Going into the ice water can be quite shocking, so you’d better learn to prepare your body if you want to try it. But how do you do that?
Most of us are raised to follow a familiar, predictable path: you go to school, choose a career, and then, if you are lucky, you earn a sabbatical, maybe a raise. This experience defines us, but it is not us. There is much, much, much more to our existence than that, to who we are in our depth. Our soul. And in accessing that soul, we find out that our minds and bodies are capable of so much more. This is the time to wake up to the true power we each possess within us. By consciously connecting with the reptilian brain, previously believed to be inaccessible, we have arrived at a new frontier, that of the brain-over body consciousness.
That consciousness allows you to truly trust your judgment based on intuition and instinct. I arrived at these insights by going into the cold water, by reconditioning my mind and body to reject the primordial, prehistoric feeling that the cold is our enemy and that we have to make fire and sit in the cave to combat it. We have nothing to combat but our own conditioning and fear. My American friend Chris Ryan wrote a book entitled Civilized to Death on these deeper feelings, about how we have become so civilized, so ensconced in our comfort zones, that it has gotten the better of us. He argues that we don’t live in nature anymore, but in opposition to it.
And what, in the end, are we really opposing? The cold and its adverse power are not our enemy. The cold knows how to trigger our vascular system, which, if laid out end-to-end, would stretch nearly two and a half times the length of the earth.
Cardiovascular-related diseases are the number-one killer in our society today, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are approximately sixty-two thousand miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries in each and every one of us. The vascular system is constructed, after millions of years of evolution, with millions of little muscles that contract and open the veins and the vascular channels in reaction to the weather. Regardless of whether it is warm or hot, our core body temperature has to remain 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If your core temperature dips only two or three degrees below that, you go into hypothermia, a hypothermic state. If it dips three degrees or more than that, it’s irreversible; your core body temperature spirals down, and your body is no longer able to heat up. So, we have this vascular system that opens and closes to protect ourselves from the cold and heat, to remain within the range of normal body temperatures. It’s a very delicate system. But what did we do? We got into clothes. And we love these clothes so much, these dresses and suits and nice ties.
Cold showers are the gateway to flow and energy and peace. I’m not exaggerating. It’s the entry point from which you will learn the power of the mind over the body.Wim Hof
WHM Protocol: Cold Exposure for Beginners
Going into the ice water can be quite shocking, so you’d better learn to prepare your body if you want to try it. But how do you do that? We wear clothes all the time, which de-stimulates our bodies, leaving our vascular systems in poor condition. So, what can we do to reduce the impact of the shock and instead allow the ice water to optimize our cardiovascular system? Most of us who live in the West take showers every day, and most of those are warm or hot showers, because we don’t like the cold. But if you end your warm or hot shower with just thirty seconds of cold water—just thirty seconds—you will begin to see results. Anybody is able to endure thirty seconds of cold water, especially after spending several minutes under the warm or hot water, collecting heat. The warm water opens up your veins, aiding your blood flow. So, while the cold water might cause you some discomfort at first, thirty seconds is no great hardship.