Wim Hof “The Iceman” is a Dutchman who has become widely known for climbing the Everest in his shorts, and swimming under the ice for 120 meters with one breath.
Speaking of world records he holds 21 of them, including staying in an ice bath for 1 hour 52 minutes and 42 seconds.
A circus artist turned scientist, Wim Hof claimed that he can control his immune system through breathing.
He doesn’t get sick and never gets jet lag.
The good news is, he claimed that what he’s capable of, anybody can learn.
Other practical benefits of doing the cold therapy include (*):
- Fat burning
- Faster recovery
- Sleeping like a baby
- Mood improvement
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced stress level
- Increased productivity and creativity
- Enhanced athletic performance
Seems too good to be true, eh? Could it really do that?
I read about the Wim Hof Method in Tim Ferriss’s (best-selling author of The 4-hour Work Week) latest book, The Tools of the Titans. You can watch the podcast version here:
Tim claimed that he could hold his breath for a staggering 4 minutes and 45 seconds without no perceptible side effects, when doing the Wim Hof breathing exercise.
This was enough to convince me to buy the Wim Hof method course.
I have been trying it for a few weeks now. I will share my personal experience throughout this post while reviewing the course, to show you to what extent this method works.
What is the Wim Hof Method (WHM)?
The three components of the WHM are as follows:
- Breathing exercises
- Training of mindset / concentration
- Gradual exposure to the cold
Now, you might have heard or even tried some of these from another method or program. In fact, there are various methods that separately deal with either one of them.
If you think that the WHM is anything like these, hold that thought.
The WHM is much more effective because it gets the three components to interact between and reinforce one another.
The main purpose of the WHM is to boost your nervous and immune systems.
If you imagine that the training of mindset would be complicated, then you can’t be more wrong. It’s actually quite simple.
My personal observation
This course is surprisingly simple for the benefits it promises. As a matter of fact, I have been doing it for a few weeks now and have never felt this fresh and fit!
Since I was little I was quite prone to catching flu. Every time one of my family members catches flu, I would also get infected 90% of the time. Last week 3 of them caught flu and I can proudly say that it didn’t affect me at all!
The breathing exercises also help whenever I feel sleepy because of lack of sleep, as it boosts the oxygen level in my brain. (*)
My personal record for breath holding during the exercise was 2 minutes and 52 seconds.
History of the Wim Hof Method
Before I explain further, I’d like to give you a glimpse of the history of the WHM.
The reason for this is I want you to understand the original application of the method. I believe you will get a clue of how beneficial it would be in daily life after reading this.
Wim Hof has trained his body and spirit under conditions of extreme cold. For instance, these circumstances have forced him to explore his own physiology and mental capacity in greater detail.
Ultimately, he has mastered the breathing and mindset to enhance the ability to withstand such extreme temperatures. It has earned him fame, along with the nick-name “The Iceman”.
In the meantime, he has accumulated 21 world records, including the longest ice bath, climbing snowy mountain peaks wearing only shorts, running marathons around the polar circle, as well as many others.
In 2007, Wim Hof was examined by the well-known Feinstein Institute. The results showed that Wim Hof appeared to be able to influence his autonomic nervous system.
Further cooperation with the scientific community has allowed him to study the possible applications of his method for the rest of the world – which I will discuss in the next sections.
The benefits of the Wim Hof Method
Healthy persons, persons with disability and athletes have experienced the power of the WHM. They practiced the method to cope with a physical disability or improve physical performance.
For us ordinary people, the method can benefit us in these ways (*):
- Producing more stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. They help suppress inflammatory bodies in the blood stream.
- Maintaining brown fat levels. Brown fat tissue removes fatty acids from the body to provide it with the heat it requires.
- Minimizing the effects of auto-immune diseases. Auto-immune disease attacks the body’s own cells and substances (e.g. rheumatism).
- Reducing the risks of heart and vascular diseases. The WHM strengthens the cardiovascular system so that the heart needs to pump less frequently. (*)
- Fighting obesity. The protein in brown fat cells directly transforms energy from glucose and fat into heat. Exposure to the cold accelerates this process.
- General well-being and energy balance. By practicing the breathing exercises, waste materials are more easily released. In addition, exposure to the cold stimulates the blood stream to increase metabolic rate, which in turn results in an increase in energy.
- Sports. By practicing the technique, your body will release high doses of adrenaline, which releases energy immediately. This improves endurance levels and physical performance.
I do push-ups daily and can normally get around 20 reps in a set. After the WHM breathing exercise, I immediately could double it to around 40 reps.
I play football and badminton once a week and practice the breathing exercise about an hour before. It has in fact improved my stamina and I could go on for longer without losing my breath.
The science behind
This section is for those of you who needs a scientific explanation of the WHM. If you can’t bear with scientific terms and expressions, feel free to skip to the next section. You won’t miss any important information by doing so.
The purpose of the breathing exercise is to achieve hyperventilation.
This would lead as much oxygen as possible deep into your cells, enabling your mitochondria to produce more energy, unwanted rest products from processes in your body being cleaned up, and also prevent the production of lactic acid.
ATP Production Process
I’m sure you’re already familiar with the fact that low acidity in the body will attract less diseases.
This also gets more oxygen to the pineal gland, which then starts to produce more melatonine to give you better sleep at night.
In 2011, Wim Hof went through the endo-toxin experiment. The aim of this study was to see whether the concentration technique practiced by Hof can influence the immune system.
As a result, when components of the E-coli bacteria were injected – Hof's concentration technique resulted in increased cortisol values and to a relatively low content of inflammatory proteins in the blood stream.
These effects were even greater on exposure to ice.
Who can do it?
If you can breathe and shower, you can practice it. It is that simple.
Even so, the physical exercises might get quite difficult as the course progresses. This might give the impression that it’s only suitable for athletic people. It isn’t true.
The method is basically a powerful technique for anyone who wants massive boost for the body, mind and soul.
However, you should not practice the WHM if you are pregnant or have a potentially debilitating condition, such as epilepsy. If you have cardiovascular issues, or any other medical condition, always consult a doctor before starting with the Wim Hof Method.
What is inside the Wim Hof Method Course?
The course consists mainly of videos as follows:
- 2 introduction videos
- 6 basics videos
- 10 detailed training videos (unlocked weekly for 10 weeks)
- 2 short daily exercises videos
- 4 challenges videos
- 4 bonus section videos
which bring a sum of 28 videos with a total length of 8:12:17 secs in English and Dutch. It also includes:
- Wim Hof Method e-books both in English and Dutch
- Wim Hof’s biography
- Printable workbook & cold shower sheet
- Continued progress check-ups & e-mail support
The basics videos teach you in detail about to how to perform each of the breathing exercises, cold shower exercises, and WHM stretch / mindset training.
The detailed training videos are simply follow-along videos which you should watch while practicing the exercises at the same time.
You can find complete explanations of the science behind the method in the e-book.
How much time do I need?
The daily investment is slightly more than 30 minutes, not including the cold showers. For those who cannot make it for the full hour, there are two special videos of 4 minute and 10 minute exercises.
The completion of the whole course takes 10 weeks. Fortunately, you will have life time access so you can follow the course at your own pace.
Wim Hof Method Tips
- The best time to do the exercises is in the morning as you will feel fresh for the whole day.
- Always practice when your stomach is empty. Otherwise, your whole energy will be focused on your digestive system and would render this ineffective.
- When doing the breathing exercise, it is better to inhale from your nose. Inhaling from your mouth would make you feel bloated, especially in a cold temperature.
- Always take notes on how long you can hold your breath on every cycle and write them in the worksheet.
- If you don’t wear a watch, every mobile phone should have a stopwatch built in it. Or if you’re willing to spend another $4, there’s actually an app to track your performance in iTunes and Google Play.
- When following the weekly lesson videos, you might need to press pause every now and then during the breathing exercise. The reason for this is that every person has different physiology. Most of the time you would find your rhythm different than the instructor.
- When taking cold showers, do not start from your head. This has known to cause stroke or heart attack. Start from your feet then gradually upwards.
- On days when you don't have much time, you can practice the 4-minute or the 10-minute exercise.
- You can practice the breathing exercise every time you feel sleepy or low in energy. (*)
The following testimonials were compiled from various other blogs, instead of the official website.
Jee on December 8, 2016:
“Today is my third day and I feel a real change already. Funny thing happened to my teenage daughter after she did this breathing technique.. today, at her cafeteria, everyone was wearing their coats and jackets in the cafeteria except her. Everyone was complaining that the schools cafeteria was cold but she didn’t feel the cold at all. Lol.
I’m sure more strange stuffs will follow as long as I stay committed to Wims method.”
Claire Hudson on April 17, 2016:
“As a yoga teacher I was taught during my physiology and anatomy training, that it was impossible to consciously influence the autonomic nervous system. I love that it becomes possible with this method.
As I practised, it became clear that as the course progressed, I was able to immerse myself in freezing temperatures without feeling the cold as much, take cold showers and train myself to like it…eventually, and generally become a friend of the cold. I can say that after doing this course, that it does work, and being able to control your autonomic nervous system is perhaps an ancient skill we’ve all forgotten how to use.”
Aaron on January 18, 2016:
“Doing Wim Hof Method in the morning seemed to lessen/eliminate the effects of caffeine withdrawal. If you drink a lot of coffee you’ll know what I mean – when your body is used to consuming a cup or more a day you don’t feel particularly great when you wake up in the morning and haven’t had any caffeine yet. Doing the Wim Hof breathing in the morning for me eliminated the negative feelings/lack of energy that come along with caffeine withdrawal.”
Ben McEvoy on June 25, 2016:
“The Wim Hof Method is pricey but it’s an investment. It’s actually underpriced when you consider how much it will improve your life. Most people easily blow more than $200 a month just on binge-drinking, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and junk food alone. Taking some of the money you would have spent on things like that and making the conscious choice to invest in your happiness and well-being is a very smart decision.
One of the great things about the Wim Hof Method video course is that it tells you exactly what to do in order to feel a certain way. There’s no nonsense. It’s streamlined, there’s no skipping ahead, and it builds your abilities up in incremental steps that keep you excited, motivated, and committed.
If meditation has failed you before, you’ll really be blown away. The bottom line is that you feel like you are in private one-on-one training with Wim himself. The course is made so it’s easy to build it into your day.”
Where can I buy the program?
You can buy the Wim Hof Method by clicking this link. It costs $199 for one-time payment, or 3 monthly installments of $79. There is an option to pay safely with Paypal.
The program also offers a 14-day money back guarantee.
I have personally tested this program and can honestly say that I have never felt this great.
It is a simple technique, but the great deal of benefits it has brought me were astonishing.
The weather in my area hasn’t been friendly these couple of weeks and I wasn’t affected at all while most people did.
Not only physically, I also feel happier and less stressful thanks to the meditation practices.
It may require some of your time daily and cost $199, but think of it as a great investment. I couldn’t think of anything better where I spent my money on in these recent years.
It looks very promising, and I’m sure that I would get my investment back shortly from the optimized productivity and creativity.
What I also like about this program is I’m not doing this alone. There’s a community of Wim Hof followers where you can join their Facebook group to ask questions and discuss your progress.
Results may vary as each individual's physiology is unique.
The breathing exercises can have profound effects and should be practiced exactly as prescribed. Make sure to always perform them in a safe environment, and without force.
Never attempt the exercises before or during diving, driving, swimming, or taking a bath, or in any other environment where passing out could potentially cause injury. The simplest way to avoid risk is to sit on a couch or floor.
The breathing exercises may cause tingling sensations and/or lightheadedness. If you’ve fainted, that means you went too far, and have to take it easier next time.
The cold is a powerful force. We strongly advise you to gradually build up the exposure, both in terms of temperature and duration. Do not force anything; listen to your body. If not practiced responsibly, cold exposure can have serious health consequences, including hypothermia.
Do not practice the method while pregnant, or if you have a potentially debilitating condition, such as epilepsy. If you have cardiovascular issues, or any other medical condition, always consult a doctor before starting with the Wim Hof Method.