A couple of years ago a good friend told me that he’d discovered the Wim Hof method of immersing himself in a barrel of cold water each day. He then took this to daily dips in the River Goyt and to lakes and rivers in Snowdonia. As many of you know, I’ve followed Joe Wicks since the first lockdown and last years he too installed an ice bath into his garden and was filmed taking the plunge. To be honest, I thought they were both mad. Then came a BBC, admittedly light entertainment series, called ‘Freeze the Fear’; a group of celebrities were also jumping into icy water.
At first, I have to say, my reaction was the same: they were mad, but then I began to listen to the man himself. He intrigued me and I was really moved when he spoke about his wife’s suicide and why he has committed himself to sharing his method. I downloaded his book to find out more. The more I read, the more intrigued I became. I wanted to do some more research into all this. Why? For years I’ve suffered from asthma, from that awful tightness in the chest and struggling for breath, from feeling as if I’m breathing through cotton wool when it has been at its worst. It is aggravated by pollens, viruses and exercise. I also suffer from permanent rhinitis. I take steroid inhalers, nasal spray and antihistamines daily. I discovered that the WHM has helped people with asthma and wondered if it could help me. Now, whilst I wasn’t ready to jump into the river, or into an icy barrel, I thought I could start with his breathing method (which actually, is fundamentally more important than the cold water) and gradually turn my shower cooler.
I downloaded the App and began the breathing method, listening to Wim’s voice, taking my time. I got in the shower and turned it down to cold for a couple of seconds. It wasn’t a pleasant experience! But I was determined to give this thing a proper go – I watched the clip on the App about the cold water to make sure I knew how to do it properly and then clicked on the 20 day challenge. I began with my usual shower and then turned it to cold for 15 seconds, using the breathing method as I did. This time it was OK. Day by day I increased the time in the cold (I should say at this stage that our water comes straight from the bore hole and is icy cold!)
I was beginning to feel good and so I have signed up for a WHM training session in North Wales. I still want to know more, to discover the full potential of continuing with this. I have already discovered that physiologically, a method which uses breathing in this way in addition to cold water exposure, helps to re- alkaline the body and therefore reduces inflammation, the more alkaline and less acidic the body is, the better for both mental and physical well-being.
What I can say at this stage is that my asthma feels so much better. My chest feels more free, especially when I run or jump on a Spin bike. I know that I feel good and so relaxed after doing a breathing session, and I know that after my now, two minute, cold shower I feel so alive and energised, but I still want to learn more.
I will keep you updated of my progress