Wim’s enthusiasm rubbed off - and here I am - two weeks later having 5 minute cold showers and ice baths at ease.
The method is simple and involves a breathing technique/meditation and regular progressive exposure to cold. It's so simple and with the reported benefits, how can you not try it?
The beauty of this method is twofold, it's so easy to access and learn, and furthermore, the results are unimaginable, fascinating and still being discovered.
Cold therapy has been around for donkeys’ years and is well documented, but the research is limited because it only considers the treatment of musculoskeletal injury and pain. You can go onto pub med (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/) to see a multitude of research into this.
Wim Hof’s method however, not only affirms these researched areas but also looks at the positive effect of Cold Therapy on the immune system and a person's psychiatry. Research has hypothesized and found that by generating a stress-induced analgesic response in periaqueductal grey matter, the Wim Hof Method can promote spontaneous release of opioids and cannabinoids in the brain. Thus, creating a feeling of well-being, mood control and reduced anxiety.
Wim Hof’s Method seems to cause tonic changes in autonomous brain mechanisms, making it possible to manage medical conditions ranging from diseases of the immune system to more intriguingly psychiatric conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders.
Within my practice, more and more, I am prescribing this method to lift mood, reduce inflammation and let the body take care of itself - all good ways to negate musculoskeletal pain. An important point to note here, is that if you have heart or other cardiovascular issues then you should progress slowly with the cold exposure and discuss this method with your doctor.
So the joy of taking cold showers for a warm heart and healthy body is definitely one of my lifetsyle choices for this summer and beyond. Let's work together to become superhuman. See you on the couch.