TAKING THE PLUNGE
I have been practicing the Wim Hof breath and cold water immersion therapy for about three to four months, and am finding it helpful on many levels. I highly suggest this video as a 10 minute guide for the basic breathing technique link here. My exposure to both Pranayama (breath work) and Cold Water Therapy began many years ago, but I was not able to do the Cold Water Therapy for any notable length of time. I was also resistant to doing conscious breathwork, but did it despite that resistance. Here is a little bit about my knowledge of, and somewhat limited experience with, Cold Water Therapy:
PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
There is a woman named Victoria Boutenko who, in the past, has written about her and her family as they lived a Raw Food Lifestyle. I recently learned from this video that Victoria is no longer a Raw Food proponent, as an exclusionary diet. I am sure she has received more flack, than the bit I have read, for changing her perspective, and I greatly respect her honesty. Anyway, many years ago Victoria touched my life by sharing her bathing in very cold water upon getting out of bed in the morning. If I remember correctly, she had a clawed foot tub on her porch that she would jump into. Victoria is originally from Russia. The use of Cold Water Therapy is documented and celebrated here in the USA by the Polar Bear Club of Rockaway Beach located in Brooklyn, New York. Rockaway Beach is a Russian Immigrant community of many years standing. Also, I have done saunas with cold water dips afterwards for a number of years while living in NYC. The Russian Baths are a place to look into if you live there.
FROM BRRRRR TO A MORE TOLERABLE BRRRRR
Over the 20 years that I tried Cold Water Therapy I had no success in maintaining any consistency as a practice. I always felt better after a cold shower but that memory faded fast and the idea of cold water running over my body made me reach for the hot water knob first. I also was ambivalent about using cold water due to, what I felt was the misuse of it, by Sports Medicine doctors, trainers and physical therapists. Cold water therapy can enable athletes, dancers, and injured people in general, to re injure themselves by driving the inflammation deeper into the body. Cold can often give people a false sense of well being when used in this way. This is not the perspective from which the Wim Hof Method of Cold Water Immersion is presented.
LOOKING FOR AND FINDING SUPPORT
There is a Facebook support group for the Wim Hof Method that I have found helpful. My experience is that it took me a bit of time, about two months, to immerse my entire body in a body of cold water. I started with showers, as is recommended. I know it is important to go step by step with this process. A 10 week Wim Hof Course is available online. On a more critical note, I feel there is a hard core male driven force behind the Wim Hof Method. What do I mean by that? Well, there is a lack of a feminine voice and input. Yes, there are women sharing their experience, but the general presentation can have a competitive edge to it, and that is something to take into consideration when reviewing the material on youtube and Facebook. There are a generous amount of free videos to watch. The Wim Hof community is, as far as I can tell, supportive and the basic desire is to help, get help, and share information.
SOME PERSONAL DISCOVERIES
I have found that it is very important to take things at my own pace. To not get wrapped up in the competitiveness that often comes from an athletic competitive base of members. Also, my lessening of inflammation from the Wim Hof process is not going to be the same as others. People often find protocols and talk about them as though they are the be all and end all. One step at a time. I think watching and listening to the videos available on youtube will help anyone reading this come to their own conclusions about how to proceed.
Here are two more videos that I like. This video is 3 minutes and change in length. It is beautifully spoken by Wim Hof about his discovery of Cold Water Immersion combined with Breathwork. I do want to say that Wim Hof is a disarmingly, in the best sense, communicator of his vision. Listening to his interviews and talks on youtube are very helpful. This second video is a breathing guide with no instructions, so it is for those who are more familiar with the breathing technique. The voice of Wim Hof is used as a guide for the timing of the breathing.
There is a great deal to benefit from practicing The Wim Hof Method. Again, at your own pace, and one step at a time.