Wim Hof for Crohn’s disease (What’s the research says) [2022]

The Wim Hof Method has been around for quite a few years now, but has gone pretty mainstream in 2022, with Fear The Freeze – basically a TV series all about Wim Hof and his method – airing on the BBC.

The method is said to be set on 3 pillars:

  • Breathing
  • Cold Exposure
  • Commitment
wim hof
Wim Hof Breathing – Breath in as powerfully as you can 30 times & then hold your breath. Repeat 3 times. Then jump in a cold shower

There is a list of the specific scientific studies on Wim and his method on the official website here.

Cold exposure and ice baths certainly seems to have an impact on the immune system.

A quick search on PubMed for example, results in several studies linking cold exposure to reduced inflammation and to changes in immune function

In direct relation to Crohn’s, in Scott Carney’s book about the Wim Hof Method, he writes about a man with Crohn’s, who started with hundreds of lesions in his intestines and mouth, and his pooping blood – after using the wim hof Method, he goes back to the doctors for a check up and finds all the lesions are gone. He used cold exposure every day.

Wim Hof Method & The Autonomic Nervous System

Other research, shows that Wim, is able to “influence” his autonomic nervous system – something that scientists didn’t think was possible.

With the autonomic nervous system, confirmed as a pivotal variable/issue in Chron’s, it seems feasible that the Wim Hof Method could have some impact on the condition:

“We conclude that autonomic nerve dysfunction is a feature of Crohn’s disease which may be relevant with regard to the frequent disturbance in bowel function in patients with this disorder.”

Quote Source

Wim Hof Method & Inflammation

Another issue, or symptom related to Crohn’s disease is inflammation. There are numerous studies that conclude, the Wim Hof Method, can help to lower inflammation:

https://www.pnas.org/content/111/20/7379
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225749&fbclid=IwAR3RhRiUsb-q7s3SmRdtWWafWjxY9B19rYk_WcD4S3yhcq0ZhHFwDNI0F4c

With Crohn’s causing inflammation of the digestive tract, which quite often has a knock on effect – causing systemic inflammation, anything that can lower it, without significant adverse side effects, is probably worth looking into.

Inflammation is also linked to depression and heart disease. Which might explain why cold exposure and Wim Hof is supposed to help so many ailments and conditions.

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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