Meet Wim Hof. The Father of Cold Plunging
Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof, also known as the “The Iceman”, is known for breaking several records related to cold exposure. For starters, he ran a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts.
For years, the incredible achievements of Wim Hof were only viewed as “circus acts”. But his journey went from circus act to a scientific breakthrough in 2011 when a study from Radboud University showed that Wim Hof was capable of influencing his autonomic nervous system voluntarily.
Although his feats were first thought of as scientifically impossible, Wim Hof’s achievements are now backed by science. This propelled him to global health leader status, and now Wim is on a mission to help people discover the benefits of the Wim Hof Method.
Today we will look at Wim Hof, the Ice Man: his beliefs, his methods, and the benefits of the Wim Hof Method.
The Iceman Cometh: Meet Wim Hof
Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete and motivational speaker well-known for his ability to withstand the extreme cold. With 21 Guinness World Records, Wim Hof’s feats have earned him millions of fans worldwide.
Wim Hof considers “cold, hard nature” to be his teacher. Through extensive training, he has learned to control his breathing, blood circulation, and heart rate in order to withstand extreme temperatures. But what’s even more impressive is his commitment to teaching others his ways so that they too can enjoy its health benefits.
Wim Hof’s motto “what I am capable of, everybody can learn” has guided his mission to teach his methods to people from all over the world. He believes that everyone can tap into their inner potential even without going through the same amount of studying and traveling that he did.
This man is on a mission to share everything he has learned with the entire world. So far, he has proven successful: Wim Hof continues to reach people from all over the globe, from regular people to celebrities to athletes.
He created the Wim Hof Method (WHM), a combination of cold therapy, breathing, and commitment. Combined, people of all ages can enjoy a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. The Wim Hof Method teaches people to achieve extraordinary things by controlling their minds and body.
With these claims, it is no surprise that the scientific community has interested in Wim Hof, which is why he has been the subject of several medical assessments and scientific studies.
These assessments have even led to the publication of What Doesn’t Kill Us, a New York Times bestselling book by investigative journalist Scott Carney.
Wim continues to submit himself for scientific study so that research institutions can continue to uncover the potential of the Wim Hof Method.
Why is Wim Hof Famous?
Wim Hof’s extraordinary achievements have propelled him into public consciousness, even earning the nickname “The Ice Man” due to his feats involving exposure to extremely low temperatures.
His fame is not surprising, given his feats. Not only does he have 21 Guinness World Records, but he has also helped advance scientific understanding of the human body.
One of his most memorable achievements was running a half marathon barefoot above the Arctic Circle, wearing only shorts. Speaking of which, he also climbed the highest mountains in the world while only wearing shorts. Wim Hof also swam underneath ice for 66 meters.
Besides that, he is known for hanging on one finger at an altitude of 2,000 meters and even going to the Namib Desert to run a full marathon without drinking. Wim Hof has also stood in a container full of ice cubes for extended periods of time.
Drawing the attention of the scientific community, scientists have studied Wim Hof in an effort to uncover the secrets of his method. In a 2014 study, it was found that Wim Hof Method practitioners were able to control their sympathetic nervous system as well as their immune response. This has proven that the body’s immune response can be influenced willfully. This could potentially mean that the WHM can be used as an effective way to improve immune health and fight various autoimmune diseases.
In 2018, another study showed that the method could activate regions in the brain responsible for pain suppression. This is how Wim Hof and WHM practitioners can reduce their pain.
What is The Wim Hof Method?
We’ve mentioned the Wim Hof Method as an effective way to become healthier, but what exactly is it? Let’s take a closer look.
Wim Hof’s regimen, also known as the Wim Hof Method, involves the use of willpower, breathing techniques, and of course, cold water to lower body carbon dioxide levels. It is a simple approach with a strong scientific foundation that you can easily apply.
The Wim Hof Method revolves around three powerful pillars: breathing, cold therapy, and commitment.
Breathing is the first pillar of the WHM. Since we are always breathing, we need to become aware of how it affects the body and its tremendous potential for improving our health. With heightened oxygen levels, you can enjoy plenty of health benefits, from increased energy levels to reduced stress levels. It can even augment your immune response to deal with pathogens swiftly.
The next pillar is cold therapy. The WHM encourages you to see the cold as your friend. Proper cold exposure, such as through cold plunging, ice baths, or cold showers, can create a cascade of benefits for your mind and body. Cold therapy leads to the buildup of brown adipose tissue, which leads to fat loss, reduced inflammation, improved sleep quality, and elevated mood.
Being exposed to the cold relaxes your body and facilitates the production of endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals of the brain. With a relaxed state of mind and an improved mood, you can seize the day and work toward your goals relentlessly. You can feel unstoppable. Later on we will discuss the Wim Hof breathing method and tell you how it works.
The third pillar of the Wim Hof Method is commitment. Both cold therapy and conscious breathing require dedication and patience. These two cannot be mastered so quickly, but with the commitment, it is possible. You need to arm yourself with focus and determination to become the master of your own body and mind.
With these three pillars combined, you can unlock various physical and mental health benefits, including increased energy, reduced stress levels, better sleep, heightened focus, increased willpower, and a more robust immune system.
Overall, the Wim Hof Method is an easy and practical way to become healthier, happier, and more robust.
How Can You Practice the Wim Hof Method?
One of Wim Hof’s main goals is to spread the power of breathing, cold exposure, and commitment to as many people as possible. This is why he has made it as accessible as possible. There are plenty of ways to start learning the Wim Hof Method.
For example, there is a mobile app that is highly recommended for beginners. Newcomers may also sign up for the mini class to start practicing the method.
But if you want to dive into the practice and just jump right in, there are also many options available. You can immerse yourself in the WHM from the comfort of your own home by learning from its array of online video courses. You can also get a local certified instructor for in-person coaching of the Wim Hof Method. Finally, there is also the option of meeting Wim Hof live.
No matter your level of interest, you can find a way to make the WHM work for you.
For example, if you want to learn from home, Wim Hof offers two different 10-week online video courses. These are perfect for practitioners of any level, plus it fully integrates into the mobile app.
The Fundamentals Course takes you on a journey towards the Wim Hof Method that is both fun and easy to follow. There’s also the Classic Course, which is more of a self-guided approach to learning the Wim Hof Method.
Wim Hof also offers in-person workshops and week-long retreats where members can enjoy the support of the tribe in the ice as they go through group breathing sessions. These sessions are guided by certified instructors. They are suitable for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike.
Practitioners even have the option to learn the Wim Hof Method from the Ice Man himself. You can book a coveted spot on one of the week-long expeditions where you can meet Wim and learn the proper breathing practice directly from him. WHM practitioners can see him live across North America, Europe, Australia, or The Netherlands.
Learn more by visiting the Wim Hof website here: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
What Did Wim Hof Do for a Living?
Wim Hof is an extreme athlete, swimmer, and motivational speaker. He is also promoting and marketing the Wim Hof Method to change the lives of other people.
In 2007, Wim Hof set the Guinness World Record for fastest half-marathon barefoot on ice and snow at 2 hours 16 minutes and 34 seconds. Wim still currently holds this title. It was done for the Discovery Channel’s feature length documentary, “Real Superhumans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic”.
Wim Hof also set the world record for longest time in direct, full-body contact with ice in January 2010. He stayed in contact with ice for 1 hour and 44 minutes. However, this record has been broken multiple times since then. The current record is 3 hours and 28 seconds.
Aside from these tremendous feats, Wim Hof has also engaged in mountaineering while only wearing shorts. He climbed an altitude of 7,400 meters on Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes back in 2007. He aborted the attempt due to a foot injury. But from base camp to about 6,700 meters, he managed to climb with just shorts and sandals. After that he had to wear boots.
In 2016, he reached Gilman’s point on Mount Kilimanjaro, which was later documented in Scott Carney’s book What Doesn’t Kill Us.
What Does Wim Hof Believe?
The quote featured on the Wim Hof website is: “I’m not afraid of death, I’m afraid not to have lived fully.” This seems to motivate a lot of his actions, as Wim has always pushed himself to his limits in order to realize his full potential.
Wim believes that we have become disconnected from the natural environment. This disconnection prevents our survival mechanisms from being triggered. He believes that the changes in our world have made us lose touch with our inner power.
These beliefs have fueled his desire to train, participate in scientific studies, and engage in meaningful self-exploration. Through these methods, Wim Hof has created a simple and effective way for people to unleash their full potential without climbing mountains and enduring the freezing winds.
This is why the Wim Hof Method is centered on helping people reconnect with themselves, others, and nature.
What is Special about Wim Hof Breathing?
Inhaling oxygen is an unconscious process regulated by the nervous system’s autonomic function. This unconscious function is essential as it allows us to take in oxygen, gain energy, and power most chemical and physiological processes of the body.
This is also why it is essential to learn how to take control of your breathing. The way you breathe affects the rest of your body. Wim Hof developed a unique breathing technique that allows his body to stay in optimal condition even under extreme cold.
The premise behind the Wim Hof Breathing technique is that you need to inhale deeply and exhale without using any force. It’s a simple technique that anyone can do. Wim Hof recommends practicing it after waking or before a meal when your stomach is still empty.
Remember that WHM breathing may lead to loss of consciousness–but only in some rare cases. Do not practice it while driving or while you are close to a body of water. Instead, sit down or lie down somewhere safe and comfortable.
Getting comfortable is the first step. Assume a meditation posture. You may sit or lie down depending on which is more comfortable for you. It is vital that you can expand your lungs without feeling constricted.
Next, close your eyes, clear your mind, and stay focused on your breathing. Try fully connecting with your breathing, inhaling deeply through your nose or mouth. Exhale through the mouth without using any force.
Inhale through your belly, then chest, and let it go unforced. Do this repeatedly for 30 to 40 times in short bursts. Some people may experience lightheadedness or a tingling sensation in their hands and feet. Both of these are harmless side effects.
After reaching the last exhalation, inhale one more time as deeply as you can. Let the air out and stop breathing. Hold this until you feel the need to breathe again. Once you feel this urge to breathe, draw one big breath to fill your lungs. You will feel your chest and belly expanding. Hold your breath for around 15 seconds, and then let go.
After this recovery breath, you are done with the first round. This can be done three to four times without intervals.
Some people meditate after completing these breathing exercises. The Wim Hof breathing technique induces a state of calm that is conducive to this.
If you need a guide, Wim Hof’s Breathing Bubble is an audiovisual guide that will help you stay in rhythm during your breathing sessions.
The Wim Hof breathing exercise induces a short stress response that is voluntarily generated. This helps your body become more resilient to everyday stress. You will begin to feel in control of your mind and body.
Remember that breathing is only one of the three pillars of the Wim Hof Method. Combined with cold therapy and commitment, it will lead to fantastic health benefits like stress reduction, improved sleep quality, faster recovery, and improved mental clarity. It will help you become more creative and productive. You will be pleased to know that this also improves athletic performance if you are an athlete.
It can even reduce the symptoms of asthma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
How Many Hours Does Wim Hof Sleep?
As we all know, sleep is essential for physical and mental health. We need to get enough quality sleep at night to perform at our best during the day. It is the foundation of good health.
If you don’t sleep well regularly, it will affect your energy levels, which will even have a ripple effect on your immune system. Concentrating on your tasks and being productive will become challenging because your body won’t have enough energy to get anything done and your mind will just focus on how tired you are. This will also affect your emotions.
Practicing the Wim Hof Method is one of the ways you can improve the quality of your sleep. The Iceman Wim Hof recommends a full eight hours of restful sleep every night.
If you are experiencing sleeping problems, you may feel powerless. But you don’t need to rely on supplements or sleeping pills to get the right amount of sleep every night. All you need to do is implement some changes to your sleeping habits in order to improve your routine.
First, you need to stick to a strict sleeping schedule. By going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, you adjust your body clock and allow it to get accustomed to the new routine. This way, your body, and mind will get tired around those hours.
Limit your daytime naps so that they don’t interfere with your nighttime sleep. Limit your naps to a maximum of 30 minutes and do not take a nap too late in the day or else you will struggle to fall asleep. Stick to your sleeping schedule; your body will know when to rest and shut down for the day.
You should also pay attention to what you eat and drink before going to bed. It is not a good idea to sleep while stuffed, but you also shouldn’t go to bed hungry. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine before bed. These can reduce the quality of your sleep. If you are feeling hungry, just eat a small and healthy snack.
Exercising regularly during the daytime can also improve sleep quality. This stimulates your body to go into a deeper state of sleep. Exercise every day, and you will enjoy better sleep in the long term. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, which will improve your health significantly. Not only does exercise have plenty of benefits on its own, it even helps you sleep better and gain health benefits from it.
Stress management is another good way to improve the quality of your sleep. Try to manage your concerns before going to bed. It is normal to have your worries, but you can try simple meditation and relaxation exercises to relax the mind. Try the Wim Hof breathing techniques to relax your body as well.
Finally, make sure you optimize your bedroom for high-quality sleep. Darken your room, wear earplugs, set up a white noise machine if you prefer, and reduce the time you spend on your phone. The lights from your smartphone can trigger your mind to stay awake.
Avoid sitting or lying in your bed during the day so that your body only associates it with rest. Do not eat in bed or lie in bed during the day. Reserve it for nocturnal rest, and the quality of your sleep will improve.
Spend less time tossing and turning in bed by implementing these changes to your sleeping routine.
Take the Plunge at Cold Plunge Studios
Cold therapy is one of the pillars of the Wim Hof Method. If you want to experience its benefits, try cold plunging. A cold plunge will not only relax your body but it will also strengthen your immune system and help your body recover after an intense workout.
With Cold Plunge Studios, you can experience all the mind-elevating benefits of the ice bath + sauna. A cold plunge spike your body’s internal temperature immediately, increasing your blood flow and facilitating fat burning, which will lead to weight loss.
You can then go through Total Body submersion in water below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This drastically and immediately affects the parasympathetic nervous system—it’s like a workout for your blood vessels. Book a session with Cold Plunge Studios today!