Experimenting with the Wim Hof Method

I’ve been looking into cold-related exercises recently. Part of this has been due to reading diet or diet-related books, such as Penn Jilette’s Presto or Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body, where they talk about using cold showers or cold/ice baths for weight loss purposes. (For those who haven’t read anything about this, in short, it is related to the development of “brown adipose tissue” (brown fat) which is supposed to help burn more calories. (Yes, I may be horribly misquoting things, but this is my recollection.)

Along with this, through watching videos on London Real, I’ve been exposed to Wim Hof, “The Iceman”. I’ve also seen the VICE documentary about Wim, which got me genuinely quite interested in him and his method.

The basic method is explained in freely available documents online, however there is also a 10 week course on the method that is sold on wimhofmethod.com. Since it’s on a Christmas sale and I had extra money on a company gift card, I decided to give it a try.

The WHM seems like an ideal way to help acclimate to the cold, generate more brown adipose tissue, and perhaps help with my weight loss, along with the side benefit of being more comfortable in the cold. It also seems like it’s generally got a lot of supporters and not too many critics. So, this had me hopeful.

At the same time, I consider myself a scientist, so I’m quite skeptical. Reviewing the method, and listening to some of the explanations for the breathing exercises, did for me raise some “red flags”. While there is some science behind some of the claims of the method, I am not positive all of the claims are really backed up by science. And I’ve had trouble coming to grips with the idea that controlled hyperventilation is part of the key to mastering this technique. It just seems to violate common sense that this is a good thing.

Today, I nearly backed out and asked for a refund, which I’m allowed to do within 14 days. I literally had the email over half-written. I wanted to have my money back since my doubts were too great and I wanted to have the cash back.

…But, I decided to wait, and to check out their FAQ, and read the attached documents with the course… And while I still have my doubts, I’ve decided that I will give this a serious try for the next 2 weeks. At least until day 13 or 14, I am all-in. …And hopefully, this will go well enough that I stick with it for the full 10 weeks.

I’m not convinced that everything in the Wim Hof method is correct or needed to get the benefits claimed by the method. But, I’m willing to put my doubts aside and give this a try, as long as I can do so while staying safe.

…I just don’t know how I’ll explain the ice baths later in the course to my wife. 😉

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