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These 12 words changed my approach to health and healing

For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with the mind-body connection, especially after living most my life addicted to drugs, and a wide variety of diagnosis thrown my way. I’m at a total of 19 surgeries, and I was a lost soul for my first 34 years of life. So I’ve been even more impressed with people who have gone the extra mile to prove the ming-body connection than anyone. 

Hence my interest in Wim Hof.

Ever since Wim climbed Mt. Everest in board shorts, ran a half marathon barefoot on ice in spandex biker shorts, ran a full marathon through the Namibian desert without a drop of water, and was injected with a small dose of e-coli without being affected, people began to ask how he was doing what he was doing.

His response was simple: by using specific breathing exercises and meditation/visualisation techniques, he could access parts of his autonomic nervous system that changed his biological response to stress.

It was a bold claim and scientists knew it. So, a few of them decided to put him to the test while they ran some live analysis. If he passed what they had in store, he was set to change science all over the world so there was a lot riding on it. Because of that, the test was strong: Wim Hof was to stand fully submerged in an ice bath for as long as possible.  I remember watching him do this on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in like 2001. 

Prior to that moment, it was believed that once a person’s body temperature dropped below 90 degrees Fahrenheit there was no turning back. However, as Wim Hof’s dropped to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, he started breathing, meditating, and visualising it back up to 94 degrees Fahrenheit which allowed him to stay neck deep for 1 hour 44 minutes and this blew my mind!

This would have killed off any other normal person. But Wim is different. He’s been going into the cold to prevent illness and disease for decades. This test was just the culmination of all of his hard work.

That’s why he recently pondered?

“When was the last time I got a cold?It must be amnesia… I don’t know it's been a very long time.”

He then ended with a line that stuck with me.

You know what it is?If you don’t go into the cold, the cold comes to you.— Wim Hof

Wim Hof isn’t alone either. Tony Robbins is another big advocate for cold water immersion.

Every day Tony wakes up and plunges into a 57-degree Fahrenheit pool of water. 

It’s not just for fun as Tony say’s on the regular  “There isn’t a morning I wake up and want to go into the cold.” But he does it anyway because the health benefits speak for themselves. 

They include:

this is where my life turned around

 

It was by the grace of god I was given the opportunity to come up to Idaho to in 2014 to recover from 3rd heart surgery and fighting for my life in Cedar's Sinai for 3 months after my last heart surgery and turn my life around we made a deal that if I got outta that if I survived that hospital stay I would do whatever it takes to make my life matter and make some serious changes. All the images I had been day dreaming, dreaming, and consuming my thoughts in my head while lying in that hospital bed before I arrived in Idaho were spot on.

I pictured Spectacular mountains, beautiful lakes, incredible wildlife, awesome winters, hiking everywhere, fascinating history, slow pace, kind people, and everything in between. Post Falls has it all and much and more! This place literally saved my life. 

Before living here, I used to live in Bakersfield California for 34 years where it was always pretty hot and miserable outside with terrible air quality. When I saw the places to run surrounding this beautiful city calling my name, I couldn’t wait to get going. 

Because this has been my home the past 10 years and I loved to be outside so much, I had to condition myself to love the cold. I decided to research the health benefits of cold adaptations and that’s how I found Wim Hoff again. 

I’ve been running in the cold here the past 8 years on annd off, but the last 3 years have been much more consistent and I’m loving it more and more the more I do it. It’s my new addiction, I look forward to the winters more than the summers up here. My wife got me a cold plunge this year for Christmas and I’ve been consistent since she got it and my goal after researching how long to plunge and temperature to get the health benefits was getting in it for at least 11 minutes a week. Just had my longest plunge last week where I stayed in for 12 minutes at 57 degrees. I’m exited to see where I am in a lifetime of practice. 

Most mornings I wake up and don’t want to go into the cold and try to talk myself out of it. But when I don’t, I feel less in my body and more in my head, and less in control of my emotions and more restless as a result. So, I give myself a little pep talk and when my brain says “no” I say “go” and do it anyway.

Also, whether by luck or design, I haven’t been sick in a very long time either.

It’s All In the Mind

Although Wim Hof’s achievements are extraordinary he claims that “anyone can do it” and he’s being genuine. That’s because he once learned it himself from an ancient technique called tummo meditation.

Tummo, in Tibetan Buddhism, means inner fire. And in the 8th century, Tibetan monks in sub-zero temperatures used tummo meditation to keep themselves warm at night. A part of this technique involves focusing on key parts of the body while visualising flames or fire. Another part involves controlling the breath. This combination allowed them to relax in extremely cold conditions and even get a good night’s rest sleeping on top of rocks.

“In Tibet, temperatures can drop to -17 degrees Celsius, yet the monks slept like babies.Later on, in a magnetic resonance study, they found out that during meditation, the monks had an unusual blood flow in the brain area.They concluded that this allowed the brain to take over body functions like temperature and metabolism.”— Wim Hof

To prove that “anyone can do it”, he invited a small group of volunteers to learn his technique and after just a few days together they were put through the same rigorous testing that Wim was and they all passed with flying colours.

Tummo breathing has other benefits too. Aside from raising our core body temperature, it also lowers our pain perception, boosts the immune system, enhances the learning and memory centres of the brain, and helps treat stress-related conditions such as high blood pressure, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. It also strengthens the vagus nerve which supports proper organ functionality.

By adding breathing exercises before or after a cold plunge, the health benefits feel like they’re on steroids.

Here is that 800-year technique made famous by Wim Hof.

Tummo Breathing

  • Find a nice comfortable position sitting down with your back straight.

  • Bring your hands together in front of your chest and begin to rub them energetically.

  • Place your warm hands over your navel.

  • Inhale deeply through your nose while pulling your shoulders back, expanding your rib cage.

  • Exhale loudly through your mouth and bring your shoulders forward.

  • Repeat this inhale-exhale for 10 breaths.

  • On your last inhale, hold your breath in for 10 seconds while keeping your shoulders square. Close your eyes and imagine your inner fire burning.

  • Exhale and switch to gentle breathing for 5–10 breaths.

  • Repeat this sequence 5 more times.

  • On your last inhale, hold your breath for 30 seconds. Then exhale slowly and relax.


Hope you give it a try, it might just be what you need to switch things up and try something new. You wont regret it!


Josh



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