Mind & Body Tools to Optimize Your Life

The Wim Hof Method in Detail (& its Benefits to you)

The Wim Hof Method in Detail (& its Benefits to you)

How the Wim Hof Method was born…

Dutchman Wim Hof felt empty inside.

For a long time now, he had been feeling unhappy, and uninspired. His life missed ‘spark’.

Emotionally, as well as physically. He felt weak and lacking in energy every day.

And this had been the way ever since he was born.

Until this moment.



Wim Hof’s pain (and becoming world famous)

It was a beautiful winter morning

Wim was strolling through the local park, when he noticed there was a thin, bright sliver of ice on top of the pond.

It sparkled in the morning sun. And to him, it seemed like it was beckoning him.

He looked around to see if there were any people… and then quickly undressed and got into the ice cold water!


What he felt at that moment was difficult to describe

“I felt soo powerful. Mentally, as well as physically. The emptiness inside gave way to warmth. It was like I became connected with everything around me.” – Wim Hof


Breathing heavily, life was soaring through his veins. At that moment, he felt like the cold “awoke his inner fire”.

On top of that, he also experienced memory flashes from his traumatic birth (he was pulled out of his mother’s womb in a cold hospital hallway).

In short, he had a transformational moment that would decide the course of the rest of his life.


It’s not that Wim Hof was special

No, he was an ordinary guy, with a wife and children, who just happened to feel helpless and unhappy in life.

But that event had changed him. It was an intense healing moment, and since then, he had found his purpose in life.


He devoted himself

From that point on, he devoted his life to find his inner power. Through exposure to the cold, as well as through breathing and other exercises.

The cold became like a mirror for his personal power. He immersed himself totally in this exploration and finetuned his method.


The iceman

And while he was in the process of doing this, he caught the attention of many people. That’s because he performed what they called ‘superhuman’ feats.

People even nicknamed him “The Iceman”.


He became world famous

Wim Hof method: wim hof sitting in an icebath
Wim Hof setting another record

A few examples of the things he achieved:

he climbed Mount Everest in nothing but shorts and shoes, and he ran a half marathon barefeet (and in only shorts) in the arctic circle of Finland in midwinter…

He now carries 20 Guinness World Records, including the farthest swim under ice and the longest ice bath (just under 2 hrs).



Working together with science

Recently, he has been collaborating with the scientific, academic world to provide proof for the benefits his method has on the human body.

Three minute Wim Hof video presentation

Watch this short 3 minute clip showing Wim Hof going from collecting world records to participating in scientific experiments:

 “Wim Hof, the Iceman. From circus artist to scientist.”


Increasing your health & inner power

It’s not about the cold

As Wim Hof says,  he hadn’t set out on this path to obtain any world records. (To a certain extent, he now even considers these to be “circus acts”.)

For him, it’s not about  about “proving something” or about external confirmation.

And it’s not even about “coping with the cold”. The cold is not a goal in itself.

No, the cold is just a mirror.


A mirror for your health & inner power

For Wim Hof, his method is a way to take back our “inner power” and improve our health.

That’s where the real ‘gold’ is.


Climbing Kilimanjaro

For example, under his lead, a group of 25 people climbed mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (19,341 feet or 5,895 m high).

That might not sound like a big deal to you, until you read this:

  • they did it in shorts only (and temperatures get down to -20°C/-4°F at the top over there)
  • they did it in 48 hours (while normal climbers take at least 5 days to prevent altitude disease – and then still have a drop out rate of 40%)
  • and (best of all) that among the group there were people who were suffering from diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis, asthma and Chron’s disease…


wim hof method poland 471x347
Group training in Poland, in preparation for the Kilimanjaro trip



The most impressive part of this whole story is the fact that everybody can perform such feats. Not just Wim Hof.

With commitment and focus, everyone can do it. (If these ‘ill’ people can do it, everybody can.)

It puts into question what we think is possible. It challenges our limits.


Who is the Wim Hof method for?

This method is basically for everyone who wants to “power up” on their own inner strength.

It’s for anyone who wants to increase the sense of ‘feeling alive’ and enhance their wellbeing and “well feeling”.


So it’s not just for extremists… 

But rather, it’s about exploring what you’re capable of.

If you’re ready to put the limits you impose on yourself into question, and want to discover your potential, then you can benefit.


Using this method to heal yourself

People also use this method to heal themselves

There are scientific indicators that this method can help people to become healthier. (More about that in a minute.) That’s why people are actively using this method to find healing and relief for their condition (like for example rheumatoid arthritis and parkinson’s disease).

How is this possible?


Method similar to the ancient “tummo” technique

It’s not really surprising that people experience real change through this method. The benefits of “activating your fire” have been known for thousands of years.

Tummo is such an ancient (Tibetan Buddhist) meditation practice with that goal: to awaken your “inner fire”.


Inner fire

This fire or inner warmth is responsible for many things.

On the physical level it increases the temperature of our bodies, the heat of digestion and metabolism (the heat that powers chemical reactions and builds hormones).


But Tummo is much more than that:

  • on an energetic level, the Tummo fire blazes through the channels of the body, melting away the subtlest emotional blockages and surging throughout the body
  • and on the level of the mind, Tummo is the source of love, joy and happiness
  • and in a spiritual sense, fire is the burning in your soul, that moves you to fight for the things you believe in

And it’s this same fire that is stimulated in the Wim Hof Method as well.


Nature as a teacher

Wim Hof never had formal Tummo training, but rather: he developed his method out of his own experiences with “cold, hard nature”.

Let’s have a look at the benefits that have been seen to occur:


Wim Hof Method Benefits

Benefits of the Wim Hof Method
Boosted energy levels
Lowered stress level (instantly – after each session)
Your immune system becomes stronger. This will help you prevent illnesses
Better and quicker recovery after workouts/achievements
Improved focus and concentration
Improved sleep quality
You will get a natural mood booster – (because of the released endorphins aka “love hormones”)
Better circulation of the blood, preventing clogged arteries



So how does the Wim Hof Method achieve these benefits? What does it consist of?

Let’s look at he method in detail.


The method in detail

There are 3 parts to the method:


1. The breathing technique (video)

This is a breathing technique that generates heat in your body and ‘awakens the fire’ in you. When practiced regularly, people literally report feeling warmer during their days.

Watch an explanation of the technique here:

(This is an intro video to the method, where Wim Hof shows how powerful the breathing technique is, by means of doing simple push ups. The breathing increases your strength. You can literally do more push ups in combination with this breathing method!)



2. Commitment (focus)

To deliberately ignite the fire in you, and to keep devoting yourself to the exercises in order to reap the benefits, you need commitment and focus.

This is about challenging yourself to get out of your comfortzone.

By doing the exercises and focusing, you learn that you can move your boundaries. Up until you get to the point where you don’t need as much effort anymore. Where things go “by themselves”.

The exercises and guidance of Wim Hof help you in a step-by-step way with that transition.

One practical way of doing this, is to end your normal (hot) showers with cold water. You need focus for that, as well as a commitment to conquer your fear:


3. Cold shower therapy

After the breathing exercise (as well as meditation and other exercises) you’re ready for the next step.

Through gradual exposure to cold showers you improve your cardiovascular system: your veins are like little muscles that can be trained to pump blood (and warmth) through your skin and to the extremities of your body. These veins literally grow stronger.

Gradually working your way up

You can start by taking a cold-ish shower after a normal hot one. And gradually, day by day, you set the temperature a little colder.

You’ll see that your body gets used to it more and more. It starts to recover from the initial cold shock more efficiently and it is able to warm up your body parts more quickly.

And, more importantly, all this helps your body prevent future diseases.

Looks good, but…


Is there any “proof” to the Wim Hof Method?

This method has a deep effect on the cardiovascular system and the autonomous nervous system. The video in the beginning of this article already showed that this method is being researched actively by academics:

A may 2014 study (that was realized in part due to a grant from the Netherlands Rheumatism Fund), concluded that, by practicing this method, people are able to influence the autonomic nervous system (and thus their immune system) with their will.

That was something that was thought to be impossible up until then.

These results basically force a rewrite of any chapters in academic textbooks that talk about the nervous and the autonomous system (and this is NOT exaggerating).


New studies underway

This method is so new, and the last study was from early 2015. But since then, new grants have been applied for (by the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam).

The initial study used subjects who were healthy. But the goal for this future research is to find out whether this method can actually improve the condition of people who suffer from autoimmune disorders (like rheumatoid arthritis).


Some people aren’t waiting for these results

People are actively taking control of their own health:

  • Henk Van Den Bergh suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis for 27 years. He has been experiencing relief as a result of doing the Wim Hof method. He is now able to go to work again, something he couldn’t do for a long time due this illness. Read his story here



But it’s too cold!

The initial reaction of most people to a practice like this is:

“You’ve got to be kidding me! No way I’m going to get into ice cold water!”

(or similar 🙂 )

This practice just challenges people’s need for comfort hugely.


Do what you can

Well, you’ll be glad to know that this is not about totally letting go of comfort.

This isn’t about “spartan living”. There’s a time and a place for everything. You can still have comfort (and hot showers for instance).

No, this practice is just about committing yourself for a short time a day to a deliberate, intentional practice. A practice with the potential to revolutionize your outlook and the way you live your life.


It doesn’t matter if you can take a ‘little’ or ‘a lot’

You only need to find your “edge”. Your edge is that place where you are challenged, where you start to think “this is impossible for me” or “I can’t do this!”.

And that edge is situated at a different place for everyone. Some need a lot of challenge, others need to face a little less cold or go a little slower.


Find your edge

Everybody has his own individual edge, and this is about meeting your edge. Wherever it’s situated.

As long as you’re being honest with yourself about what you can take, then it doesn’t matter how ‘much’ or ‘little’ that is.

(Because at whatever level you might be, there’s always the next level. You’ll always have an edge to explore, whether you’re considered ‘beginner” or ‘expert’.)


Your particular comfort level doesn’t matter

I know people who just take cold showers, and that seems to be enough for them to be challenged.

That’s great. This is not a race.

There’s no pressure to prove anything to anyone else.

What matters is the feeling you have, and your commitment to yourself.


wimhofmethod picture
Don’t underestimate yourself either

There are people who go in fully, and challenge themselves hugely.

Just be honest with yourself. If you feel you need to up your commitment, then do that.


Take your time

You choose your level of challenge. Don’t go to the extreme just because others do it.

But don’t underestimate yourself either.


Online Video Course

Need support?

Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation for things, even if we know they’re good for us. We procrastinate. We ‘forget’ about them.

If that’s the case, having support from others who cheer you on is very useful. And having people to tell your experiences to, as well as to be accountable to, can do real wonders for your commitment.

And also, while the information given on this page can put you a good way along the path, it is also useful to hear it from the ‘horses mouth’. Which in this case is Wim Hof himself:


Online Video Course

That’s why enrolling for the Online Video Course is a powerful gestion. You’ll get all the exercises and training needed to feel physically powerful, feel mentally fit and cheerful, and to boost your immune system:

The course includes:

  • Yoga exercises + instruction guide
  • Cold shower therapy program
  • Extended breathing exercise video.
  • Extra short videos (4 to 10 minutes) with quick morning/lunchbreak exercises.
  • Ice bucket exercises to get rid of cold hands and feet
  • Bonuses (see below)



Together with the Online Video Course you also get:

  • Membership of the Wim Hof Method (WHM) community
    You will become member of the exclusive WHM community where you can share your thoughts and experiences, and get feedback.
  • Personal Support by Wim and his team
    You can ask questions about the method whenever you like.
  • Workbook
    You will get a workbook to track your progress, take notes and reach your goals.
  • Access on all devices
    The training is web based. So you can follow the course at home behind your computer or laptop, or on your mobile devices (tablets/smartphones).
  • More bonus material
    Exclusive access to special Wim Hof videos + 2 ebooks: “Wim Hof Method” and “Becoming the Iceman”.


Click here to get smthe Wim Hof Method smonline video course sm



17 Responses to The Wim Hof Method in Detail (& its Benefits to you)

  1. I just tried the focused deep breathing and then push ups– my previous max had been 30 and I just did 40, holding my breath the entire time. Feel amazing 🙂
    Thank you

  2. In an effort to lose weight, improve health, and save money – I have turned the thermostat down, ( *58F ). Also, I a am taking “Scottish showers” – start off warm, then go cold. Been doing this for two weeks, now. My results : less depression, less itchy/dry skin, better skin, in general, very shiny hair, some shift on the scale. [ I am female/49YO.] I plan to continue on.

  3. I have started doing the course but in doing so it has created tinnitus!! I’ve never had this before starting the method and don’t know what to do now.
    Has anyone else experienced this??

    • Hi Ali,

      I was doing these breathing exercises quite a lot but I have had tinnitus for the past three days, during which time I have stopped doing the exercises. I am worried I have done some permanent damage. Can you please let me know how you got on with this and if you also had to stop the exercises? Also, did the ringing stop for you? If so, how long did it take?
      Many thanks

    • It is very normal to hear inner sounds after practicing the method. It is just an increase in your energy flow manifesting as vibrations that you may perceive as sounds. It is a sign that your energetic body is changing. You have nothing to worry about.

    • “energy flow manifesting” … ” energetic body is changing”
      … AND THE MOST DANGEROUS “You have nothing to worry about.”

      Hominem unius libri timeo !!!

      Guys, tinnitus is very very serious thing, ask proper people about this.

  4. Hello,
    I’m on the third day of doing the breathing exercises and cold exposure. Today tried to do pushups. Fainted after the usual amount :/

    Is there something I did wrong?

  5. it has given me hope, and hope and basically saved my life. my focuscall has gotten better,and I feel at peace. It has helped my depression tremendously,are you good at the gym the breathing technique and I can lift so much more and endor so much more, it really great, I used to dread going, but now I love it , because I recovery and feel great.Thank you so much Win,I love you, so much for what you have given to me. Robert

  6. Forgive me if I’m being naive but if I completed the 10 week online course with focus and dedication would I be in a position to climb a mountain in winter wearing shorts?

    • Wim has taken two groups of ordinary people with no climbing experience to climb Kilimanjaro wearing only shorts. The oldest person was 76 years old. They trained for 2 months before making the climb. You probably need more training than the 10 week online course, but Wim has proven that any able bodied person can do it.