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Wim Hof's breathing method is acclaimed to improve physical and mental health by following the following routine once every day:

  1. 30 deep, strong breaths
  2. breath-hold after exhalation for as long as comfortable (it's not comparable to normal breath-holding under water as the preceding hyperventilation phase makes one not have the urge to breathe for quite some time)
  3. deep inhalation followed by another breath-hold for 15 sec.
  4. repeat steps 1-3 another 2-3 times

Studies have already shown that this method profoundly impacts the body. An author of this platform summarized it in a question briefly. I also found this online post quite interesting (jump to "Wim Hof Breathing Explained"). However, I couldn't find any research about the long-term effects or any well-founded claims about the potential detriments this breathing method has on the body (as long as one is healthy and follows protocol).

According to a user on Quora, free-diving record holder William Winram claims that this self-induced hyperventilation promotes the release of free radicals that result in cell damage. A consequence is an accelerated aging process of the body.

But is that claim well-founded? According to this author, the breathing method "involves a hyperventilation phase in preparation of a hypoventilation phase" and thus claims that there are no damages associated with hyperventilation, unless you overdo this practice.

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  • I don't know anything about Wim Hof's breathing method, but there have been studies regarding hyperventilation before breathholding. There is evidence against the practice for swimming/diving and other reasons to breath-hold, syncope being one of them. Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 18:16
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    A link to an explanation of Wim Hof breathing would be appreciated, even if it's just a wikipedia page. We shouldn't have to google it ourselves to understand your question.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 19:57
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    "One detriment critics claim" - who claims this? You must reference a claim you intend to ask about. "They argue that this breathing method" - who are 'they'? The author of a StackExchange answer?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 20:00
  • Unfortunately, I couldn't find any research about the long-term effects. Many claims on the internet also aren't well-founded, which is why I summarized them very briefly, using generalizations. I just reformulated my question and provided a few links. I hope it helps.
    – Eti2d1
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 16:05
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    @Eti2d1 Generally, the burden of proof is on whoever is making a claim. If proponents of Wim Hof don't have any studies of the Wim Hof method, how are they capable of claiming it works for anything and is safe? It's not up to other people to show it's harmful or doesn't work. And a user on Quora as a source? That's the same as saying "someone on the internet says.." - that's not really notable or reliable in any means, either from the perspective of whether it's true or from the perspective of whether William Winram ever said anything to this person.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 17:27

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