Just over a year ago, I was browsing the internet for information on how to overcome auto-immune diseases via natural methods such as diet and exercise.
During my search I came across the story of a man named Henk Van Den Bergh who was able to greatly reduce his rheumatoid arthritis symptoms simply by following a breathing, cold exposure and exercise method taught to him by a man named Wim Hof.
I have attempted to overcome an autoimmune disease (Vitiligo) for my entire adult life, so this was an exciting natural treatment option for me to consider.
I was skeptical of Henk's results, however, since my condition has a similar pathological process to rheumatoid arthritis I decided to delve deeper into the Wim Hof Method.
Diving Down The Wim Hof Method "Rabbit Hole"
I spent the next few days learning all about how this amazing man named Wim Hof was able to tap in and influence his immune system.
What really impressed me was the fact that he was not inherently gifted or special, and that he could teach others how to benefit from his methods.
Here are a few great short videos that summarize the scientific basis behind Wim's Method and it's ability to influence the immune and endocrine systems of it's dedicated users:
Once I realized that Wim Hof's methods were scientifically proven to positively influence the immune system, and that the method required no dogmatic or religious beliefs, I was very intrigued to learn more.
It all seemed so simple.
All you have to do is breathe and be willing to let the cold become your teacher.
At that stage I knew that there must be more to it than simply taking a few cold showers and a few deep breaths, so I set out to learn absolutely everything I could about the Wim Hof Method.
Over the following months I dove deep down the Wim Hof "rabbit hole" and gained an understanding of this amazing man, and the many physical and mental benefits that his unique breath-work, cold exposure and mindset optimization methods can produce.
I watched all of the Wim Hof podcast features and documentaries I could find.
It quickly became clear to me that Wim Hof is an extremely charismatic man, and his passion for life is genuinely contagious.
My Initial Understanding & Attempt At Following The Wim Hof Method
I began to undertake my own daily version of what I understood the Wim Hof method to be based on what I had learned from watching Youtube videos, listening to podcasts and reading articles.
Basically my version of the Wim Hof method at that stage involved:
- Taking a cold shower first thing in the morning everyday.
- Laying down on my bed and undertaking 3 sets of 30 breaths with approximately a 1min - 1min 30s breath retention in between sets, once per day.
I honestly started feeling the benefits of my stripped down version of The Wim Hof Method from day one.
Go jump in a cold shower right now and tell me that you don't feel better instantly!
I followed this simple Wim Hof routine without fail for 2 months.
Over that time I became a much more patient and relaxed person in my everyday life.
After using this method I found that when stressful times became overwhelming, I could just take a few deep breaths, which would quickly re-calibrate my stress levels.
I also became much more productive when it came to daily work and exercise routines.
I have tried meditation in the past, but just could not commit long term as I felt it required too much thought, which would frustrate me.
With the Wim Hof method I can simply focus on breath.
However, it is during the retention times that the real magic happens. It is just so damn peaceful when you can sit quietly without breathing for minutes at a time.
Taking The Wim Hof Method To The Next Level
It all started with something as simple as dragging my ass out of bed and jumping in a cold shower.
Small morning victories such as this quickly snowballed and had a positive influence on all aspects of my life.
At this stage my auto-immune condition stopped progressing, which was very exciting and inspired me to take my Wim Hof experience to the next level.
However, I felt unsure of what I needed to do to ramp up my results. I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the science of the Wim Hof fundamentals including breathing technique, mindset and cold exposure.
I also wanted to push my breathing and cold exposure to more extremes, but didn't really feel comfortable that I could do it safely.
I already got close to passing out a few times during deep breathing, which was quite an unsettling feeling.
I was also concerned that by submerging myself in ice cold water I would cause frostbite or other issues to my cardiovascular system.
I felt I needed guidance from the man himself, so I decided to give the 10 week Wim Hof Method course a try.
This course was pretty expensive at $199 dollars, but I felt it would be worth it, considering the amount of value Wim had already added to my life.
I also figured that spending that amount of money would ensure that I committed for the full 10 week duration of the course.
Most of all, I was excited to have access to comprehensive training videos and accompanied homework assignments that would reinforce my daily practice and allow me to extend my retention and cold exposure times.
My 10 Weeks Of Following The Official Wim Hof Method Course
I fired up the program and was pleased to see that the course was released in a drip feed manner.
For example in this first week I only had access to the first weeks course.
I felt this helped keep me focused on the week at hand and excited for what was to come next.
I have done other online courses before that released the entire course at once, which I found left me feeling a little overwhelmed.
The drip feed option was definitely a smart move from Wim and his team. Of course, at the end of the 10 weeks you have lifetime access to all the content.
Every week starts with a video and you are recommended to watch this same video at least 5 days per week.
Wim also recommends repeating the week if you miss out on too many days that week.
For example, In week 5 of The 10 week Wim Hof course I had an extremely busy work week and only got to three sessions of the basic daily exercise, and only 4 breathing cold exposure sessions, so I redid that week.
When you first open up the course you are provided with the option to download the 10 week workbook.
I printed out the 20+ pages and put it in a binder.
The Wim Hof 10 Week course workbook contains instructions and week by week progress tracking templates to help track your breath retention/ cold exposure times and push up scores.
This workbook also felt like a personal diary where I could document my cold exposure experiences and write down my sensations and personal thoughts.
All you need to track your breath work results is a timer or stopwatch.
You can simply just count your push-ups and write the results in the workbook.
Before you start the 10 Week Wim Hof course you are asked to fill out the "commitment to achievement" form. This is basically where you set your specific goals and state everything you would like to achieve over the 10 weeks.
You then go on to set up your baseline measurements. For example how many pushups you can do with strict form, and how long you can hold your breath for plus other measures.
- At the initial testing prior to starting week 1 I could hold my breath for 30s and do 37 pushups
Learning How To Do Wim Hof Breathing Correctly
The first week of the 10 Week Wim Hof Course is all about learning how to breathe correctly and safely.
Wim explains that this method can be very strong and should never be done in or near water or when operating a vehicle or machinery.
I realized that the breathing I was doing previously was wrong. I was breathing way too much air out.
In this course, Wim taught me how to breathe deeply and effortlessly. He states to never force anything, which was something I was definitely doing prior to this course.
With the tips shared in this course I feel so much more relaxed when breathing and can get much more oxygen in through deep breaths that incorporate the belly, chest and head.
Here are my retention times from week one of the course:
As you can see my breath retention times improved quite a bit just over the first week.
I was able to improve my retention times quite significantly over the course of the 10 weeks as you can see from the screenshots of my final weeks in the results section below.
As the weeks went on and my retention times increased I had some very intense sessions.
I frequently saw bright colorful patterns and images during my retention times and a couple of times even started laughing mid retention for no apparent reason.
On another occasion tears started to run from my eyes as I felt a pulse of overwhelming sadness as I had vivid flashback to traumatic experience I had as a young child.
This was quite an unexpected experience, but very therapeutic nonetheless.
Experiences like this made me realize just how much baggage our subconscious mind holds onto as we go about our everyday life.
I feel as though my breathing sessions help me compartmentalize my thoughts.
I pushed my breathing sessions to the limit many times and never passed out.
One important thing to note was that my retention times were much longer when I did the Wim Hof breathing on a empty stomach.
Wim recommends always doing breathing session on an empty stomach, however there were a few times that I did it with a full belly.
The experience is definitely much weaker and my retention times were much shorter when breathing with food in my stomach.
These days I only do Wim Hof breathing when in a fasted state.
>> Learn more about Wim Hof Method Diet and Nutrition ideas for weight loss and health
Wim does a great job of explaining that by practicing this breathing method over time you will be able to hold each breath longer and get deeper into your physiological system (immune system, nervous system, blood circulation and heart).
He teaches how to fully "charge up" and oxygenize the blood, which leads to more alkaline blood and a sense of euphoria due to the dopamine and serotonin released.
You really do "get high on your own supply" as Wim puts it.
This is probably another reason the Wim Hof course seems so easy to stick to.
It is probably a form of physiological addiction for the dopamine rush that keeps us coming back for more Wim Hof method sessions. Regardless, I think that is the kind of addiction I think anyone would be happy to have.
I spent time focusing on my skin condition during my breathing sessions and envisioned my skin healing from the inside, or as Wim puts it "make conscious contact with your heart, autonomic nervous system and immune system".
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
— Carl Jung
My skin has not re-pigmented significantly, but my Vitiligo has stopped spreading and is definitely improving since I started to implement the lessons learned in this course.
This is extremely exciting and has reinforced my desire to continue with the Wim Hof method for life.
I wish there was a little more detail on the concepts covered in the Wim Hof 10 Week Course.
I guess Wim realized people wanted more of this kind of information, hence why they created the new Wim Hof fundamentals course.
From my understanding, The Wim Hof Fundamentals course seems to focus more on education of particular topics (sleep, stress, disease etc), rather than focusing on building exercise, breathing and cold exposure habits, such as in the 10 week course.
I personally would like to know more about how the Wim Hof method can help fight inflammation, which is one of the root causes of most chronic diseases.
I plan on purchasing the fundamentals course soon so I can delve even deeper into the Wim Hof method.
I'll write another Wim Hof course review after completion. You can check out his Fundamental course here.
Wim Hof 10 Week Course Results
Here are my breath retention results from week 10:
As you can see from the chart above I was able to achieve 3 minute retention times which was a goal that I set in the first week. In my first week on the course I was struggling to achieve 2 minute retentions, so I am very happy with this achievement.
These 3 min long breath retentions times are just pure bliss.
I really enjoyed the challenge of taking the cold shower daily and managed to work my way up to the ice bath over the 10 weeks.
When I first started I was only doing 30s cold showers and was really struggling to control my breath.
When I started, as soon as that cold water would hit my chest or neck I would tighten up and suffocate.
The cold really does become your teacher.
By focusing on your breath it is amazing just how much cold exposure your body can handle.
These days I can tolerate cold showers for as long as I like.
I have even rigged up a system on my shower head so I can get ice cold shower water.
My body now fights through the cold for a few seconds then relaxes, and after around 20 seconds I feel a rush of warmth run through my body to the point where I can enjoy the cold shower and wash myself as normal.
From my understanding of Wim's teaching, I guess this is my ability to override the hypothalamus which is responsible for regulating the peripheral nerves and veins which in turn regulate body temperature.
I also felt like I lost some fat off of my tummy over the 10 weeks.
Research has shown that regular cold exposure can uptake metabolism and increase healthy brown fat while getting rid of dangerous adipose tissue.
However, I also got more serious with my intermittent fasting routine about a month before I started Wim's 10 week course, so this is also a likely reason for my fat loss.
Everyday I spent around 45mins- 1hr hr practicing the methods of the Wim Hof course.
The daily exercises were helpful and nice for improving my mind muscle connection. My flexibility improved over the 10 weeks, but I no longer do many of these exercises as I prefer to spend that time weight training and running. I still add a couple of the stretches and exercise to my routine.
In week 2 of the 10 week Wim Hof course I was asked to take 30 deep breaths and then hold while I completed as many push-ups as possible.
Here are my results from week 2:
Here are my results from week 10:
As you can see, even on my first attempts in the second week of the course I was able to do many more (51 pushups) than my baseline measurement (37 pushups).
In week 10 I was able to complete 64 push-ups without breathing.
I now use a variation of this breathing before each set when at the gym. I try to get at least 10 deep Wim Hof style breaths in before each lift.
This simple routine has dramatically boosted my strength and recovery in the gym.
From my understanding the performance benefits of Wim Hof breathing are due to increased oxygen and more alkaline blood, which delays the onset of lactic acid in the muscles when doing exercises such as push-ups.
I notice that on the days when I do morning Wim Hof breathing and cold exposure just before heading to the gym I have my best strength training and cardiovascular workouts.
The Wim Hof method is a seriously potent, yet undervalued sports performance method.
Try it out and let me know how you go in the comments section below!
Why I Recommend the 10 Week Wim Hof Course To Anyone Who Wants to Become Better Version Of Themselves
In my opinion there is no better way to become a healthier, happier and stronger version of yourself than through daily practice of the Wim Hof method.
This course helped me build relentless self discipline.
In the past I have struggled to sustain self discipline, but there is something special about the Wim Hof method that makes long term self discipline much more achievable.
Wim's daily guidance and additional resources build adherence and knowledge that make this course a worthwhile investment.
Like I said, I spent months doing my research, read and watched every podcast Wim featured on, but still couldn't grasp the holistic aspects that this course reveals.
10 weeks of consistent adherence to the Wim Hof method had such a positive effect on all aspects of my life that it ultimately inspired me to create this website, healthyhappyandstrong.com.
This site provides an opportunity for me to document and share my thoughts on what I have learned about the Wim Hof method and other "biohacks" that can make us all happier, healthier and stronger.
I now use the Wim Hof Method daily to help me relax at will.
Just a couple of breaths during times of stress will put me back in the quiet place I find myself in when I am in blissful breath retention.
Prior to the Wim Hof course I would drink copious amounts coffee as a way to reset and re-energise.
The breaths have replaced a few of my daily coffees and now I get by with just one or two a day.
Wim Hof 10 Week Course Review Final Thoughts
I no longer follow the Wim Hof method as strictly as I did during the 10 week course, but I ensure I get in at least 5 breathing sessions in per week.
I haven't missed a cold shower since I first started the course and try to have at least 2 ice baths per week.
The challenge of facing and conquering the the cold every morning still feels like a mini victory that continues to build positive momentum.
I also like to have the odd cold shower before bed if I'm feeling wound up. Some people have said that cold showers before bed can lead to a poor nights sleep. I on the other hand have had some of the best nights sleep I 've ever had after cold exposure.
I definitely recommend checking out Wim's course If you can afford it.
My wife is also now reaping the benefits of the Wim Hof method, and I have got my young sons to undertake a modified version of the method to help them focus and perform better in sports.
It was definitely one of the best investments I have ever made.
Since regularly incorporating the Wim Hof Method in my life I have a much better understanding of what my perceived mental and physical limitations are.
The Wim Hof Method has allowed me to understand just how much untapped potential was laying dormant inside of me.
This daily routine of breathing and cold exposure has allowed me to explore my mental and physical strength, and tap in to the reservoir of untapped potential that lives within me.
Best yet, the Wim Hof method has allowed me to become connected with my sense of gratefulness. It has taught me to stay more relaxed, present and grounded in challenging situations and moments of conflict.
I just wish I would have found this method years ago.
I guarantee that If you stick to it you will feel so much better.
I highly recommend you to give the Wim Hof Course A try.
And all you have to do is "just be" "witness" and "relax".
Wim is so confident in his course that he offers you a 14 day money back guarantee, so you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
It only works out to be around 20 bucks per week for the 10 week course.
I highly recommend investing in your health by using the the tools Wim has created to help get you educated and keep you on track.
Best of luck!
If you do complete the course please come back and share your story in the comments section below. I would love to hear all about it.