Long-Term Benefits of Wim Hof Breathing
I’ve been doing Wim Hof breathing religiously for over two years now; I started at the beginning of 2020, when the world shut down. And frankly, I think it’s one of the best habits I’ve picked up during that time. When life around you seems crazy, Wim Hof breath invites you to purposely slow down, settle into your body, & focus on your breath. The practice highly increases the amount of oxygen in your body, creating a cascade of beneficial effects. In this article, on the “Long-Term Benefits of Wim Hof Breathing,” I’m relaying my own anecdotal experience from two years of practicing this fascinating technique.
**Author’s Note: Article updated as of December 2022.
But what the heck is Wim Hof breathing??! It’s simply a breath practice, where you take in 30 breaths (quite rapidly), let them out ~ then hold your breath for as long as you can….comfortably. When you need to breathe: BREATHE. After that big breath, hold your breath for 10 more seconds.
That is considered “one round.”
The Effects of Wim Hof Breathing
**Note: These are my personal observations after having engaged in this method for over two years ~ they are not “scientific” or clinical results. But Wim’s method has been studied by the scientific community, & you can read more about that on his website.
- The single biggest thing I’ve noticed, from two years of doing this breathwork: it takes me from having a scattered, morning mind (that’s rattling off all I need to do that day), to a much calmer, more focused mind. The difference is dramatic. This technique is a fantastic way to “clear the mental cobwebs,” & I find that it’s similar to exercise in that way.
- When I use the Wim Hof App (which tracks how long you hold your breath), I was able to hold my breath for longer & longer periods of time. The longest I’ve been able to hold, with no effort, is SEVEN MINUTES!!! Before, that would’ve been impossible. But what is the benefit here? Quite simply, it means there is an incredible amount of oxygen in your system ~ which is why it’s SO easy to hold the breath for so long. And the benefits of increasing oxygenation within the body are ten-fold: oxygen helps to replace old or diseased cells, increases energy, provides a boost to the immune system, & helps to alkalize the body.
- I’ve found that Wim Hof breathing is a fantastic way to de-stress & “re-set” the body…& for me, it works pretty much instantly. Here’s an example: last Christmas, I drove from Oregon down to California, & hit terrible traffic around Los Angeles. I could feel my nerves starting to frazzle. So, I simply did one round of Wim Hof breathwork (he doesn’t recommend doing while driving ~ make sure to pull over), & voila! After just one round of breath, I felt markedly calmer. Less reactive. Better able to handle the drive. Again, the difference in how I felt before & after was dramatic.
- Similar to a good workout, I find that Wim Hof breathing relieves almost all anxiety. I’m not a particularly anxious person; however, on days when I don’t do morning breathwork, I find I’m more anxious throughout that day. I believe it’s for this reason that I’ve grown so “addicted” to this practice: the benefits are noticeable & absolutely palpable.
- ***This method helps to clear negative encounters or interactions from your body. Let me give an example: I had a recent encounter with a person that was not particularly pleasant; the experience left a “bad taste” in my mouth, so to speak. Directly after, intuition told me to do a few rounds of Wim Hof. Because you’re not just taking in 30 breaths: you’re also LETTING GO of 30 breaths. If you listen to Wim while breathing (which I always do), you literally hear him say this over & over: “Breathe in, & LET IT GO…..breathe in, & LET IT GO.” He’s giving a direct command to your body & mind, to basically: LET SHIT GO. While it may sound simple: for me, this technique WORKS. It makes me less reactive. After doing the breathwork, I can communicate more effectively; I take things less personally.
I cannot stress how important this final point is: I believe that the Wim Hof Method is a powerful tool that can be used to help clear away negativity or stress from the body. I have found this to be true for myself, & thus, believe it’s possible for others as well. We all experience unpleasant things from time to time: this method helps you MOVE THROUGH these experiences, as opposed to holding onto them & getting “stuck.”
You always end the breath in a different place than where you started: & this, in itself, is extremely powerful.
Video of Russell Brand & Wim Hof
Scroll ahead to the 51-minute mark in the video below to try one round of this breath for yourself. Wim takes Russell through one round of this technique, while explaining its benefits: this is one of my favorite videos, & I use it often.
So…in a Nutshell….
- Wim Hof breathing helps create a calmer, clearer mind ~ similar to exercise;
- Helps to relieve anxiety & any subtle tension(s);
- Brings an incredible amount of oxygen to the body;
- Creates more energy & better focus, a feeling of “I CAN!”;
- Helps to clear negative encounters or interactions from the physical body & mind;
- Creates a feeling of greater equanimity throughout the rest of my day.
Long-Term Benefits of Wim Hof Breathing
I hope this article has been helpful for those looking into the benefits of Wim Hof breathing. At this point, it’s so integrated into my life, I can’t imagine going more than a day or two without it. And because mental health is such a pressing issue: I believe this method is a great tool to have in the arsenal, which you can pull out as you need it, to create a greater sense of calm & peace in your life.
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Appreciate your insights after doing Wim Hof breathing for so many years. Question: did you/do you ever get light-headed while you’re breathing?
Hi Danny, thanks for your question! So I used to get a bit light-headed in the beginning (first few months), especially while doing the breathing ~ & occasionally during the breath hold. This doesn’t really happen anymore…not sure why. Hope that helps!