THE COGNITIVE, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF WIM HOF’S BREATHING METHOD: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

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THE COGNITIVE, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF WIM HOF’S BREATHING METHOD: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

DISCUSSION

The purpose of this study was to explore how WHBM alters cognitive, psychological, and physical states. Collectively, these qualitative variables have the ability to alter an individual's conscious awareness. Additionally, this study crowd-sourced ideas for future researchers interested in studying the translational applications of WHBM. Ten participants (n = 10) were recruited for this empirical pilot study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: WHBM group or PBI group. Both groups followed an identical experimental protocol with the exception of the video to which they were assigned. The WHBM group was assigned to a guided Wim Hof breathing video (Youtube, W. Hof, 2019) and the control group was assigned to a slow-paced breathing video with subtle background music (Youtube, K. Jacobowski, 2020). Both videos were approximately the same duration (~10 minutes).

WIM HOF BREATHING METHOD: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY

The biggest conclusion of this pilot study was that WHBM appears to induce a heightened sense of conscious awareness compared to the slow-paced rhythmic breathing presented to the PBI control group. Stated another way, participants in the WHBM reported feeling more cognitively aware of their thoughts and physical sensations relative to the PBI control group. This finding is in line with the original hypothesis that WHBM would increase conscious awareness. Interestingly, the PBI control group reported higher levels of emotional shifts as a result of their assigned breathing video. This conclusion ties back to the research discussed earlier in this paper in the section titled Breathing Patterns and Emotions which states that emotions and breathing patterns are intimately intertwined.

 

Here for the first time, I conclude that WHBM could be used in situations where an individual would like to deepen their awareness. Examples of these situations may include, prior to a test or exam, prior to meditation, and prior to exercise. Additionally, the data from this study supports the idea that WHBM has translational utility as an emotion-distancing strategy due to the fact that it can deepen awareness of one’s internal landscape. WHBM may help an individual to separate emotions and facts from any given unpleasant situation they may be experiencing.

Furthermore, the results from this study remain uncertain as to the large-scale potential for WHBM to induce states of awe. However, it was confirmed that the control breathing video was not sufficient to induce awe. Lastly, neither breathing intervention produced altered states sufficient to induce visual hallucinations.

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