The first time I saw Wim Hof on Joe Rogan, I was blown away, to put it mildly. For some reason, I always liked the idea of being able to have super powers. And here was a guy who could do what I couldn’t – handle the cold. Understand, I was one of those guys who, if he touched cold water in a shower, would recoil and freak out.
I would think, “If I got in that water, I would be hospitalized.”
My reaction was so extreme to the water that I actually felt I was in a “special” category of humans who simply couldn’t handle the cold. Like my body would break down and I would have a heart attack or a stroke if I jumped in there. It would take a therapist to get me through the experience.
Me, years later, after having taken the Wim Hof course, and I’m jumping in cold showers and baths left and right. At my house I even have a cold plunge – which is a basically a refrigerator bathtub that keeps the water cold at all hours of the day.
So with this said, let’s go over some of the benefits of cold water, and how it can help you live better.
INCREASED ENERGY and ALERTNESS
I love how cold water gives me a quick state change. Often, I am tired in the afternoon. By simply jumping in the cold water, this gives me the energy I need to play with the kids.
This is because my kids run a pace. “Daddy, let Barbie talk,” my little girl often says. And I gotta be on for Barbie school. I can’t not be letting Barbie speak her lines.
But seriously. Being present and active and not watching TV means I gotta have the energy to be a good Dad. This is what cold water lets you do – be a good parent.
Often at the end of the night it’s too exhausting to read to the kids. So I just jump in the cold shower, and boom – it’s reading time.
So what’s happening when you jump in the cold shower, is that it forces you to take these really deep breaths. This decreases the CO2 in your body, which in turn helps you to concentrate. If you take the shower in the morning, then you’ll state in a state of awareness and focus throughout the day.
INCREASED IMMUNE RESPONSE
Before I did cold showers and Wim Hof breathing, I used to get sick all the time. Every winter I would get this terrible flu. The kind where you get hospitalized.
And so I noticed that after doing my Wim Hof breathing and cold shower work, that I didn’t get sick anymore. For 5 years I didn’t get sick.
And then one year I stopped doing it.
And I got the flu 4 times. In a row. And I went to the ER several times. I was the guy you hear in the back of the room who was moaning because his stomach was in so much pain!
It felt like a gunshot wound. They gave me this medicine to my stomach and it numbed my throat and it felt like I couldn’t breathe. That was a horrible night.
So I decided then and there “I’m getting back into the Wim Hof method.”
So why does the Wim Hof method increase the immune system? This is because cold showers increase the amount of white blood cells in your body. These particular blood cells protect your body from diseases.
A large study from the Netherlands discovered that people who take cold showers are less likely to take work off from sickness.
Cold showers stimulate what is known as brown fat. This is the type of tissue that generates energy by burning calories. People who do cold shower work have this protective layer underneath their skin that protects them from the cold.
I remember going outside with my buddy Jay. He was freezing. Then I noticed, that unlike him, I wasn’t cold at all. Plus, unlike him, I didn’t even have a coat on.
It’s also nice just to stay in shape. This isn’t why I work out or anything. But just blasting that cold water on my stomach appears to keep me thin. And it’s backed up by science.
One study found that cold-water immersion at 14 degrees increased metabolism by 350 percent.
It’s hard to jump into a cold shower. And so you’re going to have to play some mind games on yourself to do it.
I’m like, “The water’s really hot.”
Or I say, “God I can’t wait to get in that cold water, because I’m so hot. Geez, that beach was so hot that I can’t wait to cool off in this cold water.”
I usually only do one minute of cold, then take a hot shower. Then I put it back on the cold for a couple minutes.
Sometimes I do 5 minutes. This is when I know I’m really disciplined. And it feels awesome.
I’ve done 10-minute sessions as well. You really have to rotate your body when you do this.
REDUCED STRESS LEVELS
Every time you jump in the cold shower, you are putting a small amount of stress on your body. Over time, your nervous system gets used to handling more and more stress.
Plus, it helps you to create a healthy response to stress. Giving yourself a cold shower can make you more alert and prime your body to handle bigger challenges throughout the day.
In older adults, spraying cold water on the face and neck has been shown to improve brain function.
I notice this, too. Dunking your head in the cold water really gets that fight-or-flight response going … and so I always save this for the end of the experience.
Breath work is the key for how I jump into the cold shower. This primes your sympathetic system so that the cold will be less of a shock.
Here is a great video to prime your body before the cold shower:
Does this crazy cold work interest you? Then I recommend you take Wim Hof’s 10-week course online.
And you’ll experience the same transformation that I did. You’ll actually welcome and look forward to your new friend – the cold freezing water.
Warnings As your doctor before you embark on any cold water shower routine. It can be dangerous for people with heart disease and can precipitate a heart attack or heart-rhythm irregularities for some people. If you have any suggestions for book reviews or blogs, please email us here: email@example.com