Wim Hof Method. Regulate your own autonomic nervous system. (No Woo Woo)

Merida

Well-Known Member
@Paw Wow. How I admire your continued in depth search. Yes, I know the 'try to breathe' comment from Grandmaster Zhou is very important and relevant, but I have been unable to figure this out. I think you are on to something important. Are you working directly with Master Jou for your Tai Chi ? I have a hiatal hernia, and think this must absolutely affect the diaphram and breathing. Perhaps the methods you describe would help the hernia as well ?? And maybe help balance the sacrum/pelvis complex ??

I have spent one year with a very gifted massage healer from the Philippines - each week. Wow. She knows where the problems are and works on those areas. Great myofascial release techniques. Works out all the locked muscles. But, I am still so fatigued that I just fight my way through each day. Had a broken crown recently and the dental work has increased the fatigue and weakness, started headaches and lots of ear ringing. Still think this monster we deal with is structural, with a viral overlay in some or many.

I wish I had something more to contribute. I would love to read in the ( near) future that you are now well. And may it be so. Big hugs from me.
 
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Paw

Well-Known Member
Bless you Merida. No, no, I'm just reading Master Jou's old book, but I've been practicing tai chi for 35 years, so I'm able to put some of what he teaches to the test. And I wanted to share this one little nugget early because it's already changed my perspective on breathing a lot in just a few weeks -- mostly by simply focusing on core muscles instead of air.

Who knows how it will affect my systemic illness in the long run, but I've been aware of my chronic bad breathing for ages, so I'm glad to have a new handle on it. Also, since most of us are in a holding pattern when it comes to science, I figured this was a good time to start trying to understand qi better. Even though my tai chi strength and balance is pitiful compared to some years ago, I feel I've been experiencing qi's flow in a non-abstract, conscious way for the first time ever.

But qi, like any energy, needs to be continuously replenished (reportedly). And, unfortunately, working with it doesn't give me a free pass from PEM (at least not yet). I can imagine a day when I'll learn how to send it to all those far-flung nerves and organs and synapses on healing missions. Baby steps first. Qi should be like a swirling ocean in the dantian. To say that mine has felt more like a stagnant swamp seems to be stating the obvious.

I'm jealous about your massage healer. I too have a hernia, but it's not a big deal. I think you could easily try some gentle, pleasant, breathing work with the abdominal muscles leading the way. I find myself usually doing the reverse breathing, because it always makes me feel more powerful, and it comes pretty easily. But Master Jou says if reverse breathing is hard to do without straining, just do a normal pattern with the abs leading the way, and eventually it'll become unconscious and normal, with vibrant qi swirling inside and out!
 

TJ_Fitz

Well-Known Member
I remembered why I didn't take cold showers without a warmup after.. my back locked up and I could hardly walk for a while. Could hardly even clean the hard to reach places because I couldn't bend over to reach. I have a torn vertebra at L4/5 and when it locks my back, it's not pretty.
Yeah, that would probably be me, too.

I love it. I know somebody else who tried it and it was helpful. Her ability to do pushups went WAY UP.

I actually have 45 free passes to his program - I asked them for them and they agreed - I want to do some sort of kind of lax study with it.
@Cort, do you still have any of the passes? Are you willing to share?

So if cold showers in the morning stoke up your SNS for the day, if stands to reason that warm/hot showers in the evening activate your PSNS for the night.
 
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Merida

Well-Known Member
Bless you Merida. No, no, I'm just reading Master Jou's old book, but I've been practicing tai chi for 35 years, so I'm able to put some of what he teaches to the test. And I wanted to share this one little nugget early because it's already changed my perspective on breathing a lot in just a few weeks -- mostly by simply focusing on core muscles instead of air.

Who knows how it will affect my systemic illness in the long run, but I've been aware of my chronic bad breathing for ages, so I'm glad to have a new handle on it. Also, since most of us are in a holding pattern when it comes to science, I figured this was a good time to start trying to understand qi better. Even though my tai chi strength and balance is pitiful compared to some years ago, I feel I've been experiencing qi's flow in a non-abstract, conscious way for the first time ever.

But qi, like any energy, needs to be continuously replenished (reportedly). And, unfortunately, working with it doesn't give me a free pass from PEM (at least not yet). I can imagine a day when I'll learn how to send it to all those far-flung nerves and organs and synapses on healing missions. Baby steps first. Qi should be like a swirling ocean in the dantian. To say that mine has felt more like a stagnant swamp seems to be stating the obvious.

I'm jealous about your massage healer. I too have a hernia, but it's not a big deal. I think you could easily try some gentle, pleasant, breathing work with the abdominal muscles leading the way. I find myself usually doing the reverse breathing, because it always makes me feel more powerful, and it comes pretty easily. But Master Jou says if reverse breathing is hard to do without straining, just do a normal pattern with the abs leading the way, and eventually it'll become unconscious and normal, with vibrant qi swirling inside and out!
@Paw, This is all very interesting to me. And it sounds like you are really 'getting it." I also work with another person, traditional osteopath, Chinese, but not doing traditional osteopath stuff. He does all energy work - out of a Taoist Qi Gong tradition - I think. He just holds my head, neck, or pelvis and things happen. Like : quivering all over, limbs jumping. Geez. He told me after the first session ( where my body barely stopped moving !) that a lot of energy came off. Hmmm.

Also I had a vision while being worked on. The room was filled with many people - Chinese, with brocaded robes. And they all started laughing. Then I started laughing - thinking oh no, Dr. T. is going to think I am a lunatic. I asked Dr. T. at end of session if he heard the people laughing. No, he didn't. But on the drive home it came to me - the laughing people were showing me the point of joy in my soul. Pretty crazy. So I have been working with him for almost 3 years, once a month. Always interesting. But still, terrible fatigue, unregulated blood pressure, severe sweating episodes - sometimes when I roll over and change position ( like Chiari people) and so on.

I also have an amazing ( Chinese, of course) acupuncturist. He may have saved my life when my GI function just stopped. I have a long redundant colon with twists and kinks. ( Two surgeons recommended removal of my sigmoid colon. Yikes. ) Dr. G. is wonderful - was a orthopedic surgeon in China - did neck surgeries for 10 years and did not like the results of surgery - returned to ancient Chinese medicine. He also knows QiGong and the great Grandmaster Zhou in South El Monte who told me to 'Try to breathe." Still not well. He can do amazing things but can not fix this fatigue.

So, in summary, I have often thought that there must be something that I MUST DO. And I think the ancient Chinese medical ideas may be key to regaining health - even in complex cases. So, I think you are on to something. Don't give up, and please keep me updated. I bet your intuition and 'insight' will also be enhanced. Hmmm. We have worked so hard to get well. What has been blocking us ???

Thank you for the kind thoughts and blessings. They always help. And I send more healing thoughts and wishes back to you.
 

dejurgen

Well-Known Member
So if cold showers in the morning stoke up your SNS for the day, if stands to reason that warm/hot showers in the evening activate your PSNS for the night.
For me, warm/hot showers and even worse warm/hot baths in the evening provoke muscle pain / ?inflammation? (I have ME and FM). I do fall often easier asleep after a warm bath but sleep quality and recovery is worse. Late in the night it often triggers nightmares and night sweats for me.

It's different but still a bit similar to drinking alcohol before going to bed: I fall easier asleep but sleep quality and recovery is worse. It may not be that surprising that a warm bath makes my sleep quality worse: the body has a natural tendency to decrease body temperature at night. Taking a warm bad before going to bed does the opposite.

If one has hypothermia then maybe taking a slightly warm shower may improve blood flow. My experience with "self heating" as in allowing your body to be able to better heat itself are better then with applying a lot of heat to my body. After taking a fresh-ish shower in the evening I tend to have better nights, but it might affect the ability to fall asleep quickly.

I think two things make the fresh-ish shower work for me. One is that it enables my body to better reach the body temperature it wishes to set. If its too low, the better blood flow enables it to raise it. If it's too high, the slightly cold water takes away some heat and the body sees no need to heat itself extra. The other thing is, by taking heat away it enables the body to fuel up the PPP pathway for producing NADPH and recycling glutathion without reaching a too high body temperature.

In the evening a bit more moderation is required then in the morning. So I don't shower as long or as fresh or with the tap open that much compared to the morning. Second important thing is that it requires a sufficiently functioning blood flow so that your body can heat itself up when desired. That is often a problem for ME patients. I think a good test is seeing if your body can warm up itself in the morning if you take fresh showers. If not, starting very small does help too. If you tend to take too hot showers then you can decrease temperature to "optimal" and have a double benefit: less inflammatory reactions each time you shower and gradual improvement of your blood flow shifting you (very) slowly towards better tolerating fresher showers.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
For me, warm/hot showers and even worse warm/hot baths in the evening provoke muscle pain / ?inflammation? (I have ME and FM). I do fall often easier asleep after a warm bath but sleep quality and recovery is worse. Late in the night it often triggers nightmares and night sweats for me.

It's different but still a bit similar to drinking alcohol before going to bed: I fall easier asleep but sleep quality and recovery is worse. It may not be that surprising that a warm bath makes my sleep quality worse: the body has a natural tendency to decrease body temperature at night. Taking a warm bad before going to bed does the opposite.

If one has hypothermia then maybe taking a slightly warm shower may improve blood flow. My experience with "self heating" as in allowing your body to be able to better heat itself are better then with applying a lot of heat to my body. After taking a fresh-ish shower in the evening I tend to have better nights, but it might affect the ability to fall asleep quickly.

I think two things make the fresh-ish shower work for me. One is that it enables my body to better reach the body temperature it wishes to set. If its too low, the better blood flow enables it to raise it. If it's too high, the slightly cold water takes away some heat and the body sees no need to heat itself extra. The other thing is, by taking heat away it enables the body to fuel up the PPP pathway for producing NADPH and recycling glutathion without reaching a too high body temperature.

In the evening a bit more moderation is required then in the morning. So I don't shower as long or as fresh or with the tap open that much compared to the morning. Second important thing is that it requires a sufficiently functioning blood flow so that your body can heat itself up when desired. That is often a problem for ME patients. I think a good test is seeing if your body can warm up itself in the morning if you take fresh showers. If not, starting very small does help too. If you tend to take too hot showers then you can decrease temperature to "optimal" and have a double benefit: less inflammatory reactions each time you shower and gradual improvement of your blood flow shifting you (very) slowly towards better tolerating fresher showers.
Interesting.

I'm now pretty sure that doing the warm /cool thing with showers causes more problems for me than just jumping into the showers cold. Something about that transition. I definitely feel more energized after a cold shower than after a warm one

I still think that showers cause me more fatigue though.
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
I think the ancient Chinese medical ideas may be key to regaining health - even in complex cases.
Merida, I'm open to this too -- even though it probably wouldn't be rational to imagine Eastern approaches will magically cure everything and anything. In my case, even if it's too-little-too-late, it's been empowering to feel that there's something tangible and proactive I can regularly do to improve quality of life regardless of whether it's key to overcoming this disease or not.

If the goal is flowing energy -- feeling flow, joining flow, creating flow -- tai chi is a brilliant tool because it invites the body to participate in a well-tuned expression of expansion and contraction. Expansion/contraction may be practiced in a vacuum, but performing a form makes it much easier to actually see how the flow behaves in action. Reminds me of how a pianist might tap into Chopin's flow by allowing the body to participate in the brilliant dynamics that Chopin outlined centuries ago.

A friend of mine first exposed me to qigong 30 years or so ago (I went to one of her classes as a guest). I wasn't drawn in because it seemed less pleasant than tai chi. Now I realize qigong is a fundamental component of tai chi (and many other things) -- maybe sort of how the ability to listen is fundamental to music.

A couple of years before I got systemically sick, I had an experience with a reiki practitioner-in-training that reminds me of your experience with your traditionalist osteopath. There was no physical contact, but, with immense concentration, he hovered his hands very close to my body, taking almost a full hour to work his way around. All during the first half, from head to toes down the left side, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. And then, as soon as he started working his way back up the right side, I became very light and giggly -- as if he'd turned a switch. Hard to say for sure what was going on, but I remember feeling it wasn't really psychological, as much as he seemed to be stirring pools of ancient energy (or something like that).

Anyway, now that I'm getting clearer glimpses of how to work on this stuff, I certainly would appreciate help from practitioners. I've resisted acupuncture, not because I doubt it, but because I never know who to trust. Maybe we can gradually build up enough confidence in our own innate abilities that we'll approach practitioners more as collaborators in a conscious process, rather than as mythical, mystical healers who we just blindly expect to make us better.

Have you asked any of your traditionalists for specific simple exercises you can practice on your own? I'll try to keep y'all posted with my reverse-breathing progress.
 

TJ_Fitz

Well-Known Member
I'm now pretty sure that doing the warm/cool thing with showers causes more problems for me than just jumping into the showers cold. Something about that transition. I definitely feel more energized after a cold shower than after a warm one.

I still think that showers cause me more fatigue though.
I haven't tried straight cold showers yet. I've just gradually turned it down to a cooler temperature, and I find that refreshing. I haven't tried the breathing practice yet.

My worry about a shockingly cold shower is that I'll get a short jolt of stress energy, but will then come down quickly and feel even worse after -- sort of an adrenaline hangover. The cold shower is basically shocking the SNS to respond suddenly and powerfully, which sends the signal to the HPA axis to secrete cortisol and adrenaline, which heats you up but taxes your organ reserves to do it. If your organ reserves are high and your problem is just an imbalanced ANS, it could work well, but I haven't been consistently sleeping well for a very long time, so my reserves of energy are probably somewhat depleted.
 

dejurgen

Well-Known Member
My worry about a shockingly cold shower is that I'll get a short jolt of stress energy
I can imagine it is not for everyone. It seems certain conditions need to be met first.

One IMO is having a sufficently functional blood circulation to start with. Another one is that the cobination of showering plus POTS or another form of OI is tough on many of us.

I agree with the
I've just gradually turned it down to a cooler temperature,
thing as that is just what I do in practice too. The cold baths were only fine / sufficiently pleasant during the heat wave this summer. If I were to do it now, I think my blood circulation wouldn't be able to warm up my body sufficently.

People who can't take a fresh sholder may try and start with a tub with lukewarm (if that is the correct translation for in between cold and hot) water and put the feet in it for let's say 5 to 10 minutes. That'll give far less problems with OI or upsetting the nervous system but may still give slow daily improvements preparing your body for upping it slowly over time.

I longtime avoided any cold or heat treatments as cold/hot/cold/hot showers were far to aggresive on my body. It caused strong inflammatory upflaires that turned into burning sensation for about a day or so if IRC. I believe that is because it messes with inflammation control as inflammation control partially depends on blood flow regulation and alternating cold/hot showers are meant stimulate to stimulate that a lot. And it takes away fewer heat in order to enable the body to self heat and generate NADPH as a side effect.

When taking somewhat colder showers, I noticed breathing during and some time after it naturally improves. So i'll get a minor part of Wim Hof's breathing techniques for free ;-). Call it Wim Hof's ultra light.
 
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TJ_Fitz

Well-Known Member
The cold baths were only fine / sufficiently pleasant during the heat wave this summer. If I were to do it now, I think my blood circulation wouldn't be able to warm up my body sufficently.
Yeah, I have a hard enough time staying warm in the winter already. The cold exposure would probably be fine for someone with well-functioned mitochondria, but for us with ME/CFS, it's just another addition to the allostatic load that could potentially cause a crash/flare.
 

Hope

Active Member
F120C40D-D402-4328-A42C-DD765D026241.jpeg
I’m one of those who benefit from cold water immersion.

I just started up again last week after a 2 month break. Had a few cold baths and then this morning had a dip in the ocean. It wasn’t too hard at all and the ocean wasn’t much colder than in spring and summer when I swim regularly. I’ll have to find the right gloves though as the cold water did hurt my hands.

My M.E. symptoms vanish for 1-3 hrs afterwards and my mood is great.

The photo is from this morning at my swimming spot. It looks a bit grim doesn’t it but it was surprisingly enjoyable. I think I might have impressed myself...
 

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Not dead yet!

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I have a hard enough time staying warm in the winter already. The cold exposure would probably be fine for someone with well-functioned mitochondria, but for us with ME/CFS, it's just another addition to the allostatic load that could potentially cause a crash/flare.
Yeah I think caution is warranted, and we should guard against making blanket declarations of effectiveness.

But it does help me a lot and it's similar to what I did as a child automatically without thinking. My mom worried that I was in the water too much, but to me, the dynamic of cold water and my body keeping heated was a pleasure all its own. I didn't think of it as a heath thing until this Wim Hof fellow pointed it out.
 

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