EXTREMITIES ICE DIP
It’s been a few weeks since I have started to practice the Wim Hof Method (here the first post I wrote about it).
I bought the Fundamental on-line curse that goes deep into the Method, and on week number 2 I had to do an exciting homework: I had to dip my extremities in iced water.
If you are exposed to a low temperature, your core needs to protect itself and cut blood circulation to extremities to keep the body warm. When this happens, the temperature in the extremities reaches 10℃, but then the blood vessels open up again to bring new blood and generate heat. If that occurs for an extended period the situation collapse. It is well known that many mountaineers lost fingers and toes while exposed at extremely low temperatures at high altitude.
This exercise aims to recreate a similar situation. In a bowl, I poured cold water from the fridge to which I added a dozen ice cubes. With a kitchen thermometer, I measured the temperature: 3,5℃. So cold!
When I stick my hand in the bowl(I did one at a time), I stopped breathing for a few seconds. I had to resist for 2 minutes. The cold was so intense, and my heart was pounding so fast. I had to concentrate on inhaling profoundly and exhaling very slowly. After fifteen seconds I wanted to take my hand out, but I forced myself to resist. After one minute by heartbeat started to normalise, and I began feeling a tingling sensation on my hand, and after one and a half minute I started to feel blood coming back to my hand, and I didn’t feel as cold as before.
Following the hand’s dip, I wanted to try with my feet. Given that I went for a run in the morning I thought I could dip my entire legs using the bathtub.
I knew that I did not have enough ice to cool down the temperature enough, but I gave it a try using a few ice packs I had in the freezer.
I filled the tub with cold water enough to cover my legs and let the ice packs for ten minutes. The temperature lowered to 17℃, and I have to say it was quite pleasant. I surely store more ice packs in the freezer from now on!
LITTLE ISSUES, AND MY SOLUTIONS FOR THAT
I came across a series of small issues, and probably other people who signed in for the Fundamental course felt the same.
Whether you bought the course, or you are doing the exercises by yourself,
here are my suggestions to make the breathing practice nice and smooth:
1 – During the 1on1 session, Wim often stops the counting to talk and explain some useful concepts, but when starting to count again, it does not have the same pace as before. I usually listen to the lesson, but I do not practice it.
2- Counting the breaths is distracting. Whoever tried this method know very well the state of mind you enter doing it, and focusing on counting how many breaths you do can prevent you from reaching the right mindset.
Wim in one of his videos suggests listening to what the body tells you.
It is true that you start to feel high at some point, but for me, it is better to set up a timer. I counted how many deep breaths I do in a minute, and it is from 9 to 10. Given that 30 breaths make one session, I will need to breathe for 3 and a half minutes, more or less. After that, there is a breath hold, that usually goes from 1.30 to 2 minutes, followed by 15/20 seconds retention.
What I use is a fantastic app called Runtastic (here to find it on Google Play Store)
I set up a 5-second preparation, a 3.30 minutes “workout”, that is the actual breathing time, and 3 minutes “rest”, that is the breath hold and retention time. And I selected three repetitions of the exercise.
On the setting, I lowered the voice feedback to 5%, that way the advice you finished your phase won’t be too invasive. I ticked the feedback at the end of every phase (“workout” and “rest”) so you will know when it is time to breathe deeply and when it is time for hold and retention.
3 – It is recommended to do the breathing first thing in the morning. It is a bit hard for me given that I already wake up at 5am most of the days to go to work. I try to alternate morning and evening sessions.
4 – Sometimes it is hard to concentrate, and the more you try, the more your brain bounces between thoughts. Here comes another beautiful app often use when my mind doesn’t stand still.
It is called Ambience – Nature Sounds, and with that, you can mix a series of high quality relaxing sounds. With the free version, you can mix up to 3 tones, while with the premium you can combine an infinite number of sounds to create your relaxation soundtrack. Even though I have always used three sounds tops, I bought the premium version anyway. This app is so good I would rate it 10 stars if I could.
Click here to find the app on Google Play
PS: my personal favourite is a mix of Chimes and Guzheng, both in the Traditional Asian Sounds list.
PS 2: The app I suggested work great together!
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