So, I have an admission to make. Lately I’ve turned into a bit of a podcast junkie. Is there a name for that? A podhead? Anyway, there are about eight podcasts that I subscribe to. And I usually listen to two or three a day. On yesterday’s The Good Life Project (hosted by Jeff Fields), a guy named Wim Hof was on the show. He has a few different nicknames – The Human Popsicle and Iceman are two of them – and he’s been able to accomplish ridiculous feats. He holds something like twenty world records.
But what hooked me into what he was saying was his claim that his method can reduce stress and completely cure auto immune diseases and inflammation. For the past ten years or so, I have been suffering from psoriatic arthritis. This is very similar to rheumatoid arthritis but it affects the skin as well as the joints. For me, it mostly just affects my joints.
When I was first diagnosed it was difficult to stop the swelling and the pain. But eventually I was put on a drug called Remicaid and that worked wonders. However, that medicine is what is known as a “biologic”. So, it changes the make-up of the body and it also drastically raises the chances of cancer. Not good. But better than living in pain and having my joints destroyed to the point where I would have trouble with mobility.
A little over a year ago I decided to clean-up my diet. I almost completely cut gluten out of my diet and I cleaned-up other parts of my diet as well including eating more fruits and vegetables. Then about a year ago I started working out about four times a week. This made me feel a lot better. So, I was able to go from Remicaid to another (less dangerous but still not good) drug called Otezla. This kept the pain and swelling away too. But, one of the side effects is depression and altering the mind’s thinking processes. After a few months I realized it was affecting my brain and my mood and I was immediately taken off of it and put on a drug called Sulfasalazine. It did no good for the first two months so the dose was doubled a couple weeks ago. It still hasn’t done much good.
My right thumb is swollen at the joint near my wrist, my right knee is swollen and has limited range of motion, and lately the toes on my left foot have been swelling and my left wrist is also painful. My neck also is affected and I can’t completely turn my head to either side. In short, I’m not in good shape.
Every morning I wake-up dreading those first few moments after I wake. The first few steps out of bed are tortuous and making coffee is an exercise in pain tolerance. It sucks. It really sucks. And it gets my day off to a dark start. Not to mention how always popping an ibuprofen first thing in the morning can’t be good for my liver.
So, this is why I love what Wim Hof had to say. Could it be that I can “cure” this disease just by breathing? It sounds too good to be true. But, I know that the mind and the body are much more powerful than we know. (A couple weeks ago I blogged about tapping and hoping that would work. But, though I like tapping and it does provide some measure of stress relief, I haven’t noticed any change to my arthritis.)
This morning I woke-up and took a dose of my medicine and made my coffee and then I tried the breathing technique. You can find out more about it here: Wim Hof’s site. There are three short free videos there – the breathing method, the cold method, and commitment. But, I found an awesome YouTube video with another of my favorite podcasters, Lewis House, and it shows an entire simple breathing technique. You can watch it here: Breathing Technique.
Now, it’s pretty intense. So, if you have any kind of health condition, don’t try this without consulting your doctor first. And make sure, you are seated on a couch or recliner or lying down when you do it.
I sat in my recliner (almost fully reclined) and followed the video along with Lewis House. It felt very weird at first. And I never saw anything, like Lewis says he did toward the end of the video. But, when I held my breath for a little over three minutes, it felt like less than a minute. And while I was holding my breath, my entire body was tingling and my wrists were especially tingling. Then when it was done, my senses were heightened to a crazy level. And I felt no pain for a few minutes.
But the greatest benefit I felt (and still feel now – two hours later) is that my mood was lifted. It made me feel so good. And the way I felt a few minutes afterward, was a strange high. Now, I’ve never done drugs, so I don’t know exactly what that feels like, but I wonder if it feels similar to how I felt. I am so hopeful that this breathing technique might produce amazing results. Only time will tell. But Wim Hof claims it just takes a week to see results and I am committed to doing this every morning for at least the next week.
And by the way… getting my sixteen year old off to school is always stressful. But this morning, after the breathing technique, it was no problem. And he tried to get me to let him go in late, but I stood my ground and he got up on time and made the bus. Is this a coincidence? I doubt it. The more I get into this so-called woo-woo stuff, the more I believe there is no such thing as a coincidence.
But why do more people not know about this technique? Could it be that I don’t need drugs, i just need to use the breathing technique? Could it be that simple? Well, I know logically it seems unlikely. But, I also know that big pharma would do everything in its power to not let something this simple get out. My medicine is very expensive and very profitable for doctors and especially the pharmaceutical company.
I also know that the Western world has been trained to believe in Western medicine and to be skeptical of Eastern “medicine”. But the more I learn, the more I realize that there is a lot of benefits from Eastern practices and philosophies. Meditation certainly works. Yoga is great. So, I really believe that the breathing technique will work. (I’m also going to try the cold therapy within the next couple of weeks too.) I already felt the difference in my mood. So, I believe it will help my mind. It’ll help me mentally and emotionally. But I believe it can help me physically too. But time will tell…