Is the Wim Hof Method just a fad or are people continuing to practise the method long-term?
Do the benefits of the method fade or do they stand the test of time?
After interviewing four people for an article last year (see: The Wim Hof Method: four people reveal how they improved their health using the method) , I got back in touch with them to find out whether they continue to practise the method and whether they’re still experiencing the benefits they originally claimed the method had brought them.
Interestingly, all four people continue to practise the method and each person has discovered that the physical benefits, which they initially experienced, have now extended to improve their mental, emotional and spiritual health as well.
Valentin Bunea – resilient to stress and no longer insulin-resistant
I interviewed Valentin Bunea last year about his experience with the Wim Hof Method and his claim that it had cured his recurrent urinary infections. A year later, Valentin Buena has not had a single UTI and now also attributes the method to lowering his blood insulin levels.
In 2010, Valentin discovered that he was insulin resistant and so he began to implement a low-carb diet with intermittent fasting and exercise such as cycling. These measures brought his levels down from 40uUI/ml (fasted) to 10 uUI/ml. But they stalled at that point and nothing could bring them down any further. Nothing, that is, until Valentin started WHM.
After practising the method daily for two years, which includes 2-3 ice baths and 2-3 cold showers a week, as well as two to three rounds of Wim Hof breathing daily, Valentin has managed to reduce his insulin levels to 5uUI/ml which is considered normal.
“My leptin sensitivity also improved after one year of WHM and I’ve noticed that eating less is much easier,” says Valentin.
Due to the cold exposure that he subjects himself to, Valentin believes he is more resilient to stress.
“When I get stressed now, my body produces less adrenaline and I can focus on solving the problem rather than dealing with the impact of the stress hormone.”
This ability to handle stress, no doubt, has had a positive effect on his immune system with Valentin claiming he hasn’t had a single cold/flu since he started practising the method.
Having experienced so many benefits, it is no surprise that Valentin has become a strong advocate of the method. He will be completing his final WHM instructor training module in December this year which will give him the qualifications to start teaching the method which has given him a new lease on life.
Marcus Garvie – no more pain and more energy
When I first interviewed Marcus a year ago, he was singing the praises of WHM as a means to reduce pain – no matter what the cause. A year later the method is an integral part of his daily life and he cannot imagine living without it. At nearly 53 he feels like he is 35 and the method has brought him a range of new and unexpected benefits.
“I find that the main benefit is increased energy and a better mood. It’s also a great way to wake up in the mornings,” Marcus says.
To get this mood-enhancing benefit, I wondered what Garvie’s WHM routine looks like.
“I practise the breathing mostly once or twice per day, either three rounds of 30 breaths when I’m rushed or four rounds of 40 breaths when I feel the need for a more intense routine,” he says.
In addition to the breathing, Marcus has cold showers only and swims most days in the local river before it has a chance to freeze over in the winter.
Marcus is determined to continue to practise the method which has made such a positive impact on his life and believes the method is a key component in keeping him young.
Les Anwyl – more calm
Les from North Queensland, Australia has become a staunch believer of the WHM after it helped him improve his asthma and reduce his heart palpitations.
Practising daily (sometimes twice daily), Les incorporates WHM breathing and cold immersion together with Tai Chi, meditation and exercise.
Les points out that the results he is seeing now are different to the initial improvements he saw when he started the method.
“When you start something new you often get exceptional results very quickly. At first, the number of push-ups I could do was increasing nearly every day, and retention times as well. After a while you reach a plateau, and your improvements become the new normal. I haven’t gone backwards but achieved my personal bests some time ago.”
While the physical benefits have plateaued, Les (like Marcus and Valentin) has seen in improvement in his mental state.
“The other benefits I am feeling is an enhanced ability to stay calm under stress. Afflictive emotions like anger or fear steadily reduce. I feel my creativity and concentration have improved. I experience more joy and appreciation for my life. I feel a much deeper connection with my body and believe I can feel neurons firing and release of hormones like adrenaline. My Tai Chi practice is at a whole new level. Meditation has become very intense. I feel a deep sense of knowing calm; mindfulness and a deep feeling of connection with nature and the cosmos. At the same time feeling waves of bliss, which emanate from my head and ripple through my body.”
With so many benefits, Les sees the practise as a lifelong one. “I don’t see myself quitting anytime soon,” Les says.
Magdalena – a healthy heart
The last time I spoke to Magdalena, she described how she’d used the Wim Hof Method (along with other natural practices) to recover from a terminal medical diagnosis of cardiomyopathy. I was keen to find out how she was faring and if she was continuing to practise WHM.
A year later Magdalena is still in optimal health and continues to practise the method incorporating Wim Hof breathing daily as part of her morning meditation routine.
Living in North Central British Columbia, Canada, Magdalena has no issue accessing cold conditions and continues to ensure that cold immersion is a part of her daily life.
“I am lucky that most of my immersions are natural in what many would consider as wilderness,” says Magdalena (Check out her 100-acre predator and wild animal farm at www.grannyms.webs.com).
“There is water available from our well that is 5oC which we shower in all year round. My favourite cold water immersion is swimming in our local mountain lakes or streams. When the lakes turn warmer, my most convenient and favourite way includes just standing under an eaves trough, bathing in uncaptured rainfall.”
Having survived what she describes as “my weird health crisis” Magdalena plans to continue practising WHM.
“As a very active 65-year-old I plan to spend the rest of my time in this dimension happily doing the physical adventures that I want to do, learning to spend more time in moving and still meditation including the WHM breathing,” she says.
And what’s more, Magdalena can continue to do these things with a healthy heart.
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