Marta Taylor spends 4 days with Wim Hof where she learns all about his special breathing technique as part of her cryotherapy biohacking experiment.
As you know, if you’ve been reading about my cryotherapy biohacking experiment, it’s been just over a month and it’s been interesting to say the least. I’ve gone from thinking I would instantly cure myself of all ailments through the miracles of cryotherapy, to understanding the cold harsh truth (excuse the pun) that there is no fast track to wellness if you have ailments…in fact with the accelerated healing properties of cryotherapy and over-doing it, I set myself back by going into a healing crisis. Yes, I can hear you…lesson learnt!
A few weeks back, a friend of mine brought to my attention that Wim Hof was having a retreat here in Australia (hmmm…I’m not sure if my perceptions of ‘retreat’ are the same as Wim’s…ha ha). My immediate thought was, ‘Wow, fantastic! This works in perfectly with my cryotherapy biohacking experiment…it’s fate!”
Off I went to the website & had a good look at the information, which promised that you would:
Boost Your Immune System To Bulletproof Yourself
Become A “Super” Version Of Yourself
Learn Ancient Techniques In Combination With Modern Cutting Edge Strategies
Increase Your Health And Wellbeing
Hack Your Body To Feel Energized During The Day, While Sleeping Like A Baby At Night
Aside from the fact that ALL of those points are EXACTLY what I’m all about….if you’re going to say words like ‘Bulletproof’ to a Dave Asprey fan; or that you will “…become a ‘super’ version of yourself” to a person who wants to become ‘superhuman’…then there’s not going to be too much ‘selling’ involved! I was (nearly) ‘all in’!
I emailed the organisers & asked a few questions and was told to make sure I watched the latest documentary about Wim, as that would explain everything that was going to happen in our workshop. I did this and although fascinating, I actually got a bit scared, because in the European workshops they climb Mt Sněžka in Poland (with an elevation of 1603m) for 7 hours, stripped down to hardly any clothing. I knew that these extreme temperatures were not going to be the same in Australia (even though the workshop was in the middle of winter in southern Victoria), but I still felt apprehensive. My biggest worry being, ‘would I catch a cold’ or endanger myself by passing out when going into the ice baths?
I then emailed the organisers again and asked if there was going to be any medical experts on hand at the workshop. To which they replied I need not worry, because – and this is only my imagined translation to what they said – the Aussie colds are nothing compared to the Polish winter cold. I think they were kind of laughing at me – Aussie winter vs European winter…ha ha…I get it! But I’m soft!!…and I guess this is a good a time as any to remind you that, prior to starting the cryo sessions, I have NEVER liked the cold. In fact to be honest, the month leading up to the workshop, as I was going to work everyday, I would wonder ‘what the f*&$ have I done, signing up to a 4 day workshop not wearing much clothes & sitting in ice baths’?!?….I was really questioning my abilitiy to make rational decisions….but it’s all in the name of biohacking!! Ha ha…
OK, so no medical experts needed; I watched the video; asked my questions & now it was time to pay my money… #BOOM, there it was…I was committing to 4 days of experiencing cold & sitting in ice baths…yep, OK then….
WHO IS WIM HOF?
Wim Hof, 57, is known nationally and internationally for constantly breaking records (his own included) in the cold.
He is one crazy & impressive fellow! He has submerged his entire body in ice (multiple times) for nearly two hours; has run barefoot marathons in the snow and desert and in 2007 he ran 7500m up Mt Everest wearing nothing but shorts & boots….and a few other crazy things along the way – he holds 26 world records in feats of human performance. What Wim does defies what medical science thought was possible, which is why he has been studied extensively by scientists & researchers and thousands of people want to learn his technique. His European retreats (ahem, I prefer to call them workshops) have waiting lists of up to 2 years!
“The limit is not the sky. The limit is the mind.” Wim Hof
For Wim, it all started back when he was 20 years old. One morning in Amsterdam he was walking along the canals when he pondered what it would be like to jump right through the thin ice into the canal. He instantly took off all of his clothes & jumped right in. Not surprisingly, it was a shock to the body, but then Wim says, “the feeling wasn’t of cold; it was something like tremendous good. I was in the water only a minute, but time just slowed down. It felt like ages.”
He began to do this regularly & that is where his special breathing technique emerged. He originally began by copying the rapid breaths people take instinctively when they plunge into icy water, which he says are similar to the breaths a woman takes during childbirth. When breathing rapidly, the body switches to an instinctual program.
After some time, he then went from rapid breathing to holding his breath. This is where the magic happened & when he began noticing changes in his body.
In my upcoming posts I will take you through what happened during my time at the workshop and the teachings that Wim imparted to us.
It was a truly life-changing experience and I look forward to sharing this particular biohacking journey with you.
I was also fortunate enough to sit down with Wim for a brief interview which I will share in my final post. Read Part 2 here.
A warning from Innerfire.nl – important message, please read carefully:
The breathing exercise has a profound effect and should be practiced in the way it is explained. Always do the breathing exercise in a safe environment (e.g. sitting on a couch/floor) and unforced.
Never practice the exercises before or during diving, driving, swimming, taking a bath or in any other environment/place where, should you pass out, a serious injury could occur. Wim Hof breathing may cause tingling sensations and/or lightheadedness. If you’ve fainted, it means that you went to far. Take a step back next time.
The cold is a powerful force. We strongly advise to gradually build up exposing yourself to the cold. Always train without force and listen to your body carefully. If it is not practiced responsible, there is a risk of hypothermia.
Do not practice the method during pregnancy or when having epilepsy. Persons with cardiovascular health issues, or any other (serious) health conditions, should always consult a medical doctor before starting with the Wim Hof Method.