The Dark Secret Behind The Ice Man | Wim Hof
Indy

Thanks to soaring energy bills, people are cutting back on things they once took for granted to watch those pennies.

We've seen suggestions people shower at work to minimise home use, only use one hob when cooking and pleas to turn boilers down.

It is all getting a little anxiety inducing so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled (late to the trend) across the Wim Hof method - a method that could stop me using energy in my flat and purportedly calm the gnawing stress punctuating daily existence. I was sold.

To give a quick run-down, Wim Hof is a Dutch bloke who absolutely loves being cold. To give a bit more detail, he is a Dutch bloke who claims being cold is great for your health, because it trains our bodies to cope with stress, strengthens the circulatory system, reduces stress, makes us more alert and leaves you 1000 times more likely to win the lottery. OK, maybe it doesn't do all of that.

From practicing cold therapy himself, Hof has run a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, stood in a container while covered in ice and a whole lot of other wacky stuff. The likes of Russell Brand and Jim Carrey are fans so who was I to turn it down? What did I have to lose. Well, warmth.

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So I decided to trial a week of Wim and journal the impacts.

But before jumping into a cold shower I need to jump into research to aid my showering. I quickly learn there are three pillars to the method - breathing exercises, cold therapy and commitment.

I know how to breath and changing that isn't going to save me any money, so cold water showers it is, and it's something I'll commit to.

Hof recommends you acclimatise yourself to cold showers by exposing yourself to the icy elements limb by limb and slowly building up from 30 seconds of a cold blast at the end of your standard warm shower to - well the sky's the limit.

Well maybe it is - reportedly only 9 per cent have achieved a 'Shower Apprentice' badge, meaning they've withstood 90 seconds of icy hell.

I get the sense that the Wim Hof ethos sits opposite to society's overvaluation ego and competition, but alas I am Kate Plummer not Wim Hof so I vow to get my Shower Apprentice badge - which incidentally sounds like some Supernanny fad to get kids to wash - by the time the week is up.

So off I go, to the bathroom and beyond.


Shower one

Just like Hof suggests, I have a Normal Shower then quite literally test the waters by running each limb under the jets. It feels fine, my arrogance shouts, and I hubristically throw my whole self under the water... and immediately out again.

It's cold, and I last about 5 seconds before escaping.

Pride comes before a towel.


Shower two

My second shower comes with a strategy. I don't know if it's Hof approved but by getting into a tepid shower and gradually making it colder and colder; I feel smart. When the water can't get any more glacial, I'm ready, and I count 15 unscientific seconds until my breathing gets ragged from the shock and I have to get out.

Afterwards, I feel alert and energised. It's a nice feeling - but whether it's because of the cold water or because of getting out of the cold water, I don't yet know.

Onwards.


Shower three

It is at this early stage in proceedings where I f**k up, to put it politely. The thought of getting into another unsatisfying shower fills me with dread and I give into my human desire for warm running water.

As I step out of a cloud of steam, I certainly feel good, but I don't feel very Wim Hof.



Shower four

But it is time to, as they say, get back on my bulls**t. As with my second shower, I gradually make the water cooler and cooler until it is as cold as cold can be, and I wash.

I'm not sure how long I manage to be hit with the cold droplets, but it feels like longer than last time and - and this is the only way I can think of saying this - the cold just doesn't feel as cold.

Was I reaching enlightenment?


Shower five

I approach my last shower with excitement and a resolve to try my best. But it is just too cold, and while I manage around a minute, my desire to freeze just isn't there. I give up.


With my week of showers finished, it is time to reflect. It's been a good week. I've felt clean.

But there's been some failures, too. I haven't got my Shower Apprentice badge and to be honest, I don't really feel any different.

It has only been a working week, though, and I've messed up along the way so maybe the answer is to give it a longer shot? To Wim Hof beyond the week, and see what happens. I mean, I didn't not enjoy it so maybe there is something in it, and I did use less hot water.

Regardless, if the Tories force us all to do the Wim Hof method by not solving the energy crisis, I doubt all the breathing exercises in the world will be enough to sail through the resultant showers of s**t.

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