Cold water therapy could reduce risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes say experts

By Staff 6 Min Read

Wim Hof says his method of plunging himself into ice baths and doing regular breathing exercises where he holds his breath can helps diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease diabetes and cancer

Cold water therapy – as used by a world record holder dubbed the ‘Iceman’ – could reduce risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes, say medical experts.

The method created by Wim Hof,’ is said to reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases. ‘Iceman’ Hof holds 26 world records, most famous of which is taking the longest ice bath – which British researchers discovered the inflammation reduction with helps diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease diabetes and cancer.

More research is required to prove its physical benefits, but breathing exercises are also beneficial in addition to cold therapy.

Dr Omar Almahayni, an expert from the University of Warwick, said: “The Wim Hof method appears to have the most benefit in the stress and anti-inflammatory response categories. Inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation, can cause severe complications such as heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and inflammatory bowel disease. Therefore reducing inflammation is beneficial.”

Wim Hof’s programme is said to improve a person’s life and their connection to nature. He previously said he was in favour of the perishing method which he said had added benefits. “I believe in what I do. I want to change the world by bringing autonomy, love, happiness, strength and health to the world.”

Hof uses three ways to improve people’s lives including breathing, cold therapy and commitment. This involves taking 30 to 40 deep breaths and holding on for as long as he can before taking a recovery breath.

In addition to regular exposure to the cold, which is said to have a range of benefits, it also speeds up recovery after exercise. In the past studies have examined how Hof’s method affects the immune system and responses to stress, exercise performance and mental health. No clear conclusion, however, could be established.

Now a study published in PLOS One, looked at nine other published papers involving 200 people. Researchers analysed how people changed physically and psychologically after using the method

Changes were seen in anti-inflammatory responses which could lower the risk of diseases. Dr Almahayni said: “Our systematic review underscores the need for further investigation into the Wim Hof method’s effects on stress, inflammation, and overall health. It offers valuable insights into its potential as a complementary approach to wellness.”

The Mirror reported previously how a man diagnosed with terminal liver cancer was given the all-clear after taking inspiration from ‘Iceman’ Hof.

Marcos Jarvis, 47, started having ice baths, went vegan and took up Tai Chi to give himself the best possible chance of survival. And it all worked because Marcos is now back in good health and due to tackle a mega run in South Africa. The builder was diagnosed with terminal stage four cancer in 2019 after suffering pain while running a marathon.

He said: “After learning the Wim Hof method, I started having cold showers, taking daily ice baths and running bare-chested too. I messaged Wim to thank him for helping me beat cancer and was amazed when he got back to me.

“He was really pleased I contacted him and really happy with my progress.”

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