Wim Hof breathing method, my review
Caution: I am not a doctor. This site presents only an alternative point of view.
In this article, I will give you my opinion on the famous Wim Hof method. In spite of all my respect and my admiration for the man, I advise you against his method. I’ve explained everything to you below.
Wim Hof or Iceman, and his breathing method
Wim Hof is better known as Iceman (Ice Man). He is extremely famous in the United States as a performer. His method pushes the physiological limits of the body by achieving impressive records in extreme weather conditions.
Wim Hof does not hesitate to swim and stay for several hours in extremely cold water, he can meditate for hours in the snow without clothes, and he can climb Mount Kilimanjaro just in shorts and basketball in a few hours. He can run a marathon in the desert without water, and he was even deliberately injected with bacteria to check how his body reacted to the infection.
All these incredible and extraordinary feats are attributed to his method of breathing. Without going into the details of his technique, the exercise of Wim Hof is to inspire a lot of oxygen (hyperventilation) with the mouth open for several minutes. Then there will be retentions with empty lungs and full lungs.
And this method of breathing (Wim Hof Method) will turn you into a super-man (yes, yes it works)!
If you participate in a Wim Hof, you will be able to push your physical limits as you never imagined you could. Your body will not be afraid of cold, heat, thirst, hunger, NOTHING! You become temporarily a half-GOD, which also allows you to achieve personal bests.
Why I do not recommend using the Wim Hof method?
To understand my opinion, one must understand the physiology of his method, its impact on the chemistry of the body.
First, you start with hyperventilation with your mouth open. The goal is to make your blood hyper alkaline (highly oxygenated) with a blood pH greater than 7.
For the body and more precisely the reptilian brain that manages its survival, too alkaline blood is a situation of extreme stress! Indeed, the blood pH must remain permanently neutral (about 7) for the survival of your billions of cells. To respond to this extreme danger, the reptilian brain will ask the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and bicarbonate.
Adrenaline will have an overpowering effect on your body. You simply become a wild animal ready for EVERYTHING for survival, nothing scares you, not even death! The goal is your survival, so the reptilian brain will release ALL of your potential.
Bicarbonate HCO₃⁻ is an acid that is used to replace the CO2 (acid) that is being evacuated during hyperventilation. CO2 helps to maintain the acid-base balance of the blood, but when you hyperventilate, you release too much CO2, and the bicarbonate produced by the adrenal glands just replace it. This generates immense stress on your endocrine system (adrenal glands).
After this hyperventilation which has put the body and the reptilian brain on maximum alert, Wim Hof will ask you to carry out specific retention exercise with empty lungs and full lungs.
The empty lung retention will allow the body to adjust to the alkaline blood pH. It is therefore your cells that will produce CO2 to help your adrenal glands (which produce bicarbonate). The vacuum retention will boost your cellular metabolism to an extraordinary level (this is also the basis of my own method on Intermittent Breathing).
And retention with full lungs will overload the sympathetic nervous system, the one that allows the oxidation of CO2 and phosphorus in your nervous system. Full retention will also release more adrenaline.
To sum it up, Wim Hof has come up with one of the best breathing techniques that exist to explode your stress response to its MAXIMUM.
For this, he uses 3 pillars:
- Hyperventilation (adrenaline & bicarbonate).
- Empty retention (production of cellular CO2).
- Full retention (oxidation of CO2 with the sympathetic nervous system).
Thus, you become temporarily an over-human, a demi-god. BUT ... because yes, there is a ‘but!’
The Wim Hof method or how to die quickly?
Unfortunately, by practicing this breathing technique regularly, you will do a lot, but with a lot of trouble.
1) Hyperventilation is the root cause of stress and anxiety. While I propose a method to diminish and overcome your stress by STOPPING your chronic hyperventilation (invisible), Wim Hof invites you to hyperventilate voluntarily to put your reptilian brain in a state of maximum stress.
PS: There are two ways to win a horse. Either we whip it so that it moves faster and stronger, or we train it intelligently WITHOUT stress (adrenaline).
2) Retentions with full lungs, overload the sympathetic nervous system. This branch of the nervous system manages our daily activity. But full retention boosts your activity to its full potential by putting you in a state of stress (adrenaline). This is the reason why my method does not use ANY full retention, but only empty retentions that have a stimulating effect on your metabolism but WITHOUT creating stress. Wim Hof uses it too, but he complements other stressful practices.
PS: In the society in which we live in, most people live their lives under pressure. They are constantly held in full by unconsciously blocking their breathing in the face of danger, fear, stress, physical or verbal aggression, or worse, their negative thoughts or in front of their computer screen. Do not put a layer on it voluntarily...
3) Your adrenal glands (on the kidneys) produce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. While my method seeks to put these glands in a total and deep rest, Wim Hof solicits them permanently (adrenaline and bicarbonate). Unfortunately, the exhaustion of the adrenal glands causes a very popular syndrome today known as burn-out. If you want to put all the chances on your side to PROVOQUE a burnout, you know exactly what technique to practice.
4) The energy of the kidneys (adrenal glands) is considered in Chinese ancestral medicine as the vital essence of the individual. This energy is called the Jing, which corresponds to your life. It's easy to understand: the more you're stressed, the more energy you burn in the kidneys (adrenal glands that produce adrenaline or bicarbonate). The less you are stressed, the more you save the energy of the kidneys and the more your longevity.
PS: Chinese or Indian ancestral medicine recommends you to soothe your breathing to the maximum to NEVER solicit the energy of the kidneys because hyperventilation burns your Jing (life) quickly. If you have ever had a burnout, I strongly advise you against the Wim Hof method.
How to become a superman?
You have two solutions.
You can become a superman, a demi god by requisitioning this energy of the kidneys (adrenal glands). Adrenaline has powerful effects and will allow you to face any form of stress. But beware, in doing so, you make a pact with the devil, and you burn your standard of living at great speed V. In addition, adrenaline has an addictive effect, you will need your daily dose just like all other drug addicts.
Unfortunately, you may wake up one morning, or rather have trouble in waking up, and be burned out. For having already lived so, I do not really wish you such.
The second solution is to become a superman, a half god, but in tranquility and in the absence of stress. You will not experience the powerful addictive effects of adrenaline, but you will enjoy a healthy high metabolism that does not fuel adrenaline but ATP (energy molecules produced by your cells). In doing so, you make a pact with Life, you preserve your Jing for situations of real dangers, and not to go about boasting of your few exploits.
How to correctly use the law of hormesis?
We all have the physiological capacity to deal with extreme stress situations, such as extreme cold (Wim Hof's specialty), all you need to do is to practice your technique. But when you know the side effects on your endocrine nervous system, what is the point?
Wim Hof often speaks of pushing his limits by using the law of hormesis that says that everything that does not kill us makes us stronger. He was right, but he misinterpreted it.
To evolve and push its limits, it is necessary to place oneself in a healthy physiological zone to stress. In other words, you must voluntarily place yourself in a zone of discomfort (stress), but NEVER exceed your limit, (the red line) at the risk of dying. If you do nothing, it is also death.
The Wim Hof method blows up this red line, pushing your limits to the limit. Indeed, you surpass yourself, you achieve personal bests, you exceed your limits, but you die a little more every time you requisition your precious adrenal glands and the energy of the kidneys (adrenaline, bicarbonate, etc.).
The Intermittent Breathing Method respects your red line by constantly placing you BELOW your limits. You thus, respect the law of the hormesis by remaining in a zone of adaptation which is healthy to the stress. Your body adapts and strengthens by pushing your limits, but you do it without stress. Thus, you will NEVER die (loss of Jing) as you move without stress.
It is quite possible to push your limits without resorting to adrenaline. But actually, it's less exciting, it's less attractive, it's less euphoric. Adrenaline is such a drug that intoxicates you until you destroy...
Becoming a superman without adrenaline is less exciting on the surface, but much more intense internally.
Thus, you can live in two worlds: you can either decide to perform your life under adrenaline (until the day of your burnout) or decide to live simply in peace and quietness. The first makes you live intensely, but makes you die quickly, the second makes you live quietly and regenerates you deeply by preserving your vitality in longevity.
For comparison, the "rockstars" live an intense life under adrenaline and die before the hour, the "super centenarians" live a calm life without stress or adrenaline and die after the hour.
Read the complete guide on Intermittent Breathing to learn how to breathe properly. You can then decide what life you want to live. Maybe the perfect path is in the middle ground ... You're the master of your life, it's up to you to decide how fast you'll burn it 😉
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