Category: Health & Fitness
Every now and then, I discover something that I consider a natural, magical cure-all. When I find said product, I tend to get over the top, believing everything I read on the internet about its healing capabilities. I realize how dumb that sounds, putting my faith in the World Wide Web as a source of accurate information, but nonetheless, it doesn’t stop me from doing my research and going all in.
One of my first obsessions was raw honey, one of nature’s sweetest gifts. Google the benefits of raw honey, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Honey is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and the list goes on.
Did you ever see the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? The father, Gus, claimed that Windex was a miracle drug that could be used to heal just about every ailment. Well, I was the same way with honey. If one of my kids had a wound, I would spread honey on it. If they had a cough, I gave them a spoonful of honey. If I was feeling rundown, I would drink cups of hot water, honey, and lemon juice. I even slathered a mixture of honey and lemon all over my face, convinced that it would diminish my wrinkles and give my skin a beautiful glow.
Did all that honey keep me and my family healthy? I’m not sure. It certainly didn’t harm us, but we still got sick on occasion. Eventually, my honey craze dwindled, and I moved on to something else.
The next one was garlic. Google the benefits of garlic, and like honey, it also has amazing benefits: lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of cancer, relieving the common cold, etc. So I went on a garlic binge. I’d crush it up and eat it raw, daily. If you’re wondering whether I smelled, I did. It seeped through my pores. I stunk up the car, angering my family when we were all driving together. Friends would stand far apart from me. A cloud of garlic encompassed my body, spewing fumes around everyone who got too close. None of that bothered me. Smelling like garlic all the time was the price I was willing to pay for perfect health.
Did the garlic cure work? I’m not sure. It didn’t prevent a cold from coming on, but it’s possible that it lessened the symptoms before getting worse. Just like the honey infatuation, the garlic medicine simmered down too. Of course, my friends and family were thankful.
There have been many other wizard-like cures that I’ve used over the years to keep me healthy. Every few months, I would discover a new one and “go ham” on it, until I tired of it or lost faith in its healing potential.
The latest and hands down the most challenging one is the Wim Hof method.
A Dutch extreme athlete, named Wim Hof, a.k.a. “The Iceman” developed a system to promote optimal health using three pillars: breathing exercises, cultivating your mindset through focus and concentration, and exposure to cold elements. There are dozens of videos and information on the internet about Wim and his ideology and his unbelievable feats, such as swimming under an ice glacier for an extended period or running a half-marathon, barefoot and half-dressed in the Arctic Circle.
Scientists have studied Wim, and even went so far as to inject him with a virus. His immune system fought off the illness, and he showed absolutely no symptoms. In another study, scientists experimented on a group of twenty-four healthy individuals. Half the group that had been practicing the Wim Hof Method exhibited minimal to no symptoms, while those who didn’t learn Wim’s techniques developed flu-like symptoms. (Source)
The more I learned about Wim Hof, the more I knew I needed to try it. In my mind, I thought this could be it, the real magic that would allow me to maintain ideal health.
After reading Wim Hof’s free e-book and watching a few YouTube videos, I was ready to go for it. The breathing exercises were straightforward and easy to get the hang of. The next part was immersing myself in a frigid shower.
For someone who considers herself averse to the cold, this was difficult—to say the least. I abhor the feeling of being cold, and whenever I get a chill, hot showers are nirvana to me. But I gave myself no choice. I was going to do it, excited to reap all the incredible benefits.
The first day, I could only last twenty seconds. It was torture, and I was hyperventilating under the “reign of terror” coming down from my showerhead, numbing my body.
Day two, I increased my time under the icy water to about twenty-five seconds. When I got out of the shower, my body felt tingly and energized.
Each day, I managed to last a little longer in the cold shower, and instead of breathing like a madwoman, I took deep, relaxing breaths, similar to what Wim teaches. Rather than fight the experience, I embraced it––and this made all the difference.
I’ve been practicing the Wim Hof method for a few weeks now. I feel great when it’s over—awake and invincible. Recently, I crossed the two-minute marker, and I’m determined to keep going, hoping that one day soon I’ll be able to make it to five, maybe even ten minutes. And when I do, watch out Wim Hof––Ice Lady Lori will be making her mark on the world.
Of all the wacky things I’ve tried over the years to achieve optimal health, this one is definitely in a category of its own. The Wim Hof method requires that I learn how to master my mind, to face a fear (of being cold!), to practice commitment, and to challenge myself by doing something that makes me uncomfortable.
I could quit anytime. Nobody is making me get into those cold showers or do the breathing exercises. I only have myself to answer to—and if I can do this, I can do so much more, tackle experiences I never thought possible.
I’m not sure if the Wim Hof Method is the magic answer that I’m always seeking, but what I do know is that it’s forcing me to gain mental strength. At the end of the day, your mind and your thoughts are everything––dictating what you can and can’t do. Once I’ve learned to master this new skill, I’ll get the bonus of gaining control of how I think, and then, I’ll carry this powerful belief inside me that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to.
I challenge you, my readers, to do the same—to face a fear or to learn how to overcome something you always thought you hated. When you make the decision to tackle your perceived limitations, I guarantee the reward will far outweigh the difficulty.