Cold Comfort

- By: Joshua Onysko

Cold Comfort

Some people think of frigid weather as the concession they make for getting to ski, snowboard, and ice climb. Some people think it's something to avoid altogether. We’ve recently experienced a reframe on the whole cold thing, however, thanks to a little practice called the Wim Hof Method. Now we can’t get enough, even if there isn't a board strapped to our feet. 

The Dutch-born Wim Hof wasn’t the first person to embrace the powerful combination of breath and cold water as a way to correct physical and emotional imbalances and increase the body’s life force. Kundalini yogis have known about it for decades, and many of them begin each day standing in a cold shower while doing the Breath of Fire pranayama.

The science-backed Wim Hof Method has been shown to help empower practitioners to voluntarily influence their autonomic nervous systems – including the immune system. In fact, this video shows Mr. Hof getting medically injected with an endotoxin that would normally make someone sick for several hours. The “Ice Man,” as Hoff is nicknamed, was able to transmute the toxins through his meditative technique that enlists his well-honed body-mind relationship. 

While most of us might never get to that level of mastery, some of the measurable effects of practicing the Wim Hof Method are:

- increased energy
- better sleep
- reduction in inflammation
- improved workout recovery
- strengthened immune system
- burnout recovery
- overcoming depression
- improved mental health
- increased will power
- stress control
- improved creativity

The best part is that you can ease into this. Start by practicing some of the breathing techniques he offers, and if they resonate, you can move into the cold plunge stuff. There’s no need to be extreme! AND, if you happen to live somewhere it gets really frigid in the winter, you’ll have an easier time setting yourself up with a cold plunge than our warm-weather friends will. Proost!

image credit: David Wirzba