Breathing and Cold Therapy Combo ‘Wim Hof Method’ Shows Potential Health Benefits

A new review suggests that the Wim Hof method, a combination of breathing exercises and cold therapy, may help reduce inflammation in the body and improve overall health. The findings were published on March 13, 2024, in the journal PLOS ONE.

The Wim Hof method was created by extreme athlete Wim Hof and consists of three main elements: a specific breathing technique, exposure to cold temperatures, and commitment to the practice. While several studies have looked at how this method affects the body and mind, most of them were too small to draw strong conclusions.

Researchers from the University of Warwick in the UK analyzed the results of eight studies to identify any consistent trends. They found that the Wim Hof method seemed to have the most significant impact on stress and inflammation in the body. Several studies showed higher levels of epinephrine, a hormone released during stress, and lower levels of proteins that cause inflammation.

The effects on exercise performance were less clear, with some studies showing improvements in breathing and others finding no significant differences.

The authors of the review emphasized that while the results are promising, more research is needed before the Wim Hof method can be widely recommended. They stated, “Our systematic review underscores the need for further investigation into the Wim Hof method’s effects on stress, inflammation, and overall health, offering valuable insights into its potential as a complementary approach to wellness.”

As interest in alternative health practices grows, the Wim Hof method may offer a unique approach to improving well-being. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new wellness routine.

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