One of the most common questions I get is about the Wim Hoff Method vs breathing re-training. Let me start by saying all methods and techniques have a place and have their benefits. Just like the saying, many roads lead to the same destination. I just feel it's helpful to understand the conditions each path offers to make an informed decision on what works best for you.
It is my understanding Wim Hoff aims to create discomfort in the nervous system. His theory is, we have become too comfortable and therefore, have less resilience to stress. It's kind of like exposure therapy where you expose yourself to small amounts of stress to build up a tolerance. I think of this approach as stimulating the nervous system prior to relaxing it. This is fine if you have reserve in your nervous system.
However, if you are someone who feels burnt out, living life on a hamster wheel or treadmill you can't get off of, I question if increased stress is appropriate for you? For those of us with a tendency to have a heightened sympathetic drive (yes this is my tendency too) the capacity to withstand additional stress when you're already constantly stressed seems counterproductive. Breathing Re-training is for you guys! The premise and safety precaution is comfort. This ensures whether you're hyperactive or hypoactive you obtain balance. A stressed out nervous system needs to calm down before it can tolerate more stress. I haven't seen evidence about the importance of the intentional stress component in those who are in sympathetic overdrive. The studies are relatively new about the Wim Hoff Method.
For people who are already worn out and stressed to the eye balls it makes sense to me that breathing exercises be aimed at reducing sympathetic drive and gently promoting the soothing sister rest and digest. Think about Wim's personality. He is super energetic and enthusiastic to the point of seeming a little wired at times. Do you need more of this in your life or do you need to learn how to rest?
If you would like to learn more check out page four of the breathing questionnaire, book an appointment or follow along on IG @zephyr.movement for loads of free tips about hacking your physiology and nervous system.