Cold Showers, Ice Baths, Wim Hof Method, etc

Has anyone tried the Wim Hof method or done other experiments with cold exposure? (cold showers, ice baths, etc.)

Here’s a video about him:

and a longer documentary:

I started looking up information on health benefits of cold and found this:

Brown Fat

I also looked around to see if there was a way to increase brown fat (brown adipose tissue) for increased cold resistance and weight loss. I found another study that said:

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) burns fat to produce heat when the body is exposed to cold and plays a role in energy metabolism. Using fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography and computed tomography, we previously reported that BAT decreases with age and thereby accelerates age-related accumulation of body fat in humans. Thus, the recruitment of BAT may be effective for body fat reduction. In this study, we examined the effects of repeated stimulation by cold and capsinoids (nonpungent capsaicin analogs) in healthy human subjects with low BAT activity. Acute cold exposure at 19°C for 2 hours increased energy expenditure (EE). Cold-induced increments of EE (CIT) strongly correlated with BAT activity independently of age and fat-free mass. Daily 2-hour cold exposure at 17°C [62.6°F] for 6 weeks resulted in a parallel increase in BAT activity and CIT and a concomitant decrease in body fat mass. Changes in BAT activity and body fat mass were negatively correlated. Similarly, daily ingestion of capsinoids for 6 weeks increased CIT. These results demonstrate that human BAT can be recruited even in individuals with decreased BAT activity, thereby contributing to body fat reduction.

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Yes I am! I do cold showers since a week and it feels really better!

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Yep - the Wim Hof Method is great (both the breathing exercise and the cold water exposure).

In fact the breathing method seemed too good to be true to be honest, and people clained it helped them with energy levels, anxiety, high altitudes, athletic performance, avoiding diseases, etc., while the official explanations “it gives you more Oxygen” didn’t make any sense.

But it turns out that breathing method really does work, mostly through the effects of deep breathing, intermittent hypoxia, and controlled adrenaline release.

I’ve summarized the science of the Wim Hof Method breathing here in a widely-cited article.

I’ve also produced summarized more research about cold showers and ice baths, but these benefits have been largely understood for a long time before Wim Hof.

Personally I sometimes do a couple of rounds of the breathing technique, and have a cold shower almost every morning.

The breathing is great to wake me up when I’m very tired, and I want to try it out for high altitude one day. I think I get ill less, but that could be due to very many factors, so I can’t give Wim Hof all the credit!

The cold exposure makes me feel great (and warm!) afterwards and has supercharged my circulation.

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I did not use Wim Hof Method I just do cold shower, could you summarise it?

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I just realized that I used to use a variant of this technique to hold my breath for over 3 minutes. This always let me win the brief underwater breath holding competitions.

It really does feel like you are stacking oxygen.

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Here’s another article about cold:

The breathing technique?

Breathe fast with big deep breaths through the diaphragm, but not so fast that it feels difficult. About 3-4 seconds per breath is fast enough. Take 30 breaths like this. it reduces the CO2 in your blood to an unnatural level, and this is essential for the next step.

After those 30 breaths, leave your lungs at the neutral level that they are when you breathe out without thinking about it. So not full (you’ve just breathed out) but not really empty either. You should find you can hold your breath for much longer than usual, sometimes 3 minutes!

Once you need to breathe again, take one big deep breath in and hold that for 15 seconds. Don’t hold longer even though you would be able to.

That is one complete round of the Wim Hof Method. Usually people do 2-4 rounds soon after waking up.

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Nice - although you should know about “shallow water blackout” and why you should never ever use a method like this when holding your breath underwater!

Basically when you hold your breath, there comes a point when you feel like you need to breathe. And this is because your CO2 gets too high, you feel it and decide to breathe.

But with methods like this, you reduce the CO2 to an unnatural level, so it takes longer to get back up to the “too high” level. It can happen that your Oxygen runs out before your CO2 hits this critical level. Then you would pass out without any warning.

If that happens when you’re lying in your bed, you immediately start breathing and it’s fine :slight_smile: But if you do it while swimming then you will probably die.

For this reason, techniques like the Wim Hof Method are banned in freediving competitions, and they have to use other techniques.

Stay safe!

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I regularly do the WHM’s breathing technique! I have been doing it for around three years. I find the breathing technique of Wim Hof helps me a lot to influence my body and mind…I rarely get cold or fever after I started to practice WHM method. Not sure why! May be,it is just a placebo or whatever! But It’s surprised me by its effectiveness so much that I have been exploring other breathing techniques including ‘pranayama’.

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