About the Ice Man
A Dutch-born world record holder, adventurer, daredevil and human guinea pig,
Wim Hof, The Iceman is best known for his preternatural ability to withstand extreme cold.
Get a grip on some of the crazy things this holder of more than 20 world records has accomplished:
- shirtless in nothing but shorts, Wim scaled above death zone altitude (22,000 ft) on Mount Everest;
- barefoot, shirtless and again in nothing but shorts, Wim completed a full marathon above the polar circle in Finland;
- he summited Kilimanjaro in less than 2 days, again in nothing but shorts;
- above the polar circle, he swam a world record 66 meters under a meter of ice;
- he can sit in an ice bath for almost 2 hours;
- in 2011, he ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water
But there’s more.
Under doctor supervision, In 2011 Wim voluntarily allowed himself to be injected with a poisonous E. coli endotoxin certain to make any human being very ill. The idea was to demonstrate that by using his meditation and breathing techniques he could effectively control his autonomic immune system response and nullify any deleterious health implications.
Wim did not get sick.
So How Can you Benefit from This?
Wim Hof sells his full training method Online – to do exactly what he does.
He even trained several of his students to survive the same injection test mentioned above. In only few weeks, and all under supervision.
So his program is pretty impressive and people are going crazy about it all over the world.
However, the training is a bit pricy and requires a lot of time and effort, so it may not be your first choice.
Luckily there is an easier way to start:
Hof constantly preaches for the benefits of Cold Showers, and how this simple practice can give you most of the health benefits of his training.
So let’s take a look at that.
Benefits of Cold Water Showers
Improves circulation. Good blood circulation is vital for overall cardiovascular health. Healthy blood circulation also speeds up recovery time from strenuous exercises and work. Alternating between hot and cold water while you shower is an easy way to improve your circulation.
Relieves depression. Lots of great men from history suffered bouts of depression. Research at the Department of Radiation Oncology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine indicates that short cold showers may stimulate the brain’s “blue spot”– the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline — a chemical that could help mitigate depression.
Keeps skin and hair healthy. Hot water dries out skin and hair. If you want to avoid an irritating itch and ashy elbows, turn down the temperature of your showers. Also, cold water can make your manly mane look shinier and your skin look healthier by closing up your cuticles and pores.
According to a study done in 1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England, individuals who took daily cold showers saw an increase in the number of virus fighting white blood cells compared to individuals who took hot showers.
Study by the Thrombosis Research Institute cited above showed that cold water showers increase testosterone production in men. Increased testosterone levels not only boost a man’s libido, but also his overall strength and energy level. If you’re looking to increase your testosterone, instead of juicing up like Mark McGwire, hop into a cold shower.
Increases fertility. Trying to become a dad? Cold showers are good for your little swimmers. Your testes aren’t meant to get too hot; that’s why they hang outside your body. University of California at San Francisco did a study with men who were exposed to 30 minutes of “wet heat” (hot baths and such) a week. When the men cut this exposure out, their sperm count went up by 491%, and their sperm’s motility improved as well. While switching from a hot to cold shower may not have as dramatic an effect, if you’re trying to create some progeny, it surely won’t hurt.
Increases energy and well-being. Every time I end a shower with cold water, I leave feeling invigorated and energized. Your heart starts pumping, and the rush of blood through your body helps shake off the lethargy of the previous night’s sleep. For me, the spike in energy lasts several hours. It’s almost like drinking a can of Diet Mountain Dew, minus the aspartame. And while it hasn’t been studied, many people swear that cold showers are a surefire stress reducer.
When you ask a fan of Cold Showers, why they do it, this is probably the answer they’ll give you.
When you learn to go out of your comfort zone every single morning, it really has real, positive effect on your life.
Getting Started with Cold Water Showers
If you’ve spent most of your life taking hot showers, suddenly turning the dial in the other direction can be a big shock to the system.
My suggestion (based on personal experience) is to not gradually decrease the temperature, but gradually increase the time you spend under the cold shower.
Which reminds me, some people with certain conditions should avoid cold showers because of the shock to the body’s system. If you have the following conditions, you’ll have to harness your inner 007 another way:
- Heart disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Overheated or feverish.
Okay. If you’re healthy enough for the Cold Shower, here’s how it’s done.
1. Start off with the hot water.
2. Step out of the shower.
3. Turn the shower as cold it can get, step under it.
4. Breath deep, try to stay at least for 2-5 seconds.
5. Try to stay longer in the cold day after day.
You’ll start seeing the benefits right after the first shower, and it only gets better as you continue. While cold water showers won’t solve all of your problems, I guarantee it’ll make you feel like a new man.
Every single morning.
Oh, and if you’re from Finland like M Room (or just crazy enough) you can just go Ice Hole Swimming!
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Original Article about Cold Showers: Art of Manliness
Credits: Wim Hof, Metalli1.fi