Wim Hof Method: How You Can Benefit & What You Need To Know To Start Today
Do you want something more from life?
If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried a thing or two to get that more.
There’s a big industry with countless self-help gurus each claiming they know how to get it. They all seem to know some secret to happiness and health that we don’t. Usually with zero empirical evidence to back it up. We’re just supposed to take their word for it.
If you’d rather try methods that are scientifically proven and bring results almost immediately, then you’ll like this article. Don’t believe me? You can try them out yourself in a few minutes. I’m going to give you the step-by-step instructions.
But first, why are we so unhappy, and why the methods of a mysterious man called Wim Hof might be the more we are all looking for in life.
Do you ever start checking out your phone and suddenly wake up to realize that a couple of hours have passed by?
We can thank our ancestors for that. We used to roam in the wild under the great blue sky, gathering wild mushrooms and berries, hunting for antelopes. When the sun set down, we gathered around a big fire with our tribe huddling close together to capture every bit of warmth the fire provided. We told stories, relaxed and ate.
And occasionally… One of us got snatched by a lion as we sat around the fire
So even to this day, when something flickers, moves, or flashes in our peripheral vision. Even if it’s just our Facebook notifications.
We have to pay attention.
Science now knows that our brains and bodies are built for a different living environment than our current one. That’s also the reason why we love nature. And get mesmerized by the crackling of a fire and the view of the harsh waves of sea bashing the shore.
We were designed to live raw. Exposed to elements, bare feet in the grass, rooted in the cycles and laws of the wilderness.
Now we’ve moved to cities to live in our comfortable houses, with our laptops, smartphones and bio-diesel cars. We rarely have to exert ourselves in any way, physically, mentally or spiritually.
But, our minds still crave nature.
And if the disconnection between the way we are living and with our natural wiring gets too wide, we start to experience symptoms:
- Health Problems
- Lack of fulfillment
- Lack of connection to "something real"
- Lack of clarity in life
Luckily, there’s a method to bridge that gap. There’s a way to connect with your natural thriving self. And it doesn’t even require you to ditch your iPhone and move to a secluded cottage in the middle of the wilderness. The best part?
Just about anyone can do it.
“And what do we have in this world? A whole lot of disease, and a whole lot of powerlessness against disease, against depression, and all that. And why? We lost track of what nature is; within us and within interaction.” - Wim Hof
Euphoria. Power. Connection to everything in the universe.
These are words that Wim Hof used to describe his first immersion in the world of cold. Wim was in his early 20’s when he realized for the first time the power of this element.
It all started in the picture beautiful Beatrixpark in Amsterdam, where the troubled and unhappy Wim was taking a walk on a crisp winter morning. A thin layer of ice on the surface of a still lake caught his attention. Impulsively, he decided to take off his clothes in the middle of the park and plunge into the icy waters.
Submerged in the water, he was struck by the merciless force of overwhelming coldness.
Suddenly, the cold was replaced by inner warmth and a vast sense of peace that fused with his whole awareness. The anxiety and depression melted away and were replaced by a feeling of connectedness to everything in the universe.
Wim only stayed around a minute in the icy waters but when he got up, he was struck by pulsing waves of endorphins which filled his whole body. The euphoria from the experience lasted the whole afternoon.
And the next day, he came back and did it again.
From that point forward, Wim dedicated his life to mastering his body and mind and proving to the world that we are capable of much more than we think.
- In 2000 he set a new world record by swimming over 60 meters under ice in Finland. He had to get up because his retina started to freeze.
- In 2007 he climbed the Mount Everest to the altitude of 6.7 kilometers, wearing only shorts and shoes. 6.7 kilometers is considered to be past the “death zone” altitude.
- In 2008 he immersed himself in ice for 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 seconds. Setting up the new Guinness World Record.
- In 2009 He completed a full marathon the length of 42 kilometers in -20 °C temperatures in the arctic Lapland, Finland. Dressed in, you guessed right, nothing but shorts.
In total, Wim has over 26 world records. He's known all over the world by the name Iceman.
After relentlessly attacking challenge after challenge and stretching the previously set beliefs about what is capable by the human body and mind, Wim set out to accomplish what would turn out to be his most impactful and important mission:
Proving that anyone can do it.
In 2011 he took twelve volunteers and trained them for 4 days. In a few short days, the volunteers were hiking the snowy mountains of Poland in shorts and swimming in the ice-cold winter lakes.
But the craziest part about the experiment was still to come:
After 4 days, the volunteers were put under a doctor's supervision and were injected with bacterial toxins into their bloodstream. They were then compared to a control group which did not do any training.
The results were staggering. The group that had trained under him:
- Demonstrated ability to partially control their autonomic nervous system
- Got sick less than the control group
- Produced more proteins that prevent inflammation
- Produced fewer proteins than caused inflammation
- Produced more adrenaline, which is related to a immune system response
With 4 days of training.
Joe Rogan, Vice, CNN, Discovery, BBC.
Today, you see Wim touring all over the world sharing his message. The overall vibe he leaves everywhere is that of a charismatic, life-happy man on a quest to change the world for the better.
He routinely asks scientists to examine and analyze his methods and feats, so that more and more people can benefit from the information and the exercises.
When he’s not talking to the biggest media outlets in the world, he's teaching the techniques on workshops all around the globe. Thousands and thousands of people have regained their health and personal power through his teachings.
Wim is the real deal.
Before diving into specific details on how you can start using the techniques today, it's important to go over the three foundational pillars of the practice and understand what kind of effect they have on our mind, body and spirit.
The Wim Hof Method has similarities in the thousands of years old Tibetan Buddhist practice Tummo and in Yogic breathing called Pranayama. So even before science validated the effectiveness of these techniques, spiritual practitioners had been doing similar techniques for thousands of years to cultivate inner peace, tranquility and physical vitality.
The 3 Pillars:
- Cold Therapy
- Breathing Techniques
- Mindset and Focus
Now, let’s expand on what these 3 pillars are meant to accomplish and how they tie up together.
Cold therapy is probably the most visible part in the techniques. Stressing your body with cold exposure starts to produce a variety of health benefits.
In the ancient times, samurai warriors used to wake up before sunrise and bathe in the freezing cold waters of the nearby streams. They believed it cleansed them spiritually and molded them into stronger, happier version of themselves. But the benefits of cold exposure are not only limited to mental purification, it also:
- Activates brown adipose that boosts fat loss.
- Reduces inflammation - you recover faster from the stress of your daily life.
- Fortifies your immune system making you less likely to get sick.
- Improves sleep quality, making you sleep more deeply and wake up more energized.
- Immediately relieves depression, anxiety, stress and elevates mood dramatically.
Did you know that the famous painter Vincent Van Gogh was prescribed 2 ice baths a day as a treatment for depression?
Aside from the biological benefits, the cold therapy has invaluable benefits on your character, willpower, and discipline that are more far-reaching than the immediate effects.
Sounds too good? I’ll show you what I mean in a minute.
Stop. You are now aware that you are breathing.
We are always breathing! It’s the first thing we do when we arrive in this world, and the last thing we do before we die. But most of the time we are not aware of it. Most people never get to harness the power and potential of this life force.
Over 5000 years, the yogis have noted the importance of breathing for our mental clarity and physical health. The breath connects our mind and body, so learning to use in the right way helps us cultivate different physiological benefits:
- Deeper levels of inner peace and relaxation
- Feeling more calm, happy and centered in your daily life
- Almost immediate mental clarity and energy
- Increase alkalinity levels in your body which help you recover fast
- Increase brain neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety and depression.
- Better focus and concentration that lead to more productivity.
Breathing and meditation cause an overflow effect in your life where it starts positively flowing to almost every aspect of your life. Don't be surprised if you start to experience mundane problems fading to the background or a feeling of a better flow in your life. Small glimpses of deep vast peace and contentment in your daily life can also become a regular thing.
“No ego, WE GO!”
Yells Wim Hof, and jumps into a freezing cold pond with a dozen of his students.
This is the culmination of the mindset that Wim Hof wants to teach through his methods; a fearless, determined and focused mind. The key qualities that tie in these methods and ensure the right results for you are patience, dedication, and concentration. Mindset rooted in these qualities allows you to:
- Achieve your goals with a laser beam focus and efficiency
- Develop your physical and mental capacity faster
- Access your sympathetic nervous system and immune system to gain more control over your health.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Start Practicing Today
Before you start practicing, make sure you are not putting yourself at any unnecessary risk:
Word of Warning
Never do the breathing exercises in water, or before going to water. Never perform it while standing up, driving or without consent from your medical caregiver. Remember, as always, practicing these exercises is at your own risk.
Ready to start?
Of course not! But think about it this way. You are exchanging a fraction of time from your daily life where you will be uncomfortable, so you can reap the benefits from it the whole day.
Let me put it more simply.
You'll sacrifice 30 seconds of suffering, so you can get all the health benefits of cold showers for 24 hours. That’s a pretty damn good investment.
Good things to know when starting out:
- Start with 30 seconds and gradually build up your cold tolerance
- If you start experiencing intense physical symptoms like heavy shivering, numbness or pain, get yourself warmed up
- Try to stay calm and relaxed when the cold water hits you. The initial shock of the water, gasping and shivering are all normal.
How to take a Cold Shower:
Step 1 : Set Your Mindset Right
Turn the knob on your shower to the coldest setting.
Start watching how your mind produces the most elaborate thought patterns on why you shouldn't do it. Be mindful of the thoughts, don't try to suppress them or change them. Decide: I am going to do this.
Steo 2: Step Into The Shower
Step into the cold abyss waiting in front of you. Don't try to avert it. Embrace it as it is. That’s one of the crucial keys to this exercise. You're now starting to develop your capacity to deal with uncomfortable situations.
Rinse your head with the water quickly. Rinsing your head the first thing makes it mentally easier to accept the shock. Then let the cold water just run through your shoulders, back, and chest.
Start counting backward from 10 to zero and restart when you reach zero. This way you’ll know how long you’ve been in the shower.
Remember: After the first shock, the whole experience gets a lot easier. But, it's still not going to be easy.
Step 3: Get Out, Dress Warm & Feel Amazing
After you hit your time goal. Get out and get dressed in something warm.
Most likely you’ll be feeling warm and fantastic at this point. Even if you feel warm, you need to still dress up because when the cold blood from around your organs starts to circulate back to your limbs, you might get cold.
Congratulate yourself. You’re following the footsteps of the ancient samurais. That’s not something a lot of people this day and age can say.
After building up your cold tolerance, a good way to step up your routine is to start supplementing with ice baths. Ice baths are really effective, but also require a lot of willpower. Don't worry, in time, the cold will become your second nature.
The breathing methods aim is to oxygenate your blood and cells throughout your whole body. The heightened oxygen levels lead to a range of powerful effects that start to take place; invigorating energy, profound ability to concentrate, euphoria.
Good thing to know when starting out:
- It’s normal to feel lightheaded or tingly while doing the exercise
- Set yourself to win; set a goal of doing at least one round every day
- The rhythmic breathing takes effort, so it's normal to feel resistance towards it, especially in the beginning
Here’s how Wim teaches the breathing method:
Step 1: Set Up The Practice
Sit in a posture that's the most comfortable for you. Meditation posture is good, but even lying down works well for the method. The most important thing is to make sure that your lungs can expand and contract freely and that you’re not in danger of falling down from the surface you are.
Step 2: Warm Up
Close your eyes and relax your body. Slowly draw in a big breath, until you feel a slight pressure inside your chest in the area of the solar plexus. Hold the breath for a few moments and then exhale deeply, letting all the air out of your lungs. Once your lungs are empty, hold it for a moment. Repeat the warm-up for 10-15 rounds.
Step 3: Take 30 Power Breaths
Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon. Inhale through the nose or mouth and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully. Close your eyes and do this around 30 times. Symptoms could be lightheadedness, tingling sensations in the body.
During this phase, toxic carbon dioxide leaves from your body, and oxygen floods your blood, vitalizing and alkalizing your system.
Step 4: After 30 Breaths, Exhale Deeply & Hold
After the 30 rapid successions of breath cycles, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using any force. Then let the air out and hold for as long as you can without force. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex.
The holding phase lowers the tension of oxygen in your blood and signals you to awaken within every cell of your body. A still breath leads to a still mind.
Step 5: The Recovery Breath
Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 10 seconds and this will be round one.
Rushing oxygen to your lungs and organs gives you an energy rush and the controlled release of adrenaline leads to a state of natural ‘high’.
Step 6: Repeat for 3-4 Rounds
In the beginning, a good number of rounds to start with is 3-4. Once you get more experienced, you can start adding rounds and getting deeper and deeper into the experience. Long breathing sessions with lots and lots of rounds can be extremely powerful.
As you repeat the process, your mind and body start getting more and more relaxed and energized.
Steo 7: Meditate & Enjoy The Feeling
After you complete the rounds, just settle in for meditation. You can start scanning your body from head to toe or just concentrate on being aware of your breath. Relax and let the invigorating energy fill your body.
1. Get comfortable in a good posture
2. Take 10–15 warm up breaths
3. Take 30 powerbreaths
4. Exhale completely and hold the breath as long as you can
5. Inhale deeply and hold it for 10 seconds
6. Repeat for 3-4 rounds
7. Meditate and enjoy
When you start any new regimen to improve your life, do you quickly find yourself reciting
… “Where are the results?”
Do you ever see a farmer digging up the seeds after two days of planting them, wondering
... “Where the hell is the crop?”
No! A farmer knows that it takes time for the seed to grow. He doesn’t go digging it up every day because he knows it’s just going to ruin the crop.
And that’s what often happens with our practice. We start relentlessly investigating what kind of results we’re already supposed to have achieved. Only to get discouraged and disappointed. That's why the third pillar is so important.
It takes dedication and commitment to get it right. But the long-term benefits? Those are some powerful stuff.
The health benefits are amazing. Over time you probably find yourself getting less sick or not sick at all. Your body feels more resilient, vital and stronger.
The biggest transformation is the person who you become.
There will be days when you’re excited to take the cold shower, and there will be even more days when it's not going to be your absolute favorite thing to do right at that moment.
You start the shower. Turn the knob to freezing. Stand in front of the stream.
And watch as the siren-like voices start flooding your head:
“You shouldn't do this. It’s way too cold for you”
“Remember that flua few weeks ago? You definitely shouldn't be doing this now”
“You’ve done a good job the past few days. Give yourself a break. You'll do it tomorrow!”
After a few weeks of doing this, you’ll start to see a pattern. You’ll start to recognize who it is that always comes to you when you turn the shower to the coldest setting.
30 minutes ago you decided that you are going to do this. Now suddenly there’s a part of you that hates the idea of doing it. Who was it then moment ago that decided that you should jump in the cold shower?
Well, that was the Nature. That's the higher part of yourself that wants you to be happy, connected and powerful.
So, which one are you going to listen?
This way, you start conditioning your mind. When the fear starts talking, you don't give it power. And what you notice is not the cold getting warmer. But the volume of the fear getting smaller and smaller. Eventually, the fear gets so small that it doesn't have any power over you. You just do what you set out to do.
And when you hit that point in your practice, the effect starts to spill over to everything in your life and you become practically unstoppable. A fundamental shift happens in your mind and from that point forward when you decide to do something; to start a business or a diet, ask a girl on a date, move to a new country -- whatever it is.
You just do it
If you’ve read this far, you're probably one of those people who is dedicated to improving their life. You want the best information so you can get the best results.
If that's you, I’ve got something you’re really going to like
Wim Hof has a comprehensive 10- week training program on his method.
And you can do it from your home. I have and so have many others.
My Wim Hof Method Review
I always hate when I’m not quite sure what’s the most optimal way to start doing any new routine. Its that nagging voice in the back of your head that’s constantly doubting if you’re doing it the right way. That’s one of the main reasons why 10 Week Course was so invaluable to me. The program is an incredible resource for a clear and structured way to approach the techniques.
One thing I also found really powerful about the course was that I had the ability to “alter” my state of mind really quickly. Even if I had a bad day, hangover or was just generally feeling blue, checking out the videos from the course, doing the breathwork and hopping on to a cold shower immediately changed my mood to unreal stratospheres. I was suddenly on top of the world, confident, relaxed and ready to get to work.
It's crazy because I’ve tried everything under the sun and it really is the only thing I've found to work and give results immediately.
When I started out the practices, I was absolutely riveted with different questions. The course and the community gave me explanations and answers to pretty much ANYTHING that I could come up with. So I had a crystal clear direction all the time about what I was doing and where I was going.
So if you are just starting out, the course is absolutely the best way to start making progress in an organized guided way. It gives you all the tools you need to self-sustain the practice after the 10 weeks. Like the age-old idiom goes: teach a man to fish and he feeds himself for a lifetime.
It's not going to be easy and I'm sure that’s not what you’re even looking for.
But believe me -- The results really, really, really are worth it.
Here’s what people are saying:
“I did the course, and I continue to do the course. And the implications of doing this are immense. Not only does it bring calmness to your spirit, which is probably the most important thing, but it's enhanced my performance and I believe this is a tool I’ll be able to use in the future to combat sickness, disease and any other thing I have to deal with in my life.” - Laird Hamilton, the greatest big wave surfer alive
“I'm currently fighting for the UFC, and my next fight is going to be for the championship… Last week I had a fight and fought against the number one contender in the UFC. At the day of the fight, I felt my nerves coming, but I just reverted back to my breathing exercises. I was very calm on the fight day and during the whole process and I felt energetic. I finished him in the second round. I think we recognize there’s a 100% added value (in using the methods). I definitely recommend it to everyone. It is a unique method that's going to change the world” - Alistair Overeem, UFC, Strikeforce, DREAM
Here’s why you should get the course:
- You get a 10 week video program which is taught by Wim Hof. So you can go straight to the source, get the best information and advance your practice in a structured, clear way.
- You get a workbook which allows you to track the results with precision, so you can clearly see how you are advancing and what kind of improvements you are making in your life.
- You get an access to Wim Hof's Facebook Community. So you’ll have a community of +11 000 likeminded people which you can access 24/7 for help, guidance or just sharing your progress and wins. It’s always more fun journey with other people around you.
- You’ll get a cold exposure program, yoga exercises, and extended breathing instructions. So you can go in-depth on learning the method and start making progress fast with confidence.
After you checkout, you’ll get sent your access information to the course and you can start watching the videos right away.
Have You Tried The Wim Hof Course?
What were you experiences? Good? Bad or Uneventful? Please share your comments below.
Affiliate Disclosure: I am an affiliate of the Wim Hof Course. This means that if you buy via my link I will get a commission. This is at no extra cost to you. This review is my own reflection of my experiences using the Method.