wim hof method: 16 months

Here’s another one of my updates about my experience with the Wim Hof Method. I’ve been doing the cold water soaks for about 16 months now. Since I’ve made it through my second winter–albeit, a Southern California winter, so grain of salt–I have a little more insight into what is working for me.

For those who haven’t followed my Wim Hof story so far, I use my outdoor spa as a cold water “pond” in which I take my daily soaks. I soak for 10-minutes, first-ish thing in the morning, followed by a quick cold shower, and a dog walk as my warm up. I’m pretty impressed with my tenacity. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to step from a warm room into cold water, so to have done it for 16 months now, well, patting myself on the back here.

But before I jump too far ahead, let me admit Southern California isn’t exactly Canada or Scandinavia. Yes, we hit the 30s and 40s at night during winter, but mostly it’s 70s and sunny year round. This impacts how cool I can get my water. This past winter, it hit the mid-50s for a day or two, but mostly, it hovered in the low 60s. Not bad, but not ideal. Ironically, I prefer the chillier temperatures. I get in and feel instantly numb, so the water doesn’t “feel” as cold! Temps above that and I shiver the whole time.

In terms of benefits, I’m a little discouraged to still report I can’t see a ton of positive changes. I haven’t been sick all year, so improved immunity? But with California’s COVID restrictions in place, it’s more likely I haven’t been exposed to anything. The arthritis that greatly impacted my right hand is nearly resolved, but I understand it’s a condition that waxes and wanes. It might be that it’s simply on the downswing. In terms of mental strength and resilience, a couple of weeks ago I became convinced my dog had cancer and I melted into a sobbing heap. (P.S. Sunny’s fine.)

There is one condition I’m still examining. I’ve been getting super annoying headaches for the past 10 or more years after never having them before. A couple were so bad they led to nausea, which sounds like migraines, but it I don’t think that’s the case. Regardless, they’ve largely receded since I’ve been soaking. But here’s something weird: if I wake up with one and I do my full immersive soak, they don’t go away. If one develops during the day and I do a half-immersive soak–they’ll mostly disappear in less than 10 minutes. I don’t know if this is a blood flow thing, or mental trick, or if I’ve just convinced myself it works and so it works. Nevertheless, Wim Hof enthusiasts who are also headache sufferers may want to give it a go. Can’t hurt, might help.

Despite not a lot of solid success, I’ve been keeping it up with no intention of quitting anytime soon. There is something primal about soaking in cold water, sort of getting in touch with our ancestral selves. It feels right. Plus I’ve long been about doing whatever I can to improve my mental and physical health homeopathically wherever possible. So cold soaking is a natural fit. And wine. Lots of wine…

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