I have been following Wim Hof’s cold therapy for some time now. My evening and often my morning showers are followed by a few minutes of cold. I love how I feel, I love how it has helped both my anxiety, clarity and well-being. I love how ‘in control’ I feel and the sense of achievement I get afterwards. I’m always bleating on about the benefits, so when Leah Scott approached us to talk about her experience, I jumped at the chance to share a story from someone other than myself, from someone who has reaped the benefits. I hope Leah’s story below encourages you to try this, or at least consider this method of well-being. I have found it helps with perimenopause too – Jo Harvey-Graham, publisher.
Wim Hof’s scientific-based method found me five years ago when I faced extreme anxiety, panic attacks, stress and bouts of depression after separating from my husband.
This was the beginning of an epic journey. In retrospect, I never would have expected this man and his method would influence me the way it has.
Through a process of deep transformation and reawakening, I’ve been able to shed my past conditioning and re-evaluate what is important in life. This process caused me to question what I’d previously just accepted was how my mind and body worked and led me to explore new ways of thinking and living. I experimented with various bio hacks, but nothing came close to Wim’s breathing technique and ice water swimming in nature. It is the perfect balance for mind, body and spirit healing.
Initially I trained myself in the local mountains and rivers, before being fortunate enough to be trained by Wim himself in 2018 and then teaching alongside him in Thailand in 2019. This path has enabled me to bring a high level of respect, quality and safety to my teaching. Having trained myself in extreme environments around the world, I’m able to see the things that those I teach miss, see whether they have pushed themselves enough in the cold, or if they could go just that little bit deeper.
How important is it to breathe? The first pillar of the Wim Hof Method, breathwork. We want to train our breathing so we can become more efficient at oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Consciously guiding our respiratory system gives us a stronger heart, lungs and diaphragm. It helps us maintain a healthy cardiovascular system promoting blood flow throughout the body and allowing oxygen into our muscles and organs, including our heart and brain, breaking down nutrients and releasing energy. We become conscious of how our nervous system works, adapting, building resilience and flexibility throughout the day. breathwork is the tool that enables deep inner-work, to release stress and trauma that gets stuck within.
For me, the second pillar of the method, cold exposure provides an unparalleled level of self awareness, self-regulation, and self-discipline. It tackles the biggest health problems in the world, cardiovascular related diseases, comorbidities, colds, flus and viruses, mental health issues like anxiety, stress and depression. It teaches us how to take control of our internal environment so that we are okay when our external world doesn’t go to plan.
We learn and grow when we train our adaptive mechanisms outside of our comfort zone. The cold, as a tool, takes you there and will help you truly learn about yourself. It has taught me how to respond and cope with the difficult things in my life. It helps me intuitively sense and comprehend others too. I live truthfully, vulnerably, confident, childlike and incredibly grateful.
Thirdly, this method asks you to commit. No other modality has given me the peace, freedom, strength and presence that the Wim Hof Method has. Overall, I have a better relationship with myself, greater love and acceptance and more emotional stability and inner peace.
I think it is a gift to be alive at this moment. However, I’m conscious that for others it is an incredibly intense time. That’s why sharing this Method feels like the right path, an authentic one, because I believe these practices – breathwork and cold training – together with the supportive communities they foster, help us to stay grounded and connected, to one another, and to the world.
Be alive, feel alive, challenge yourself and live your best life.
What’s so good about cold showers
- Thanks to science we know cold showers ward off hypertension, varicose veins and hardened arteries as well as increase overall performance of the cardiovascular system in general.
- Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally. It makes sense to train this system. As you know, heat opens the pores on our skin. Cold exposure tightens the pores. This stimulates our blood vessels, increasing circulation to our heart and organs. Cells, plasma, nutrients, minerals and hormones are easily transported throughout the body building resilience.
- Having a cold shower a day keeps the doctor away. This will improve your focus, attention, sleep and creativeness.
- It improves our skin. Conditions like psoriasis, eczema and acne can be from inflammation of the liver and kidneys. Ice water is scientifically proven to decrease the inflammatory response. You will be more vibrant with a youthful glow.
Tips for taking your first cold shower
- Start with a warm shower and enjoy it.
- Turn the shower cold. Put your arms in, wash your face, than your legs go in. Now turn around and put your back into the cold water. You want the cold water hitting the back of your neck, the brainstem. This is your mind/body connection.
- The water may take your breath away. This is ridding stress from your body.
- Breathe with long exhales to then start taking control and calm down.
- Start with 15 seconds and work your way up to a few minutes.
Join a public or private event with Leah and her Wild Things Anatomy team. For more information click on the links below:
About the author: Leah has lived in the Snowy Mountains region of Australia since 2016 and knows Australia’s alpine region intimately. She’s a certified Level 2 Wim Hof Method instructor who has taught alongside Wim and taught workshops worldwide, including Australia, Europe and the US. She is the only instructor in Australia to train people in nature and natural rivers.