A Cold Shower a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

The “ice man” Wim Hof and his method to activate our amazing human potential

Renowned as the “ice man,” Wim Hof has become a walking legend for his astounding feats. He is a real-life superhero from the Netherlands: Wim holds 26 Guinness World Records for actions that had once been thought of as impossible. He has run a half marathon in the arctic circle - barefoot! He has stayed in ice water for two hours straight and climbed Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts. And it’s not always about dealing with the cold. Wim has also run a full marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking a single drop of water and swum 130 meters beneath a frozen lake in Lapland on a single breath.

“You can literally
do the impossible."

He is an example and proof of what human potential lies within each one of us.  What he does seems to be superhuman and insane. Wim, however, shows us that his abilities are not exceptional and teaches people how to achieve the same results.

So, what is it about his method that helps unleash incredible abilities?

Wim Hof says his method is based on three pillars: a special breathing technique, cryotherapy and most important of all - focus. According to Wim, we live an existence that’s all about comfort, including wearing warm clothes and living in heated houses. Our bodies have lost the adaptation mechanism that we once had. By not being stimulative in our behavior, we have lost the connection to the depth of our physiology. Wim teaches that as humans, our bodies are naturally capable of adapting to any stressful situation. But because we have over the centuries fallen victim to comfort-zone behaviors, our genetics and physiology have deteriorated to the extent that we have lost many of our natural abilities, including those of the mind.

How does it work?

The scientifically recognized method of this Dutch extreme athlete is built on a special breathing technique that helps to strengthen the body and, above all, resistance to external stress.  Through conscious breathing, one is able to endure extreme temperatures. A study at the Den Haag University observed a test group who practiced his method. They became more resistant to influenza viruses than an untrained comparison group. Cryotherapy has been found to have very powerful immune-boosting effects while drastically reducing inflammatory processes in the body. 

In a nutshell, exposure to cold temperature releases adrenaline, which has vasoconstricting and anti-inflammatory effects. The cold initiates rapid production of white blood cells, whose job is to defend the immune system against viruses, bacteria and other intruders. Also, regular exposure to cold activates brown fatty tissues, that keep the body warm, while glucose and fatty acids are converted into heat – all of which contribute to the body’s ability to withstand the cold.

The training

Teaching his special breathing techniques and having them undergo a preparation process, Wim Hof prepares groups of people to hike up snowy mountains in just their swim suits! He shows how anyone can supercharge their capability. Simply speaking, we all have it in us. 

Wim Hof has published several books that goes in depth to explain the science and process behind his method. There are also simple tips that everyone can use in daily life to strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s resiliency.

Exercises for beginners:

– Start with a 5-second cold shower. You can progressively extend the time by two seconds every day.

– Whenever you’re near a cold river or stream - take off your shoes and wade in!

– The classic is a sauna session followed by a good cold bath! 

The cryo-treatment method is not only incredibly powerful for training the immune system, it also has great potential I psychotherapy – treatment for depression and anxiety. In the end, it comes down to living a healthy and energy-charged life. And that is exactly what Wim’s method is about. It helps people reach a place beyond the body and mind.

"You can
overcome disease,
improve your
mental health
and physical performance,
and even control
your physiology 
so you can thrive in
freezing temperatures.”