Face the Cold Before the Cold Faces You

This young woman sneezing into a tissue either has a cold or really bad allergies.College of DuPage Nursing Student  Jessica Morice shared that an ice-cold shower is the furthest thing from one’s mind when cold symptoms arise. That is, unless you are Wim Hof, or one of his millions of global-wide followers. Who is Wim Hof? He is a 61-year-old Dutchman, who has created his own ‘cold exposure’ method for people all over the world to control their mind and body to do unimaginable things.

Wim Hof explains that his method ‘is based on three simple, natural pillars: cold exposure, conscious breathing, and the powerful mind.’ (Hof, xvii). The method ranges from cold showers to ice baths, to hiking world-famous mountains in a pair of shorts. Anyone can start at any time and assistance is provided by a downloadable free app offered by Wim Hof called ‘the WHF’, which stands for the Wim Hof Method. Beginning with deep breathing techniques, small steps are taken to eventually reach the goal of cold showers, every day. Each of the pillars contributes many benefits and with routine, any individual can unlock the advantages that this method has to offer.

 

A long list of benefits is contributed by the compilation of the three pillars. Cold therapy boosts mood and the immune system, reduces inflammation, and enhances better sleep; Deep breathing improves energy levels, enhances detoxing, rebalances the nervous system, and reduces stress levels; According to his most recent book, ). The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential, ‘Commitment to the method encourages movement out of one’s comfort zone and reaching deeper psychologically’ (Wim Hof, 2020). Studies from universities including Radboud University in the Netherlands and Wayne State University in Michigan have interviewed Wim Hof followers all around the world. Some of the benefits reported from the Endotoxin study, ‘Influencing the Immune System’ done at Radbound University include better sleep, recovery from workouts, anti-inflammation, and overall increased energy (Kox et al. 2014). The study also stated that diseases and illnesses such as Lyme Disease, anxiety, depression, arthritis, MS, diabetes, and asthma have been positively affected by this method and thousands of people continue to attest to these findings.

The feeling of being cold is not considered a pleasant feeling. Maybe that is why it has taken so long to be discovered or studied. It wasn’t until 2011, that research teams began to take his methods seriously. Radboud University completed a study that revealed the results of the Wim Hof method and found the improved immune system and sympathetic nervous system function by injection of endotoxin. Another study done by Wayne State University called the ‘Brain Over Body’ (Muzik et. al., 2017) aimed to understand the brain function that allows Wim Hof to be able to withstand the freezing measures experienced by the body. The findings included activation of pain suppression and self-reflection of the brain, showing that his method does in fact produce the results that members are reporting. These studies are just a few examples of the findings, although other researchers are currently exploring his methods.

Overall, the method continues to expand and millions of people across the world live their lives based on these beliefs and teachings. Just like any other type of routine, building up from small steps to extreme measures takes time, but many people continue to experience the many benefits of the Wim Hof Method. Both physical and mental benefits continue to be reported and Wim Hof himself continues to impress the world as he develops his next big accomplishment.

 

References

Hof , W. (2020). The Wim Hof Method Activate Your Full Human Potential . Sounds True.

Kox, M, et al. “0026. Voluntary Activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System and Attenuation of the Innate Immune Response in Humans.” Intensive Care Medicine Experimental, vol. 2, no. Suppl 1, 2014, doi:10.1186/2197-425x-2-s1-o2.

Muzik, Otto, et al. “‘Brain over Body’–A Study on the Willful Regulation of Autonomic Function during Cold Exposure.” NeuroImage, vol. 172, 2018, pp. 632–641., doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.01.067.

Wim Hof Method. (2018). Welcome to the Official Wim Hof Method Website. http://www.wimhofmethod.com/.

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Green Tea, Not Only A Beverage

College of DuPage Nursing Student Jessie M. Little shared with Healthy Lombard that Green Tea is a beverage that just about everyone has heard of. It is one of the most popular drinks worldwide. Over the last 30 years or more, scientists have been studying the plant that green tea comes from. It has been known to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory health benefits. While it is known that green tea has anti-inflammatory properties, it also has oral health benefits that may help to prevent bad breath. Scientists are continuing to study the Camellia sinensis plant where green tea originates, so additional health benefits may be forthcoming.

Anti-inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory benefits of green tea were discussed in an article by Reygaert (2017), in which those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis benefitted from its consumption. In addition, Hamidreza (2011) provides insight into the benefits of green tea as a dietary supplement in cardiovascular disease by preventing oxidative stress and inflammation, and gingivitis, an inflammation in the oral cavity that contributes to periodontitis, receding, and bleeding gums. An extract can be made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant which has been used as a mouthwash. Read more

Recognizing and reducing stress

College of DuPage Nursing Student Al Adawi researched for Healthy Lombard that life can often be challenging but the stress that comes with it doesn’t have to be. Although life is extremely challenging, it is possible to adapt to many of these new lifestyle challenges. One challenge is the inability to socialize with others which makes a person feel alone and distressed. This chronic stress can take a toll on a person and lead to chronic stress-related disorders (Giddens, 2017). Being able to recognize and use measures to cope is critical for physical and mental well-being.

Many people battle with chronic stress-related disorders on a daily basis without even realizing it. It may not seem abnormal, therefore, and result from family, work, school, or even environmental-related stress. The eventual mental disorders that develop may include, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, hypertension, anxiety disorders, IBS, tension headaches, and even ulcers (Giddens, 2017). Stress is a serious consequence of stimulation of the defense mechanisms in the body, and if not handled properly, can significantly harm health. The recognition of these stressors will help to improve coping mechanisms and prevent the development of chronic disease.

Coping represents how an individual perceives and responds to stress (Giddens, 2017). Some of the methods that help to reduce stress and improve coping include aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. According to Cleveland Clinic (2020) the most important step to take is to assert oneself. This includes putting health first when necessary, others second. Read more

Lifestyle as Seniors

Fitness happy woman exercise with dumbbell on white backgroundCollege of DuPage Nursing Student Alan Gomez wrote for Healthy Lombard that as we grow older, we tend to notice a lot of wear and tear on our bodies, but that is completely normal and not a reason to limit physical activity. By committing 30 minutes each day to moderate-intensity activity; equivalent to a brisk walk, going to the gym, or performing easy and simple workouts, adequate health is maintained in the body (Harvard Health, 2019). In addition, it is also important to maintain a balanced diet by implementing healthy foods, as well as foods that we enjoy.

For individuals who are beginning to exercise it is important to set limits. For example, in an article by Harvard Health (2019), when beginning an exercise program, weight machines should be used initially since they offer stability and convert to free weights once optimal strength and confidence are met. Read more

What To Know About At-Home Oxygen Therapy

Doctor equipmentDid you know that around 21 percent of the air in the atmosphere is oxygen? No wonder there is enough for all the 7 billion people and billions of other animals to breathe. However, many people live with breathing disorders like lung cancer, asthma, and COVID-19, and can’t get adequate oxygen naturally. Such individuals need supplemental oxygen or oxygen therapy.

Before the advent of COVID-19 at the end of 2019, terms like oxygen concentrator or pulse oximeter were rarely used in daily conversation. Today, the story is different. People ask questions about what these machines or devices do because the situation is closer home. Most of us know someone who needed oxygen therapy in the last year or so.

We have created this article to answer the most frequently asked questions about oxygen therapy and its different types. We focus on the questions around who needs oxygen therapy, symptoms of low oxygen, and oxygen therapy indicators. We then look at pulse oximeters and provide information on the basic facts about these devices. Read more

Mind Over Matter: Mindfulness Meditation and its Health Benefits

Group of women sitting on a yoga mats and meditating in a studioCollege of DuPage Nursing Student Taylor Mikrut wrote for Healthy Lombard that it is safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented times amongst millions of Americans, and worldwide. Many have lost their jobs, loved ones, businesses, and homes due to the infamous virus that seems to be never-ending. With COVID-19 restrictions becoming more prevalent throughout the states, many Americans are essentially bound to their homes unless they are an essential worker. With more time being spent at home and away from family and friends, individuals are feeling an array of emotions. Feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety have been at an all-time high during the pandemic. There are many ways to ease these feelings and experiences, one of which is the practice of meditation.

Meditation is “the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts” (healthline.com, 2020), It was originally used as a method to deepen the understanding of sacred and mystical life forces, and traditionally practiced by Buddhists (mayoclinic.org, 2020). Even though those traditions still remain today amongst the Buddhist culture as well as other groups, meditation has transitioned into practice for millions of individuals worldwide to achieve a form of mindfulness. This practice has become more popular over time and been and divided into different categories to more effectively attend to individual needs. There are nine popular types of meditation that include, mindfulness meditation, spiritual meditation, focused meditation, movement meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, progressive relaxation, loving-kindness meditation, and visualization meditation (healthline.com, 2020). Read more

The Emphasis on Stress and Exercise

Heart-shaped stethoscope. Isolated on white backgroundCollege of DuPage Nursing Student Misbah Baig research for Healthy Lombard that everyone wants to live for many years without any complications. The trick to longevity seems to be self-care and a commitment to add bodily movement on a consistent basis. The human body was not built to remain sedentary. Ongoing sedentary behavior will result in poor health-related complications such as increased stress, depression, increased risk of stroke, diabetes, hypertension, and other types of cardiovascular disease. Adding exercise to the daily routine makes a significant difference in long-term health outcomes.

First, getting older often results in additional stress on the body. The average adult is consistently preoccupied with caring for children, work and may have a lack of adequate time for self-care. The eventual build-up of stress and may lead to depression if left unchecked. Health promotion prevents stress; it involves, self-management which has been defined as, “daily tasks required to maintain health and well-being, to respond to the changing physical, psychological, behavioral, and emotional sequela of the daily demands of life” (Simmons and Noonan, 2021, p. 52). In other words, it is important to consistently make time for exercise and engaging in other types of stress reduction. Read more

The Importance of Folic Acid in Pregnant Women

College of DuPage Nursing Student  Katlyn Hanson researched for Healthy Lombard that folic acid is a B vitamin that is crucial for our body to make new red blood cells, and therefore, for the body to grow and function normally. Folic acid is essential before and during pregnancy in order to help prevent major birth defects such as spina bifida. According to the Mayo Clinic (2021), research demonstrates folic acid supplements can prevent birth defects involving the neural tube. Taking a daily prenatal vitamin can help ensure women are getting enough of this essential nutrient. (Mayo Clinic, 2021)

When should you start taking folic acid, and how much should you consume?

The Mayo Clinic (2021) recommends taking folic acid three months before conception. Adult women who are planning a pregnancy or who have the potential to become pregnant should consume 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid a day (Mayo Clinic 2021). A well-balanced diet is necessary to meet these recommendations. This is achievable by eating fortified foods, vitamins that contain folic acid, or a combination of diet and vitamin supplements.

Foods High in Folic Acid

There are many foods that contain folic acid, especially if you maintain a well-balanced diet. Folic acid can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, cereals, and even pasta. There are also many types of fruits rich in folic acid such as oranges, lemons, and bananas. If the diet lacks folic acid-rich foods, a folic acid deficiency will result (Mayo Clinic, 2021), however, incorporating the necessary amount in the diet supports a healthy pregnancy.

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