This is an introductory article on the man behind the method, Wim Hof. If you have any questions on practicing the Wim Hof Method, please check the link to the Innerfire website at the end of this article. We also have a staff member who is a WHM certified instructor, so feel free to email us with any questions! Be safe :)
To be an athlete it takes strength, determination, and dedication. To be an elite athlete, it takes countless hours of training, focus, and proper recovery. Some individuals push it even further and become an extreme athlete: a marriage of all of the previous qualities plus mental toughness, grit, and a little bit of crazy.
Enter Wim Hof.
Better known as “The Iceman”, this Dutch extreme athlete has seemingly defied logic and the rules of nature time and time again with his ability to withstand freezing conditions. Hof’s accomplishments include 21 Guinness World Records, spanning feats of swimming underneath ice, climbing and running through intense environments (both hot and cold) in nothing but his shorts, and being submerged in containers of ice for extended periods of time.
Over the years, Hof’s accolades have attracted the attention of scientists. Baffled by his superhuman abilities, researchers have performed multiple experiments and tests on Hof. In a 2014 study performed by scientists in the Netherlands, Hof was injected with an endotoxin and monitored for the impending infection and strain on his nervous system. Hof surprised his audience by successfully influencing his innate immune response through a special breathing technique.
Believing his body may have been the anomaly, scientists asked Wim if he could train others to do the same thing. Hof agreed, training 24 participants in his breathing practice. 12 were used as a control and 12 randomly selected to receive the endotoxin. Researchers were shocked when EVERY single participant displayed the same results as Wim - no symptoms, unlike the control group who couldn't practice the breathing.
In a second study in 2018, Hof was subject to prolonged extreme cold exposure. Once again, Hof’s body remained regulated and composed in periods of immense stress. The results from these studies are helping scientists to discover methods of natural pain suppression and ways to battle autoimmune diseases.
Hof attributes his achievements to a unique combination of breathing exercises, cold exposure, and unwavering mental toughness. This trifecta, what he has deemed the “Wim Hof Method,” is believed to strengthen the immune system, increase energy, reduce stress and heighten focus and determination. Currently, Hof’s mission is to share the power of his method and help others become a little more superhuman. Though we may not be swimming in icy lakes or climbing to the top of Everest without shoes on, perhaps with a little practice, we can all become masters of our mind and body just as Wim Hof is.