Can the simple act of breathing actually have some incredibly powerful benefits you never knew of? If the Wim Hoff breathing method is something you haven’t heard of before, you’re about to learn all about it.
Most people are familiar with certain breathing techniques, especially with yoga and meditation. Wim Hoff is a more intense breathing method that can have some tremendous health benefits.
Many people are shallow breathers meaning they are not truly oxygenating their body and cells. With this style of breathing, you open up your body to the enhanced benefits that deep breathwork can provide.
What Is The Wim Hoff Breathing Method?
We mentioned how many people are shallow breathers and this doesn’t help manage all the stress that can impact the body. This can throw off the body’s chemistry and lead to potential issues.
Shallow breathing deregulates the body as far as stress is concerned and the Wim Hoff method of breathing helps to combat this. This is a form of deep breathing that helps us to avoid the issues that come from shallow, stressful breathing.
We’re trying to hijack the stress response by doing this deep breathing. Deep breathing produces a ‘hypometabolic’ state that controls your mental and autonomic arousal so they don’t become too stimulated.
This method of breathing helps create a resting, restorative state that combats anxiety and stress. It basically triggers relaxation in the body.
Who Is Wim Hoff?
You might have thought that the Wim Hoff method of breathing was a title, but Wim Hoff is actually a man. You might have seen or read about him before. He’s a man in his 60s that regularly runs marathons – barefoot. You may also have seen him running shirtless throughout the Arctic Circle.
He has dove under the ice in the North Pole and regularly takes ice baths that last up to 90 minutes. He was once able to swim 57 meters under the ice! And if all that doesn’t sound impressive, he once went 23,000 feet up Mount Everest in only shorts and shoes…
Hoff says that he can accomplish this because of his unique breathing method. He has the endurance to outlast people half his age and seems immune to inhospitable conditions.
He believes in the profound connection between mind and body. His approach is like that used by yoga and his goal for himself and others is to take control of one’s physiology.
How Does The Wim Hoff Breathing Method Work?
Here is the basic breakdown:
- Sitting in a comfortable position (while at home in a quiet spot like on the sofa, or in the bath), you will take 30 quick breaths. These are quick but deep breaths where you inhale through your nose and exhale out of your mouth.
- Then, you will take a deep breath and exhale where you will then hold it until you need to breathe in again.
- Next, inhale as deep as you can, hold it for ten seconds, then exhale.
- That is one full round, and you can repeat this for multiple rounds if you feel like it.
There needs to be a focus on the belly, chest, and head when breathing this way. The deep breath should extend out the belly, fill the lungs and then the head. It’s a rhythm that may take a while to master but it involves incorporating in the whole body.
Why Is Breathing This Way So Beneficial?
A big focus of the Wim Hoff method is breathing through your nose and out of your mouth. You may remember this from gym classes or sports where coaches would often say “in through the nose, out through the mouth”.
This is important as your sinuses are embedded with a compound called nitric oxide. It is stimulated by breathing through the nose and can spread through the body. Nitric oxide can better oxygenate the tissues and lungs, leading to better physical output and performance.
This may be one of the big reasons that make the Wim Hoff breathing method so successful. It’s important to breathe through the nose as this produces warm, moist air that helps in the physical benefits and can lower stress levels. When you breathe through the mouth, it creates cold dry air that can raise stress hormone levels.
Make it a point to focus on breathing through your nose as you go through various activities each day. You’d be surprised to find how often you may hold your breath, especially during stressful times – both physical and mental.
When you’re walking upstairs, carrying objects, or trying to focus on something, focus on breathing in through your nose.
What Benefits Can You Experience?
You may feel light-headed the first time, and the whole sensation might be a bit strange at first. Often this is because people rarely breathe deeply the way they are supposed to.
Years of shallow breathing have made us forget what it’s like to deeply oxygenate the lungs and body. Therefore, it’s important to be relaxed, comfortable, and even lying down when breathing this way.
These sensations are also you getting more in tune with your body. Hoff says that you need to focus on each breath and follow the flow of it. This breathing method can have the ability to:
- increase your energy
- boost the immune system
- lower stress
- increase endurance
- improve strength
Wim Hoff claims this breathing method is a way to stimulate adrenaline but also control it. This helps train it to work for you and not against you as adrenaline is spiked when stress goes up.
This is your fight-or-flight mechanism kicking in. A little of it is ok because it’s there for survival. But when it’s constantly elevated because of daily stress, it can lead to some chronic conditions including:
You can now see that the Wim Hoff breathing method is extreme but exciting. It is important for teaching you how to properly breathe again and also how to get your mind and body in tune.
It may be something you want to work up to at first though. Start with periods of deep breathing in through the nose to get your body familiar with it. Breathing seems like something we shouldn’t have to focus on, but paying attention to it can provide you with some tremendous health and wellness benefits.
Check out this video where Wim Hoff explains his method:
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