We’ve unpacked the first two pillars of the Wim Hof Method – breathing and cold therapy – and now it’s time to unmask the final, but equally important, pillar of commitment. We’ll be diving into what it entails and how you can try it.
The Wim Hof Method involves a series of practices to achieve stress relief and control over our bodies – it was created by Dutch athlete Wim Hof, though you may know him as the Iceman. His believes you can manage your body, mind and breath through a number of breathing techniques and tolerance practises. Breathing, commitment and cold therapy are the three pillars of the method.
Wim Hof says his practice would be impossible without commitment, after all, withstanding extremely cold temperatures requires dedication and mental strength. That’s why this pillar, comprised of developing willpower and promoting self-control, is so integral to the practice. Both cold exposure therapy and deep breathing help improve focus and resilience to stress, along with allowing us to better understand our emotions without judgement.
Commitment in the Wim Hof Method isn’t just about setting goals or committing to practice the method, it’s about developing a mindset of discipline and perseverance that helps you overcome the mental barriers and worries that can stand in the way of your health and happiness. The method requires a significant amount of commitment, with daily breathing exercises demanding time and effort, while the cold therapy requires courage and a willingness to push past our physical comfort zone. Think about it – when’s the last time you woke up and thought “let’s jump into an ice-cold bath”? If you’re anything like us, probably never. This can be difficult for those who are not used to pushing past their comfort zone – both the physical and mental kind. But people who practice the Wim Hof Method often report significant improvements in their health as a result of greater strength and perseverance.
This means they have more energy and less stress – but that’s not the only benefit, some studies suggest immunity could also be boosted, with Research showing that 6 weeks of cold water immersion improved the count of glycoproteins, of which have a major function of signalling immune cells – along with activating T cells, which are a vital part of the immune system. Another way the pillar of commitment is practiced in the Wim Hof Method is through community interaction – practitioners often connect with each other for support and accountability. If you're keen to try the pillar of commitment at home, here are a few steps to start:
- Set achievable goals
- Journal your results
- Take note of your emotions, without judgement
How to get started
While you can get started with some of the simpler breathing and cold exposure practises on your own, you may want to reach out to an instructor for a deeper understanding of the Wim Hof method, along with guided instruction to focus on your issues and goals. Leah Scott is a New South Wales-based practitioner with extensive experience in breathing techniques and cold therapy. You can find her services here. It was after a challenging divorce in 2015 and a flurry of anxiety and depression that she decided something needed to change. After encountering the Wim Hof method, she knew she was onto something special.
“I knew I’d found something that had changed my life forever,” Leah says. “I felt like I was gifted this beautiful connection within my mind and body, and I did it every day.”
Sounds good, right? If you’re keen to learn more about the practise and whether it’s for you, get ready for our upcoming Unprocessed podcast with Leah and the team at I Quit Sugar. Leah and IQS’s own J-J Yung will be taking a deep-dive into cold therapy and the Wim Hof Method – this is one you won’t want to miss!