FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I set up a chest freezer?
I recommend you buy around a 400L freezer. You will also need to buy a waterproof sealant - I bought mine from Mitre 10 (Shelley’s brand).
Seal the sides/bottom of the freezer where the edges do not meet. Wait for 2 days for it too dry. Fill it ¾ full of water. Plug the freezer into the wall and turn it on. Depending on the brand and average temperature of the water it will normally take around 10 hours to cool to the point where there is ice on the sides. This is an indication that your freezer will be 1-4 degrees. You can use a freezer thermometer to test the temperature. At this temperature most benefits will be gained in staying 2 minutes, this is the recommended time to stay in ice water.
I’ve been practicing the method for a few weeks and felt really good, but this week I feel worse, what’s going on?
From Wim: we are cleansing the nervous system, getting the shit out. We clear blockages that can be there from childhood.
From Leah: We clear the nervous system, create blood flow and adrenaline through the body. You feel like you’ve taken one step backwards? But if you keep going you will take two steps forward. I used to suffer from migraines and through week 3 of practicing the method, I got a headache every day while I was doing the breathing. After some research I kept doing it and after that week I’ve never had a headache (or migraine!) again. During weeks 5-7 it’s common to get sick/flu. Drop the cold exposure but keep breathing.
My fingers tighten up during the breath work — what is happening?
During the breathing exercises, you may experience involuntary muscle
contractions, known as ‘tetany’. Intensified breathing causes an efflux of CO2, which
in turn starts a cascade of ionization changes that lead to increased sensitivity in
nerve cells. These then require less excitation to provoke a muscle response, to the
point where muscles can contract spontaneously. The effects are typically expressed
most distinctly in the hands and feet but can extend across the entire body.
Barring any preexisting medical conditions, this phenomenon is entirely harmless, and the
effects fade away within minutes. Over time, it may no longer arise at all.
My ears are ringing— is this normal?
This effect is known as ‘tinnitus’, and it has a wide range of causes and
For some people, practicing the WHM either induces or exacerbates the ringing,
while for others it changes the pitch. Conversely, those dealing with chronic tinnitus
often find relief in the calming effect of the breathing techniques.
The connection between tinnitus and the Wim Hof Method has various possible
causes. Medical research shows a direct link between pulsatile tinnitus and anaemia,
which the WHM may exacerbate through elevated oxygen intake. The breathing
exercises also increase neural activity in the auditory brainstem, where the brain
processes sounds, possibly causing auditory nerve cells to become overexcited.
The scientific community continues to grapple with the particulars of tinnitus, but
has established that the phenomenon itself is harmless. In the vast majority of
cases, the ringing disappears with repeated breathing practice. If you find that, after
several weeks, the noise persists or intensifies, some underlying physiological
condition may be at play, and we recommend you consult a medical professional.
You’re bringing your body into a stress response; I thought stress was bad?
There is a difference between long-term and short-term stress. With this method
you are giving your body a short-term stressor, also called eustress or hormatic. This is
something beneficial for your body. You can compare it with giving your body a
vaccine. In the short term, your body must work hard to fight the intruder, but in the
long term your body adapts to it, and it doesn’t cause harm. Short term stress helps us deal with the long-term chronic stress.
Athletes/sports man ice bath straight after a game, what’s your thoughts?
Do Wim Hof breathwork breathing before a game so you go into it alkalised, with a higher PH (intermittent hypoxic state) - you feel less pain, it delays the onset of lactic acid, calms the nerves system) It trains the body to be better adapted with dealing with oxygen/CO2 which means you will be more efficient (energy wise and will trigger you to breathe better through the day or on the field) Plus it makes you focused and present on the field. (Source Hypoxia Review NCBI Study)
Other notes & benefits from the study: Acute, low dose Hypoxia, 3-15 episodes per day, Enhanced learning and memory, suppresses pro inflammatory mediators, reduces blood pressure, promotes weight loss, reduces symptoms of depression, Increases aerobic capacity and exercise tolerance
I would at least do a type of box breathing (or 4 seconds in 5 seconds out) for a minute or two after the game, to calm your nervous system before getting into the ice water.
Naturally when I’m near cold water I automatically breathe with a long out breath as this calming me (parasympathetic) before I go in.
People (or athletes) who don’t breathe beforehand aren’t getting half the benefits they can be getting. It’s far scarier for them because they haven’t calmed (or alkalised) their nervous system before going in. They shallow breathe; this is a stressful anxious state. This leads to tensing the body and headaches/migraines which they blame then on the ice water. They don’t realise it’s their mind and breath.
The best time to do the ice bath is in the morning - it will get rid of the residual inflammation from the day before and give you adrenaline for the game (or life) that day - at least an hour beforehand though so the body is properly warm before going on the field.
What will the WHM do for me?
The effects of the WHM techniques differ from person to person. Everybody’s experience is slightly different and is partially determined by your goals and expectations. A professional tennis player for example, will likely seek improved athletic performance, whereas someone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will sooner see benefit from lower inflammatory markers.
Reported general benefits of the Method include increased energy, improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, heightened focus, accelerated recovery, and a general improvement in quality of life.
The potential benefits are numerous and diverse. Ultimately, the only way to find out what the Method does for you is to try it for yourself!
Is the WHM suitable for children?
The breathing techniques can cause light-headedness and even loss of consciousness. Children often have not matured to the point where they can adequately assess these risks. Moreover, their brains are also physically still developing.
Thus, we advise that children under the age of 16 are supervised by a parent or legal guardian. Please be careful regarding cold exposure and build this up gradually.
What is the best time of the day to start the exercises?
Start your day right and do them in the morning. Jump-starting your body right from the get-go will help you spend the day both energized and relaxed. For best results, do the exercises on an empty stomach.
How much time do I need to invest to see results from this method?
The average daily investment is 20 minutes to start your day. During the day focus on deeper more conscious breathing. Once you have unlocked how to do the Wim Hof Method, you can access it indefinitely, and move through the stages at your own pace. The method should be implemented in your life daily to reap the full benefits.