Most people are familiar with the world-famous Wim Hof, “The Iceman”. His method, the Wim Hof Method, is showing healing abilities in the most surprising ways. I met Wim Hof in 2021, and in an interview, he shared his interesting and uplifting vision on ADHD with me. The WHM might offer a solution for Wandering Minds like us, because some of the important benefits of this method are improved concentration and focus. Also, it offers deep relaxation, something that is usually hard for Wandering Minds.
What can the Wim Hof Method do for Wandering Minds, like people with ADHD? How can we improve our focus and concentration using this method? And what does Wim Hof himself has to say about ADHD? You'll read it here!
Meeting Wim Hof in 2021
In February 2021 I had the pleasure of meeting Wim Hof at his house. When he gave me a hug and started talking (in a very ‘ADHD way' ;-)), I immediately felt the deep wisdom, knowledge and natural power that lies within him. Our conversation lasted for about two hours, and while being interrupted a few times by the BBC and a few documentary makers, I learned a lot about his method en vision.
After the interview, we jumped off his rock in ice-cold water. An amazing experience! After the ice bath, we did some physical exercises and later continued our conversation in the sauna. We talked about his method, ADHD, depression, concentration, happiness, mindset, health, the immune system and other interesting topics. Not only he shared inspiration, knowledge and wisdom, but he also made hilarious statements and shared his vision on ADHD.
Wim Hofs' vision on ADHD
I met Wim Hof through Luke (pseudonym); a friend of Wim who has suffered from depression and is also diagnosed with ADHD. They've known each other for years, and Luke once braved a high mountain in Poland, untrained in swimming trunks, to combat his depression. Luke benefits a lot from the WHM. Not only did the ice baths and breathing exercises help him to manage his ADHD symptoms and symptoms of Lyme disease, but he also climbed out of his deep depression, applying this method.
In between Luke telling his story, Wim shared his vision on ADHD. Children and adults with ADHD are sensitive and this can be difficult living in our society, but they have enormous potential, according to Wim, who possibly also deals with ADHD-symptoms.
“People with ADHD are just sensitive and that's why they have to endure it. It is an effect of society. But as soon as these people come out of the darkness, they shoot up like tall pine trees. They are told throughout their lives, ‘you are a small plant, you must be kept small'. But when they find their strength, they grow enormously, above anything else”Wim Hof
What is the Wim Hof Method?
In summary, the Wim Hof Method is a practical way to become happier, healthier and stronger. This method, of which many positive results have been scientifically proven, consists of 3 components, namely (1) breathing exercises, (2) cold training and (3) focus/mindset.
We can use the cold training to burn fat (lose weight), strengthen our immune system, sleep better and reduce inflammation. With breathing exercises we improve our energy level & concentration, we detoxify our body, we lower our stress level, and we bring the nervous system back into balance. This gives our immune system a huge boost, but also our mind. But if we want to take control of our own body, we need dedication and focus; we have to have the right mindset. If we want to unleash our inner power, it is also essential to step out of our comfort zone. Read more about this on the Wim Hof website.
The advantages of the Wim Hof Method for ADHD and more
The Wim Hof Method offers a wide range of physical and mental benefits. The benefits described on Wim Hof's website have been scientifically researched. But, as described on Wim Hof's website; every human body is different and if you have specific and/or serious medical problems, it is highly recommended to contact a healthcare professional.
Physical benefits of the WHM:
- Improves energy level
- Works anti-inflammatory
- Increases sports performance
- Strengthens our immune system
- Makes us sleep better
- Faster recovery after exercise
In addition, the Wim Hof Method offers positive effects in specific conditions such as autoimmune diseases, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, COPD, migraine MS, asthma, high blood pressure, metabolic problems and stress (or burnout).
Mental benefits of the WHM:
- Improves our psychological well-being
- Relieves Stress
- Helps with burnout recovery
- Relieves Depression
- Improves our ability to concentrate
- Strengthens connection between body and mind
Wim Hof Method & ADHD
Maybe it's a coincidence, but I meet more and more people who have ADHD and apply the Wim Hof Method. Whether it's the breathing exercises or the cold shower: it seems that this method has a positive effect on our brain. What has been established knowledge is that exposure to cold increases norepinephrine. Because children and adults with ADHD are usually deficient in norepinephrine, this may be helpful. But also for people struggling with depression, a “natural norepinephrine shot” (through cold) is beneficial (Reference: Parnassia).
Wim Hof Method for more focus and concentration
It's not just the cold that can help us manage our ADHD symptoms; we can also achieve a lot with correct breathing. The link between the quality of our breathing and our ability to concentrate has been demonstrated several times. While doing the Wim Hof breathing exercises, we breathe very deeply. Breathing deeply gives our body more oxygen, making us feel mentally clearer. Because one of the most obvious symptoms of ADHD is a lack of concentration, it is extra important for us to breathe properly. When we breathe better, our brains get more oxygen and our concentration improves. A good reason to apply the Wim Hof Method as an adult with ADHD.
Calm and energy with the Wim Hof method
Some people with ADHD indicate that the Wim Hof breathing exercises provide daily rest, focus and energy. The cold training gives us energy and alertness. Other positive effects of the WHM are more control over our emotions and more energy, while also feeling calm (in body and mind). These are all effects of the Wim Hof Method that are very beneficial for people with ADHD.
The three pillars of the Wim Hof Method
As mentioned earlier, the Wim Hof Method consists of three pillars: breathing, cold training and mindset. But why are these pillars important? What can the breathing, cold and the right mindset mean for your body and mind? And how does this work in our body?
1. Wim Hof breathing exercises
With the Wim Hof breathing exercises (or other breathing exercises) influence our autonomic nervous system. In short, with the Wim Hof breathing, we train switching between our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. In other words; we learn to switch between stress and relaxation. Breathing deeply for a short time and then holding our breath releases a small amount of stress and then allows us to relax deeply. Breathing exercises provide comfort, relaxation, pleasure, vitality and alertness thanks to the training of our autonomic nervous system. In addition, it helps us manage annoying symptoms such as anxiety, depression and anger, research has shown (reference: NCBI).
2. The benefits of taking a cold shower
Having a cold shower has many benefits. Usually we notice the benefits right away after taking the cold shower. A cold shower not only makes us more alert, but it also improves our immune system, relieves stress, helps us lose weight and relieves depression. Some people only use the cold tap while taking their daily shower, but taking a cold shower after a hot shower is also an option.
3. Mindset and focus training
Are you aware of the enormous power of our mind? Our thoughts have a huge impact on how we feel, and they influence our life (emotions and behavior). When we understand what our mind is capable of, we can use the power of our mind to take control of our body, emotions, and reactions. Focus training is therefore an important part of the Wim Hof Method.
Are you diagnosed with ADHD and suffer from concentration problems? Then focus training is essential!
Wim Hof has shown that he can achieve extraordinary things by controlling his mind and thereby directing his body. During several experiments in which he exposed his body to cold, he showed that he is able to regulate the temperature of his body using breathing exercises and the power of his mind. “Everyone can take control of their body by using the same principles,” Wim says.
Try the Wim Hof breathing exercise yourself!
Wim Hof experiences
Are you diagnosed with ADHD and have experience with the Wim Hof Method? We are very curious about what the method means or has meant for you. Below, we will share some experiences. But we'd love it if you share yours in the comments below this article.
Some experiences with the Wim Hof Method from our readers and followers on the socials:
What a beautiful story! I myself have been practicing the Wim Hof Method since the end of May. I do cold training every week. Also, I apply the breathing exercise daily via the WHM app. I feel very good about it! One of the most remarkable effects is that I have been eating less (unhealthy) lately, because I can suppress appetite better. In addition, the breathing exercise simply gives a wonderful feeling.Comment on the Wandering Minds Instagram
I have made the Wim Hof Method part of my life….conscious breathing…. I hardly suffer from hay fever anymore…. shortness of breath…. But the hyperventilation and stress have also disappeared. I am also increasingly able to deal with my ADHD….. My environment also sees a difference, and I function a lot better at work.
Some comments about Wim Hof Method on Reddit
I've begun with taking cold showers, cold showers are the only one I'm allowed to take. Great for reinforcing dicipline, great for physical health, great for self-control and great for calming the body.
For me personally, whm has been tremendous help with my adhd, when i started doing whm i stopped using adhd medication and whm was definitely More helpful and healthier option.
Same here, stopped taking adhd meds after 10 years with WHM. Still struggle with it sometimes but its much more manageable. I dont know which has helped more cold exposure or breathing (I do more cold exposure than breathing just because I take a shower every day.) That being said I believe both help a measurable amount.Reference: Reddit
My experience with the Wim Hof Method
Years ago, before Wim Hof became world-famous, I came into contact with the WHM. A British backpacker told me how he got a grip on his depression thanks to cold showers. I myself have not (had) suffered from depression, but I did find it interesting. The cold shower was something I wanted to try. So in the morning, I started with a warm shower, but at the end I turned off the hot tap and stayed under the cold shower. The first thing I noticed was the energy boost it gave me. Throughout the day, I had much more energy. I also felt more alert and at the same time calmer inside.
I have also been doing breathing exercises for years, but the Wim Hof breathing was ‘next level' for me. The first time I did the breathing exercises via the Wim Hof Method app, I could hold my breath for more than 3 minutes. I didn't even know that was possible! I felt a deep sense of peace inside, and I could feel my blood running through my body. The experience was amazing.
Doing breathing exercises regularly are essential for my Wandering Mind. If I don't breathe properly, I notice that I lose energy, concentration and focus. The Wim Hof breathing exercises help me to relax and at the same time gain new energy. In addition, I feel less easily overstimulated when I do breathing exercises.
What is your experience with the Wim Hof Method?
We are very curious about your experience with the Wim Hof Method. Do you have experience with cold showers, breathing exercises or focus training? Let us know in the comments!
Starting with the Wim Hof Method: Take your first online WHM mini class .
What's more? A Huberman Lab podcast
If you would like to learn more about your ADHD-mind and find ways to manage your symptoms naturally, you can find a lot of information on this website. The podcast below, by the Huberman Lab, might also be interesting for you. Andrew Huberman is a Professor of Neurobiology at the Stanford School of Medicine, and in his podcast, he offers science based tools for everyday life.
In this episode about ADHD, he discusses the common myths, the biology and the psychology of ADHD. Some of the topics:
- Behavioral and pharmacologic treatments
- Brain-machine interface tools
- The role of dopamine
- Natural supplements
- The role of diet for managing ADHD
- The role of cell phones and other technology
He covers the science as well as applicable tools and recourses for adults with ADHD and parents. Let us know what you think in the comments!