The Wim Hof Method is healing the world. Big words but true for thousands of people. It involves breathing techniques, gradual cold exposure, and mindset training. Wim Hof was not the first and neither cold nor breathwork are brand new practices, but he is the one who shone a flashlight on them and made them mainstream. And his mission is clear – to make people happy, strong and healthy using natural resources that are freely available to all – the air and the cold.
Pavla is originally from the Czech Republic but has been living in Malta for the past 25+ years with her Maltese husband, two children and a cat. She is a health coach, My Heroic Wellness founder and first Wim Hof Method instructor in Malta with the focus on intentional inner work. She is trained in Integrative Nutrition, Holistic health coaching, Reiki, Energy healing, Advanced Stress Management and Breathwork (WHM, SOMA). She loves sharing health & lifestyle advice, recipes, biohacking tips, meditation and breathwork.
1. What inspired you to become a Wim Hof Method Instructor, and how did you get started on this path?
In 2016, I first heard about the Wim Hof method. At the time, I worked in finance, but I had always been interested in a healthy lifestyle and personal development. One day, while driving to work, I heard Wim Hof speaking on a podcast. Although I was intrigued, I never thought it was something I could do. I was seeking comfort, not cold, and the more I avoided the cold, the more it found me. The more clothes I wore, the colder I felt. But then, I remembered Wim saying, “You can do it, too!” I decided to give it a try and started with very short cold showers in February 2018. By April, I was having my very first ice bath in Munich with Wim Hof! I knew nobody who was doing it in Malta or abroad, but I decided to sign up for the instructor’s course based on my experience. It was a year-long eye-opening and transformational process that culminated with the famous mountain climb in snowy Poland in December 2019 wearing only my beach yoga outfit. I always say I have no talent for the cold, but I am a good example of how right Wim Hof is in believing that we are all capable of achieving whatever he achieves.
2. How has practising the Wim Hof Method impacted your own health and well-being?
The Wim Hof method completely transformed me. It was like a complete reset, and I feel like my life has just started. Not only did it give me incredible energy and cold resilience, but I also have powerful tools to take on my day. It helped me become more confident and resilient to stress. By going into the cold every day, you discover your inner strength, courage, and potential. Your relationship with fear changes, even though you may still be scared at times. I am much stronger both mentally and physically, and life has become an adventure as I near my 50s. Though life isn’t always perfect, creating habits and building ways to deal with anything positively shapes who we are.
3. What are some of the benefits of cold exposure, and how does it work in conjunction with the other pillars of the Wim Hof Method®?
The benefits of cold exposure are endless, including increased metabolism, reduced inflammation, improved muscle recovery, better sleep quality and focus, and even enhanced immune response. Cold exposure also protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases and promotes the development of healthy immune cells. Combined with breathwork, these practices are potential hormetic stressors that optimize the flow of hormones, endorphins, and signaling proteins. They improve heart rate, immune system, waste removal, nutrient absorption, and oxygenation. Our bodies are designed to heal, and science supports the use of these practices to achieve optimal health.
4. What role do diet and nutrition play in the Wim Hof Method®, and how do you incorporate healthy eating into your own practice?
There is no strict diet prescription for this practice, but many practitioners combine it with intermittent fasting or a vegetarian lifestyle. The only recommendation is to do the breathing exercises on an empty stomach or at least 2 hours after eating. It’s not just what you eat that matters, but also the state you’re in when you eat. Stress can compromise digestion, and breathwork can help you enter the “rest and digest” state quickly. Planning your meals ahead will help with eating healthy food whilst reducing stress due to not needing to think about it all every day. Somebody once said, ‘every time you eat or drink you are either feeding a disease or fighting it.’ Choose wisely and don’t hesitate to reach out for help or outsource if you find it overwhelming. Services like Fortify help you stay on track by delivering nutritious & tasty meals to your doors without any hassle. As a certified health coach, I prioritize providing nutritious food in my workshops and encourage people to choose wisely what they eat and drink.
5. Can you share any success stories from clients who have practised the Wim Hof Method® and seen significant improvements in their health and well-being?
I often witness incredible transformations in those who are dedicated to their practice. It’s a privilege to guide them through the process, especially since many have tried other methods and failed. The cold is a fantastic healer and teacher, offering a simple, effective, and accessible method for those who are willing to explore. Within just two minutes, I’ve seen people release trauma, overcome difficult experiences, and reconnect with their inner strength and confidence. It’s amazing to witness the discipline, confidence, and determination it instills in people, allowing them to achieve their health and personal goals. I’ve seen people heal from autoimmune illnesses, depression, and burnout. The combination of cold exposure, meditation, and breathwork has a powerful effect on our body chemistry, making the method truly transformative.
6. Can you share some tips for beginners who are just starting to incorporate cold exposure into their daily routine?
Making a commitment is key when starting cold shower therapy. I find that having a buddy to start with or joining a challenge is helpful on days when you find it extra hard. I start slowly and gradually build up, beginning with 15-30 seconds of cold water at the end of your warm shower and increasing the time every week until you reach 2 minutes. Remember to breathe calmly through your nose and focus on your exhale.
Finding the best time for you to take a cold shower is crucial as well. Some people like it in the morning as an excellent energizer, while others prefer to take it in the afternoon or evening. It’s recommended to leave at least 60-90 minutes between the shower and bedtime if you take it in the evening.
If you want extra support, you can reach out and sign up for the next free cold shower challenge with additional tips and guidance along the way. Lastly, you can join a one-day workshop for a thorough training and a powerful experience, while being fully supported, with an optional ice bath at the end. I believe that you can do it!