The Wim Hof Method & Your Immune System
Hey everyone, Yoga Dan here with an article I've been meaning to write, but haven't gotten around to it.
With everything that's been happening around the world lately, I feel now's as good as time as any to dive deep into this hot topic.
I want to begin by being very clear about something - The Wim Hof Method has not been proven to cure or prevent Coronavirus. The Method & the virus are both too new to have any substantial data to make any claim like that.
The point of this article is to point out some facts about the pathology of COVID-19, how the WHM influences your immune system, and then draw some logical conclusions about how the WHM could help combat it.
Let's start off with some COVID-19 facts.
How Does Coronavirus "Work"?
For most patients, COVID-19 begins and ends in the lungs, making this a respiratory disease. This is why it's so easy to spread the disease through coughing or sneezing.
In the first days of infection, Coronavirus invades lung cells. The cells that are already in our lungs come in 2 classes; mucus creating cells & cilia cells. Mucus cells help protect lung tissue from pathogens while cilia cells clear out the mucus of many things, including viruses.
At this stage, it is hypothesized that COVID-19 behaves like SARS. Having that said, it is currently believed that Coronavirus could potentially infect & kills cilia cells. This means that the mucus can no longer be cleared, and infections such as pneumonia can easily take hold.
As a result of this, the immune system releases "a cytokine storm" of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These pro-inflammatory cytokines tell the immune system what & where to attack, which can be helpful when working properly.
But sometimes, these specific cytokines can get out of control and tell the immune system to kill all cells in their way, good and bad. In the case of COVID-19, the immune system could potentially attack lung tissue. This compounded with pneumonia is what is lethal.
How the Wim Hof Method Influences Your Immune System
The most popular and well-known scientific study of the WHM's affect on your immune system is the Radboud University study.
In the first phase of this study, Wim's blood was tested outside of his body by being exposed to an endotoxin.
An endotoxin is a dead cell wall of E. Coli, which is harmless. It's purpose is to trigger an immune response characterized by pro-inflammatory cytokines being released into the blood.
In this first phase, it was shown that after Wim practiced his method, the pro-inflammatory cytokines were reduced to about half, while white blood cell counts nearly doubled. (White blood cells fight & destroy foreign invaders that are harmful to your health.)
In layman's terms, this means that inflammation was reduced, while the part of the immune system that eliminates pathogens were doubled.
The second phase of the study was injecting Wim directly with the endotoxin. On top of testing his blood, Wim should have experienced symptoms such as nausea, migraines, vomiting, & diarrhea.
After being injected, Wim began his breathing exercise. Just like in the blood sample, his pro-inflammatory cytokines were halved and his white blood cell count doubled. To top it off, Wim reported almost no symptoms; just a slight headache.
To take this study one step further, Wim trained a group of 18 volunteers to learn his method over 4 days. Out of the 18, 12 were randomly selected to be a part of the same endotoxin experiment. The control group were 12 volunteers with no Wim Hof Method training.
The results of the group of people that Wim trained were the same as Wim's; a 100% success rate. The control group with no training was not so fortunate. They experienced all of the symptoms, and their blood samples showed the high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
In conclusion, this study showed that through practicing the WHM, anybody can tap into & influence their immune system by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing white blood cell counts.
Basically, you feel less terrible when you're sick, and you get better faster.
Watch the video below to see the full study:
How The WHM Could Help with Coronavirus
Let's put together everything we've learned so far with a nice little bow on top.
Coronavirus triggers a massive pro-inflammatory cytokine release. This weakens the respiratory system's defense mechanisms, which allows other, usually less lethal diseases, to take hold.
The Wim Hof Method has been scientifically proven to reduce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines while at the same time increasing white blood cell counts.
With the current knowledge that we have about COVID-19 and the Wim Hof Method, it makes logical sense that practicing the WHM can strengthen your immune system to more swiftly recognize & eliminate Coronavirus if it enters your body while reducing the risk of mortality.
A fellow WHM Instructor Jesse Coomer said it wonderfully: (Paraphrased)
Using the WHM to train your immune system is similar to weight training to increase bone density. Although increasing your bone density doesn't guarantee that you will never break a bone again, it does decrease your chances of it happening.
The same goes with WHM and your immune system. It won't guarantee that you won't get sick again, but it greatly reduces your chances, and does speed up the recovery time.
You can watch the full video from Jesse here:
The "Hoffice" sent out an email to all instructors saying to keep on pushing with Workshops. I for one think it's an absolutely fantastic idea. Now more than ever we need to take control of our minds, bodies, and lives to continue to be healthy, happy & strong.
In response to this, I've reduced the prices of all Wim Hof Fundamentals Workshops I'll be leading in Connecticut & Las Vegas as well as opened more spaces for each workshop.
Click Here for tickets to the Durham, CT Workshops
Click Here for tickets to the Las Vegas Workshop
I'd like to end this with saying that the biggest threat to your immune system is stress.
The only thing we have to seriously worry about spreading is fear.
If we all come together and take care of ourselves, we can blast past Coronavirus and any other challenge that life presents us.
HOO! HAH! HOO! HAH!
"Yoga Dan" Jacobs
Certified WHM Instructor
Like to learn more about the WHM & your immune system?
Click Here to be taken to the official Wim Hof Method website for more information.