Wim Hof Method Experience, 2018-04-14, Munich, Germany

Discussion in 'Other' started by Tobias Wissmueller, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Tobias Wissmueller

    Tobias Wissmueller Strong Member of the Forum

    The Intro

    On Saturday 14th. April 2018 I had the chance to visit a "Wim Hof Method Experience" in Munich. I have mentioned it in my log and was asked to give some more details about it which I happily do now. Thanks to @Steve Freides who provided the okay since this is not a StrongFirst event. In case you are looking for details on how we did things, then this is the wrong place. I will only write about what we did and my experience with it.

    The Motivation

    This part shall provide some insights why I took part in the event. Just skip it to the next part if you want to get to the details of the event.

    Was first reading about Wim here in the forum and bought his book "The Way of the Iceman" on 18th. January 2017. Never really read it to be honest, but started with cold showers after my S&S practice in the morning. Am not going to the maximum, but somewhere below luke warm. The water here in Munich is coming directly from the Alps and therefore is really cold.

    I was interested in breathing and cold exposure as a form of recovery because being into S&S for 3 months I had to deal with lots of tension in my lower back and constantly sore muscles. The cold showers helped to a certain degree.

    Since two years or so I have also suffered from a congested nose. My nose would congest sporadically throughout the day, especially in the winter. The nose spray was my constant companion. Nights were short, not only because of the kids, but at around 3 or 4 AM my nose was blocked and my sleep quite restless.

    Also via the forum, I came across the book "The Oxygen Advantage" and started to practice and sleep with my mouth taped. What felt weird and counter-intuitive at the beginning, sleeping with a taped mouth, proved as very effective and had the effect, that I woke up with a free nose. But still my nose would congest throughout the day.

    Again, the forum showed me another way and led me to the "Advanced Buteyko Insitute" where I signed up for the full course with @Steve Freides as my instructor. From an initial control pause of 15 seconds I have made it to around 50 seconds. The days of congested noses were gone. Thank you, Steve and the Advanced Buteyko Institute!

    Due to sad events in my life I was not able to continue with the practice and am just doing it sporadically from time to time. With this, I am staying at at control pause of around 35 to 40 seconds.

    In February 2018 an email popped up in my inbox announcing that Wim Hof is coming to Munich. After checking with my wife and my calendar, I have quickly signed up for the event. I would have been stupid not to take the chance. The location of the event was only a 15 minute bike ride away.

    So, I went there with my usual sceptisim and a bit scared about that ice bath.

    The Event

    On the day of the event, a nice sunny saturday, with only a light breakfast in my stomach, I left towards for the seminar on my bike.

    The venue is called Beach38 which is located in an old factory building and serves now as an event location with outdoor and indoor beach volleyball fields, a nice bar and chillout area.

    The overall event was scheduled as follows:

    11:30 - 12:00 Registration
    12:00 - 13:30 Part 1: Introduction - Physical Exercises - Breathing Exercises
    13:30 - 14:15 Break
    14:15 - 16:00 Part 2: Science Talk - Ice Bath
    16:00 - 16:30 Q & A

    We were required to bring a Yoga mat, bathing suit and flip flops. Drinking water was for free, as well as two soft-drinks/tea/coffee. Lunch was also provided for, although I would not call it proper lunch. Let's call it a healthy snack.

    After the registration we had to wait in the bar area for the event to begin. At 12, the doors to the indoor beach volleyball field opened and Wim was already on stage with another guy playing some Reggea music on his guitar and singing.

    Not all the parts have been done by Wim himself. He had a whole team of instructors with him who also held presentations and/or did exercises with all the 350 participants.

    The event has been kicked off by the "Renegade Pharmacist". Not sure what he actually does, but he did a great job introducing Wim.

    Then there was Josephine Worseck who mainly lead through the event. She has a PhD in molecular biology and also has her own Yoga school.

    Another instructor, called Duey (not sure if I got his name correctly) also did some exercises. He was introduced as a Kung-Fu practitioner.

    The science part has been lead by Matthias Wittfoth who has a podcast called "Science on the Rocks". Actually he holds a PhD in Psychotherapy.

    While most people were enjoying the sun after the ice bath, the Q&A session already started and therefore was more or less a small circle gathering around Wim asking him a few questions.

    So what did we actually do?

    I don't want to go too much into the details of the seminar, but I think it is okay to mention that the seminar is all around the three pillars of the Wim Hof Method
    • Breathing
    • Cold Exposure
    • Commitment
    With the 30 minute long breathing session and the ice bath being the absolute highlight.

    I had three moments during the breathing exercises that I will never forget. Am a bit embarrased to write this, but let's call it "outer body experience". Or maybe an inner body experience ... Who knows ... It is difficult for me as a computer scientist, who tries to map the world into algorithms, to put this into words, to describe or to accept.

    Then came the ice bath. I have never really liked the cold, actually I hate the cold. I got a bit familiar with it since I ride the bike to work, but expose any part of my body to the cold and the first thought comes up is an unpleasant one to put it mildly.

    @crazycanuck mentioned in my log that I looked calm in the picture where I sit in the ice bath. This is what I have replied:

    "I was not calm at all. I was fighting an inner battle.

    Only when I was standing in front of that pool, my heart pounding nervously, not believing I could make it, I closed my eyes and told myself that I will do this now. Commitment! One of the pillars of the Wim Hof Method.

    When my body was submerged, my extremities really hurt. Everything from elbow to fingertips, from knees to toes. I was struggling with this pain. You see the instructor in the picture putting his hand on my body? He did that to calm me down, to help me focus. It helped at first. He gave me confidence and am so grateful to him.

    Two things I did wrong: They repeatedly said to put the hands on the thighs which I just ignored for some reason. Maybe out of nervousness? The second is not really a mistake, but I have realised something. During breathing practice I need to close my eyes in order to focus and to be able to experience all the sensations that come up.

    So I did when lying in the ice. But this draw my focus to the pain in the extremities. Then I have opened my eyes and suddenly it got much better. I was just staring at the ice and its texture. My mind shut down, I was breathing. The pain was still there, but it did not matter. Closed my eyes again, and again my focus shifted to the pain. Opened eyes, and I was able to deal with the pain again. We are talking about 60 to 90 seconds here."

    The Conclusion

    What now? Honestly I don't know. Is Wim’s stuff working, is it all some esoteric hype? I don't know and honestly I don't care or to put it in Wim's words: "I don't give a fu$%i(g s%i))!". What I know is that something happened during those breathing sessions that I want to explore further. And second, I have jumped over myself and got into that ice bath. Am proud and want to try again. Maybe the cold and me will become friends some day. Worth a try? I don't know, but what speaks against it since it seems to have some massive health benefits? And again, I honestly don't know. But what I do know is the pain in my shoulders I was dealing with the last two weeks was gone when I came out of the ice.

    Would I do it again or recommend it? Yes! Absolutely! If you want to get out of your comfort zone and maybe experience something new, just do it. And to put it in Wim's words again: Don't think about it, just let it happen.

    I have received a follow-up email inviting me to the online course with a 50% discount. Not sure if I take part, although I really would like to do so. I think I already have made a decision when reading the email for the first time. Not sure if I manage it from a time perspective. I might need to skip some S&S sessions or cut them short. It would only be for 10 weeks or so. I think I will do it, but will sleep a couple more nights over it.

    What would you do?

    If you really came that far, thanks for reading!

  2. offwidth

    offwidth Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    Excellent summary Tobi!
    Thanks so much for going to the effort. And thanks to @Steve Freides for allowing you the opportunity to do so.
  3. Tobias Wissmueller

    Tobias Wissmueller Strong Member of the Forum

    Thank you, Brian! Hopefully someday I can write a review on @Pavel's "Second Wind" and @aciampa's workshop on "Stress & Aging" as well. Hopefully someday ... :)
  4. Antti

    Antti Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    Thanks for the write-up! Sounds like a great and interesting time. It feels like you're interested in the teachings and that you had some great experiences you'd like to understand better. So if you have the means, I think the online course could be a good one for you. Better to try it out, than later feel sorry for not doing it.
    Tobias Wissmueller likes this.
  5. Oscar

    Oscar Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Hi Tobi, that sounds like a lot of fun! His feats are amazing, if he manages to teach how to do it its surely interesting.

    About the course, I'd say don't do it. It sounds like program hopping to me. Go back to buteyko, bring your CP to 60 seconds, keep it there 6 months and then reassess. Nowadays, if my cp happens to drop below 40 I feel like "oh cr#p this doesn't look good". I spent all my life with runny nose and sneezing all day long. Since my cp is 60 I haven't blown my nose, and it's been almost a year.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    Tobias Wissmueller likes this.
  6. Tobias Wissmueller

    Tobias Wissmueller Strong Member of the Forum

    Yes, @Antti! I certainly want to understand better, since I have more questions now than before. That discount of 50% is a compelling argument ... and of course it is only valid until a certain time. Marketing ...

    I had exactly your thought, @Oscar, about program hopping, but right now, am not practicing anything in a structured manner. The situations where I do VLB would still be the same, mainly while reading, riding the bike or watching a movie. Therefore I would not lose anything. Of course, without any determined practice I will not improve, but I am okay with this at the moment.

    Now that my shoulders got better after the ice bath am curious about that cold exposure thing. Before the seminar it was mainly the breathing I was interested in. I was not even sure if I get into the ice. Now the situation changed. If the cold can help with my recovery as well, I want to try it out. Just had my shower couple minutes ago and there was a difference. I felt the cold, but it did not enter my body. It was on the surface of the skin and just stayed there. Like my skin was some kind of protective shield. Maybe they hypnotised me during those breathing sessions and now am some kind of freak. Anyways.

    Would not consider it program hopping but adding another, additional, tool to help me with recovery on my path to strength.
    damogari, offwidth and Antti like this.
  7. Oscar

    Oscar Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    @Tobias Wissmueller let us know how it goes if you do it! Appologies if I´m a bit biased towards Buteyko, it may be that I had a bunch of seemingly unrelated sympthoms that I wanted to solve, and they all got solved. By the time you climb the Kilimanjaro in shorts you will surely enjoy the warm German weather!
  8. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @Tobias Wissmueller, if you are interested in cold exposure, try a more gradual approach, e.g., turn down the water temperature at the end of your shower. Over time, you can get used to turning it to be colder and colder. There are also stories of people who go into the ocean in the winter by adapting themselves simply - they go into the ocean every day, starting in the summer, and they just keep doing it as the water temperature decreases.

    Brookes and Tobias Wissmueller like this.
  9. Tobias Wissmueller

    Tobias Wissmueller Strong Member of the Forum

    @Steve Freides
    I have started with a the gradual approach under the shower to a certain degree and stopped at some point. Now I am motivated to go further, degree by degree so to speak.

    Would love to hop into an ocean or lake every morning, that would be awesome. Many lakes around here, but living close to one of them you need to have more than one bathtub full of money.

    I am writing this while balancing an ice pack on my right shoulder ... :confused:
  10. Tobias Wissmueller

    Tobias Wissmueller Strong Member of the Forum

    @Oscar, will do! Unfortunately, they have stopped the Kilimanjaro expeditions ... A big milestone would be to fill up my bathtub with the coldest water that comes out of the pipe and sit in it for some time without discomfort.
    Michael Scott likes this.
  11. jef

    jef SFG1, SFB Certified Instructor

    Personally, I am for a more direct exposure, and play with time rather than gradually lowering temperature.
    I suggest to take a normal shower, then last 15 sec full cold for one week. Add 15 sec each week until you reach a full minute. Once there, it is the Scottish shower, recommended by James Bond himself.
    Tobias Wissmueller likes this.
  12. offwidth

    offwidth Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum

    This is how I have experimented with it as well
  13. Brookes

    Brookes Double-Digit Post Count

    Showers didn´t work for me as well as total exposure. Due to many old injuries I have several chronic pain which won´t go away. Not bad since I got used to it. My old gym had direct access to a little stream with around 4-5 C° the whole year. After hard workouts we used to get into it and let us flow hanging at the entry ladder. I recognized that my pain nearly did go away. Also kept away a few days after the immersion. Also regeneration seems to be better afterwards according to my journals.

    There is a finnish freediver, Johanna Nordblad, which had the same experiences and dedicated her life to diving under ice.
    'There Is No Place For Fear, Panic, or Mistakes'

    Water seldom gets colder than 4 C°, so in my opinion there is no need for a ice tube. In my region the water is around 5° right out of the water tap. I immerse myself in the bath tube or a local lake twice a week, since this seems to have the best effect on my pains. Also after hard workouts or long MTB trips.

    So, I guess we are onto something with this "cold thing". ;)
    Tobias Wissmueller likes this.

Share This Page