Wim Hof: Cold therapy, movement and meditation

Fitness

I finally got around to watching The Iceman, a short but fascinating documentary from Vice about Wim Hof, noted daredevil and multi world record holder of all things icy and cold. I was not disappointed and wished I’d discovered him sooner. One of the things that struck me about Hof was that along with his Tummo based breathing method and ability to harness his inner power to withstand cold, was that he also maintains a philosophy that incorporates a lot of movement. This fits right in with some of the thoughts that I had put forth a few months ago in our Tiny Workout series.

Hof not only promotes his breathing method as a key to strength and better health but he’s also extremely active and constantly moving. To some, the idea of constantly moving might seem exhausting but in fact, it should be inspiring. He’s very much an advocate of just doing it. Don’t think about how tired you are. Don’t think about defeating yourself. Do it now, whatever it is, and enjoy it! 10 pushups right now instead of thinking about it. Just move. This is what we were getting at in Tiny Workouts: instead of joining a gym, discover workouts right where you stand. For example, are you sitting somewhere reading this post? How’s your posture right now? Exactly. Straighten up, fix your shoulders and your back. Engage your core. Be mindful. Do it. 🙂

Regarding cold therapy, Wim Hof has no doubt become a master at what he does. Mastering the breathing is one thing as this is what seems to help you to to maintain that very crucial core temperature under extremely cold conditions. Now, unless you follow and learn his method, you will probably not be immersing yourself in an arctic pond anytime soon. However, as many people have touted the benefits of cold water for centuries (see Hydrotherapy),  it’s not all that extreme to just “warm” up to the idea of cold water therapy as something that you can incorporate into your daily routine in the form of cold baths and cold showers.

There has actually been an added benefit to taking cold showers and this has been healthier skin! Last year I wrote about some dry skin remedies through the use of certain skin moisturizers but the one thing that really helped in preventing dry skin in the first place was to avoid taking very hot showers. We all know how seductive a hot shower can be, especially as the winter months approach. For some people, like myself, hot water ends up absolutely destroying my skin. So, over the last summer, I’d been lowering the temperature of my showers bit by bit. By the time October rolled around my showers were somewhere around lukewarm to cool and my skin has been in better shape and better prepared to handle the impending dry heat of winter apartments. Furthermore, now that I’ve watched Wim Hof hang out in what is essentially a block of ice, I’ve been inspired to take the next step and go from cool to cold showers. This is coming from the guy (me) who takes 40 minutes to get into a swimming pool in July. Can I do it? Stay tuned.

Watch the documentary here:

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