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Does the Wim Hof Method heal Trauma?

Aktualisiert: 3. Aug. 2023

Trauma is a disconnect from our real self and our body. We lose touch with our happiness, strength and health. Trauma healing means reconnecting to all parts of ourselves and reclaiming our true being.

The Wim Hof Method can help us big time in this process!

More Information about Trauma healing below the Video.

In this Video i speak about

01:36 Are you suffering from Trauma? What is Trauma?

10:12 Is it possible to heal Trauma?

11:11 How does the Wim Hof Method help heal Trauma?

+ Tips for the Trauma healing process

Whats the content of this text?

  • What is trauma?

  • How can the Wim Hof Method help heal trauma?

  • Which additional methods and approaches are helpful to heal trauma?

What is Trauma?

Maybe you ask yourself: Do I suffer from Trauma?

Do you feel fully connected to your self and others? Do you feel you are being fully your natural self in relationships? Do you feel connected to life? Do you feel happy, strong and healthy?

If the answer is no, I would say, there is a block of life flow, a traumatic holding pattern wich can be adressed and healed in order to restore your natural self again.

Trauma is the loss of connection, a block of life flow!

There are two major types of Traumas.

The first kind of trauma is created by our system as a reaction to a singular, shocking event. Its also known as shock trauma. In a situation that is percieved as very threatening, the body freezes and is mobilizing a lot of energy inside at the same time. Its like pressing gas and hitting the brake simultaniously. The cool thing is: We created this holding pattern as a reaction to an event. That means, we also have the power to resolve the pattern again beacuse WE CREATED IT.

The second type of trauma, which is much less recognized by the public and at the same time much more common is developmental trauma. It is trauma that is created by many events in the developmental phase of a person.

If the needs of the child are not met again and again, at one point it learns to adapt to the situation in surpressing needs and emotions and by creating an identity that will keep the relationship to the parents intact.

For example, maybe the mother communicates verbally or nonverbally that anger is not okay. What the child learns is: my anger is wrong, something with me is wrong. I have to supress this part of myself by shaming it into the shadow in order to maintain the relationship to my mother. The child does not have another choice because it relies on the relationship to the mother for survival. It supresses the emotions and additionally creates the story: “I am wrong the way I naturally am, I have to be different.“ Connected to that can be an identety structure like: ‘’I have to be the person that always helps other people before feeling my own needs“

As children in these kinds of situations, we have no other option. We have to repress our natural self in order to protect the relationship to the parent, because without this relationship, we are dead.

We create physical patterns of tension in order to hold back emotions. We create patterns of holding back certain needs. We create patterns of beliefs, identity and percieving the world. Letting go of those patterns seems to be dangerous and can be accompanied by great resistance because those patterns secured our survival at one point.

At the same time, below these patterns, there is the natural self in the depth, always waiting and trying to reconnect with us, yearning to come out of the shadow, to come home to us and to be liberated again.

Wich problems are caused by traumatic holding patterns?

As a child, creating these patterns and repressing some aspects of ourselves into the shadow was a necessary, creative and intelligent solution in order to deal with the situation.

Later in life, the same patterns can cause all kinds of problems:

  • We continue having the feeling of ‘’being wrong’’ in our natural expression and feel and think that something is wrong with us all the time. We are living with a constant combat insight between the natural impulses and the patterns holding them back.

This internal struggle causes a lot of stress that is all the time going on in the background.

  • if we surpress our natural impulses, repress emotions and needs, we are not fully present and relationships are difficult because we are not fully ourselves and there is no clear communication with others.

  • If we dont allow ourselves to feel what we like and want, its difficult to find a career path that is actually in alignment with our natural self.

  • The stuck energy from holding so much back is disturbing the flow of energy in the body and can cause physical illness.

Good news: we can heal those traumatic patterns.

We created the patterns in order to survive in childhood.

It was our deed. We had no choice but to do it. And now we have the choice to understand those patterns and let them go again.

The circumstances have changed and now is the time to adapt to the new circumstances of being a grown up person.

Neuroscientists nowadays now that the brain is able to evolve throughout the whole life. We are always able to evolve and create changes within ourselves at all times.

How can the Wim Hof Method help in healing trauma?

It all starts with the intention.

’’LETS BE HAPPY STRONG AND HEALTHY! Lets reconnect to the way nature meant it to be! We are the captain of our souls. There is much more possible than we are thinking right now!“ Wim Hof

Thats the spirit of the Wim Hof Method. This intention is crucial in the process of healing trauma patterns because we are aiming to leave the paths we are so used to and create new connections inside ourselves. In order to do that we must first have the IDEA that out there, there is MORE to discover than we know right now. And that maybe, out there we can find some real treasures, like happiness, health and strength when we let go of our old ways and trust the intelligence and healing powers of nature.

The Wim Hof Method is great for connecting us with nature because it brings us right into our physiology, wich IS nature. And as the traumatic patterns are basically creating a block, a disconnect from the self, they also create a disconnect from the body. The Wim Hof Method brings us right back into the body. In the body, the traumas are expressed as physical tension, blockage of free energy flow. When we go deep into the physiology with the Wim Hof Method, we can reconnect to those frozen parts of ourselves and allow them to breathe, move and come alive again. We bring them out of the shadow of the unconscious, home into the conscious mind where they can be processed, integrated and healed.

We have to trust the intelligence of the body

The Wim Hof Method teaches us to trust the body. When we are in the cold, the body is dealing with the situation and not our thinking brain. The same is true when we reocnnect to stuck emotions. It was the body that created some holding pattern in order to keep those emotions in the shadow, because it was not safe to feel and express them at one point. Since the body created those tensions, only the body can also release them again. Learning to trust the body in the cold helps us allowing the body to do the job when emotions come up, relax and just be there and witness the healing process unfold.

The Wim Hof Method increases our ability to change our brains!

The ability of the brain to change is called neuroplasticity. And for neuroplasticity our bodys need the hormone noradrenalin. I was blown away learning in the Huberman Lab Podcast, that the most effective way in order to create noradrenalin is.... breathwork and cold exposure... TADAA!

That means: The Wim Hof Method actually boosts ALL learning processes, because learning requires neuroplasticity. You can think of it this way: You are the gardener, the seeds of change you want to plant in yourself are new patterns of behaviour, perception or thinking. Those seeds only can grow in fertile ground. Which would be: A brain in the state of neuroplasticity. The Wim Hof Method effectively provides that by increasing the levels of noradrenalin in the system robustly, every day. It makes all the growth you wish for more effective.

We are going for it, but we also have to let go.

In the Wim Hof Method we begin with a strong intention and action! We want to feel connected, happy, and strong. Then we do the work. We breathe, we go into nature, we go into the cold. But then comes another step wich is sometimes overlooked: Letting go. And Allowing nature do its job while we are watching with compassion. In my opinion, the process of healing trauma follows a similar pattern. We set the intention. We do what we can in order to support the process. But at one point (better: at many points), we have to let go and allow the process unfold by itself.

Lets cultivate compassion

In order to start the proccess, compassion from the OUTSIDE is absolutely key. The more compassion we recieve from the outside, the better we learn how compassion actually feels like and finally give it to ourselves more and more. In my opinion, it is absolutely necessary that when we start healing trauma, to have support from the outside by other people supporting the process. Its not their job to do so much, but to be there with us in a nonjudgemental awareness, holding us with their attention and trusting into our own ability to heal ourselves.

This is also sometimes described as spaceholding, wich can be done by a Trauma Therapist, a friend or an experienced Wim Hof Instructor. Over time, I guess, Wim Hof Instructors naturally tend to become good spaceholders, because when you support people in the ice or in the breathing exercises, you have to learn to trust THEIR bodies and internal resources to deal with situations and to just be there with an open heart and a supportive presence.

Groups can destroy, and groups can heal!

What also helps for opening up is being in a safe group atmosphere. What I observe often in my workshops is that when one person lets down the armour and starts connecting to hurt parts inside, a domino effect is happening and other people in the group also start going into healing processes. I think witnessing someone opeing up in the group helps us realise: ‘’In this group we can be vulnerable and be safe at the same time’’. So that means, I can safely open up as well and be safe in this group.

In my opinion the whole process of healing trauma starts with the intention. A spaceholder (or several) and a safe group atmosphre combined with the breathing exercises create a wonderful frame for healing. But the most important aspect is the intention we bring into this frame. With the intention in the heart: ‘’I want to heal. I want to connect with my self again’’, the intelligence of the body will constantly check: ‘’can I do it now? Can i do it now? Am i safe enough right now in order to connect with hurt parts inside?“ And then, when a safe situation appears, the body will say: ‘’Intention: check. Safe space: check. Lets heal.“

The process of healing will occur by itself as we observe it happening with compassion. We can not achive healing. We can only allow healing.

There are two ways of approaching traumatic patterns: The first way is bottom up. We bring more connection to the physiology and compassionately feel and process our emotional pain that is stored in a tensed body.

The second way to approach the traumatic patterns is top-down. That means, we learn and understand the conceptual ideas behind the patterns. We learn about the logic behind it all, how our traumatic patterns make sense and why we had to create them. By learning about these aspects of the patterns, we also allow the mental aspects of the traumas to unwind. I think, there is not only contractions in the body, but also contractions in the mind. That means, we are holding on to certain ideas or concepts about ourselves and the world. I think the physical reconnection is important, but we also need to address our mental holding patterns in order to become a connected and whole person again.

As the Wim Hof Method is an awesome tool for the physical aspect, I think the traumatherapeutic NARM approach is super helpful for gaining a deeper understanding about the whole phenomenon of trauma and how to heal all aspects of ourselves. In my opinion, the NARM approach is a logical enhancement to the Wim Hof Method and they both integrate wonderfully.

The Wim Hof Method and NARM agree: Our natural state is healthy. Lets reconnect and come back alive again.

I think those two approaches work wonderfully hand in hand.

I am still a very fresh student of the NARM approach, which points out several ‘’survival styles’’, each of them is created as a reaction to specific challenges a child can confront. Each survival style comes with a set of beliefs about our idendity and the world.

Some examples for mental holding patterns are: ‘’I should not be as I am.“ ‘’I dont deserve connection’’ ‘’My needs are wrong’’, ‘’My desicions are only right as long as I dont dissappoint anybody. “ or „I need to perform well in order to be worthy of love.“

We created those mental patterns, like the patterns of holding back emotions, in order to find a way to maintain the relationship with our parents. We can not get those patterns out of us by attacking them and shaming them. They will only hold on tighter, because their reason of being is very urgent: they try to protect us.

The only way to allow those patterns to relax is to approach them with compassion and understanding.
‘’I understand what you are doing there. There is nothing wrong with you. You make sense. I get you.“

Those are the messages that we did NOT recieve when we were a kid and when we would have needed to hear and feel them. If we can give these messages now to our selves, the patterns holding on to past hurt have the chance finally let go, because we, the grown ups, are now here to take care of the situation.

Lets cultivate agency

When we bring more compassion to the deeper meaning to our traumatic patterns, we also lighten up the awareness for the fact that we created them and we are the ones keeping those patterns still alive nowadays. This means, taking agency and connecting to the truth, that today we dont need to repress our natural self in order to protect the relationship to our parents anymore. Now, that we are grown up, we can tell ourselves: We will be fine being our true selves. It is now safe to cross that red line (being our true selves). We will be fine and we can deal with the consequences. We are now in charge of the situation.

Here the Ice Bathing of the Wim Hof Method comes in super handy. Because in the ice we are developing and strengthening the part of ourselves wich is able to hold intensity.

When we actually step into our true self maybe the hurt parts of ourselves will ring the alarm bell and tell us ‘’dont do this its dangerous“!!!

Due to the ice training, when that happens we can connect to the part of us that can hold intensity, breathe, and tell ourselves. Darling, everything is ok. We are safe right now. We will be fine. I got this.

Happiness, strength and health are already there, living inside of us, just waiting to connect with us. What we do with the work of trauma healing is that we look at the blockages of the natural flow of life. If we are able to reconnect to those blockages, feel them trough and allow them to heal and relax, the natural energy flow of happiness, strength and health will be re-established and we will be whole again.

The Process of Trauma healing is in my opinion the process of reclaiming our true selves, integrate all parts of our selves and live our authentic lives : Happy, Strong, Healthy.
Lets do this together.

Resources about the Wim Hof Method:

Resources about NARM and Trauma Healing:

More of my content:

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