one’s breath longer without the corresponding urge to breathe is that the practitioner may faint due to lack of oxygen.
But if he were to lose consciousness in water, he would no longer be able to consciously hold his breath and would automatically inhale again.
Tan said the Wim Hof app came with safety instructions and warnings. Before a person could start the breathwork component, a warning screen would pop up emphasizing that the practitioner should not be in or near water.
Investigators checked Goh’s phone and found that he had logged into the breathing basics part of the Wim Hof app from March 21 to March 26, 2021, in the days preceding his death.
Goh’s is not the first tragic incident to occur from practicing breathholding techniques like the Wim Hof Method while swimming.
In December 2015, there was the highly publicized case of two Navy SEALs who drowned in a training pool from shallow-water blackouts. The deaths caused changes to the military’s swimming safety protocols.
In the summer of 2017, there were two separate U.S. drowning deaths that were attributed to breath-holding meditation exercises, one of which was the Wim Hof Method.
And in June 2020, a very fit 25-year-old New Zealand man nearly drowned after blacking out while practicing the Wim Hof Method.
Fortunately, he made a full recovery despite being submerged for nearly 7 ½ minutes.
Shallow water blackout incidents are known to be more prevalent among physically fit swimmers, spear fishermen, and free divers – often to people who are described as liking to push themselves to their limits.
Rich Hanna, assistant director of parks and recreation for the city of Santa Barbara, Calif., said people who challenge themselves to breathholding often don’t realize they’re in trouble until it’s too late.
“They’re just kind of in this state of…euphoria or whatever,” Hanna said. “There’s some changes in their system and they don’t recognize they’re in danger. They basically just go unconscious in the water and pass out.”