The wim hof method: updated 2017

Wouldn’t you love to know how the wim hof method can help you to never get sick again? Yeah that’s right, you can learn to control your immune system so you don’t get sick anymore or at least less often. Or maybe you deal with muscle pains that come from heavy workouts?

Cold water immersion is a way many people deal with their pains from working out but it’s also used to increase your health state in general.

the wim hof method title

Wim Hof aka the iceman is one of the people of whom you can say is a high performance individual. He is a holder of many world records and has started a new school of thought with his Wim Hof method. In this article we will discuss both his history, the exercises and what he’s currently doing.

We tried answering all the questions you may have!

Check out our infographic on how you might avoid getting sick by applying his method in your daily life!

Infographic about the wim hof method

The Wim Hof method: everything you need to know!


How Wim Hof started his journey.

Wim hof, born on april 20, 1959 in Sittard the Netherlands, started to challenge himself after his wife passed away in 1995. She committed suicide leaving him with four kids to raise on his own. In this search he found purpose and strength to do things that no person known to man has ever done!

As mentioned before, Hof holds 26 world records. One of them is that he was able to stay in a tub full of ice for two hours. Yeah that’s correct, a tub full of ice! He was able to keep his temperature high through focus and certain breathing exercises he has created over time.

He even climbed the Kilimanjaro in shorts and has crossed the dessert without drinking water.

As you can tell, the guy likes a challenge…
According to Wim Hof, if you follow his method you will also be able to handle your body through extreme discomfort. The Wim Hof method consists of three parts : breathing exercises, ice baths and concentration.

He claims that when you control these parts the benefits are endless. When doing the Wim Hof method you start of with breathing exercises, when you see video footage of this process, it almost seems as if they are getting in a trance.

Some people start crying while others claim to feel weird all over their body. According to Wim Hof the experience depends on the emotional baggage that you are carrying around. Emotions that have been suppressed for years tend to come out at that moment.

After the breathing exercise you slowly get into ice cold water, while focusing out your breathing technique. This will allow your body to adapt to its environment.

All exercises will be explained in detail below, let’s have a look 😉 

The science behind the Iceman’s method

According to Wim Hof you will be able to control your autonomous immune system after doing his exercises for a while .

Since 2010 the Iceman has been doing scientific research with universities in the Netherlands. In one of the tests, twelve people that had followed the Wim Hof method including the  iceman himself, had been exposed to a bacteria called  Escherichia coli which is supposed to trigger sickness within the test subjects.

There were also twelve test subjects who did not follow the iceman’s method that were exposed to the same bacteria. The surprising result was that all the people following the Wim Hof method were able to raise their adrenaline levels consciously and did not become ill.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me…

This is very important because until this moment the scientific community has stated that a person is not able to tap into the autonomous immune system. Also, it was noted that the adrenaline levels were a lot higher than a person who has a heart rate of 160bpm. 

Can I follow the Wim Hof method?

Yes you can!

The iceman training is gaining a lot of attention over the last years since there has been a trend in cold immersion in the health and fitness industry. There are many professional athletes that use cold therapy to recover from muscle pains they get from the hard workouts.

Although some athletes claim that it has no effect on them, the majority will tell you there is a significant reduction in inflammation after immersing in cold water.Research has shown that you do not necessarily have to use ice cold water, apparently if you take a bath in 24° water the results should be the same when it comes to reducing inflammation.

However this does not mean that this works the same for the Wim Hof method since it has not been tested yet what the effects on the auto immune system could be.

Reasons people follow the Wim Hof training:

Since starting this method, Wim Hof has gained a lot of followers. So much so that he is now training people so they can teach the method to others. It is not only athletes that come to the iceman for his newfound system.

There are people who are terminally ill that try to see whether the Wim Hof training can help them battle the disease. If it can’t cure they are at least looking for ways to make the pain easier to handle.

People that are just looking to improve their overall health are also taking part in the method and are noticing amazing results. If you would like some motivation to get started you can check our self motivation tips.

The three pillars of the Wim Hof method.


The Wim Hof Method is based on three pillars, we will explain exactly how it works:

breathing, cold therapy and commitment.

By combining these three you should see incredibly results according to Wim Hof himself. Some of the benefits are having more energy, better sleep, reduced stress levels, faster recovery etc.. but more of that below ;).

We will now delve deeper into these pillars and explain how it all works.

Remember, it is advised to consult your doctor before starting with this method! You need to know what your body is capable of if you don’t want to get hurt! 


What is the Wim Hof breathing exercise?

skrrtFrom the breathing technique alone you will see great results! You can control your breathing and stay calm in extreme conditions when doing it right. There are 4 steps to the process and we will list them all below.

  • You want to get comfortable,

you can sit or lay down but do it in a safe environment! It is possible that you will faint when going too deep.

  •  Then you want to start with the power breaths.

You inhale deeply through your nose or mouth and exhale through your mouth. You repeat this process 30 times and make sure it are short but powerfull breaths.

  • After doing these 30 powerbreaths, you breathe in fully one more time and exhale.

After exhaling try to wait with inhaling until you feel a gasp reflex which is defined as a natural reflex that automatically restarts breathing.

  • Then you inhale to full extent and hold your breath for 10 seconds. This is the end of the first round. You can repeat this process 3 times.

A bonus power up for advanced students

  • You can add yoga poses or push ups while holding your breath until you experience the gasp reflex. You should feel stronger without air than if you would be breathing!

In the following  video you can see Joe Rogan trying the breathing technique with Wim Hof himself!

How the cold therapy works.


You want to take enough recovery time from the breathing technique before exposing yourself to cold water. In the beginning you expose yourself to cold water for 15-30 seconds at the end of your shower. Don’t start with ice cold water immediately!

You slowly progress to a colder temperature every time.
Start off with the feet and slowly progress upwards. When you feel pain or start feeling unwell make sure to warm your body up again.

Once you have been doing this for a while you can take a cold shower in the morning without a problem. It is also advised to do this routine in the morning according to Wim Hof himself.

The transition to ice baths.

After a few weeks of undergoing cold showers you could start trying your first ice bath. Fill half a bath tub with a couple bags of ice. You should wait to get in the until there’s only 1/3 of  ice left.

Your first time should be about 10 minutes and it’s important to relax as much as you can. After the ice bath you could feel cold for a short period of time, this is known as the after-drop. Try consuming a hot beverage as this will fix the issue of feeling too cold.

Also, have a look at the side effects below so you know what you get yourself into! supervision is strongly recommended.

The importance of Commitment.

lastA big part of the wim hof method is commitment!

It is through serious concentration that one can tap into the auto immune system. Wim Hof sees this as an essential part of his technique. You must be very concentrated during the breathing method as well as the cold immersion.

If you are not concentrated when breathing and immersing yourself in the cold you might not get the benefits. 

The benefits of the Wim Hof method

some additional explanation on the health benefits of the Wim Hof Method

1) Reduced inflammation, studies have shown that cold therapy reduces pains that you get from intense workouts.

2) Higher energy levels, after the cold therapy one feels a lot of energy rushing through the body.

3) Reduced stress levels, immediately after performing the technique you should feel less stressed.

4) Controlling the immune system, when you control the three parts of the Wim Hof method you should be able to control your immune system just as Wim and his students have shown.

5) Improved focus and concentration, because your body got a kick from the cold water.

6) You can sleep better, just like when you take a hot shower. Now you just use the opposite, the cold water.

7) Improved blood circulation, this prevents the clogging of your veins.

8) The following study has shown us that this method could be effective against migraine.


Possible side effects of the Wim hof method.

A common side effect when doing the breathing exercise is feeling a bit light headed.  When feeling really uncomfortable you can always check with your doctor.

Avoid breathing in and out too deeply too fast because this could result in hyperventilating. Concentrate, be calm and composed.


If you experience any pain or heavy discomfort when doing the cold water exercise you should stop and warm up immediately. Don’ push yourself to hard when starting with the Wim Hof method.

Besides these few side effects we haven’t noticed many people complaining about major issues while doing these exercises.

Remember! Even Wim Hof himself says you should not be doing any of these exercises without supervision!  

Is the iceman’s training something you can trust?

Many people in the health industry claim that what the iceman presents as his method to be false.

However, as seen in the clinical trials it is obvious that Wim Hof is not fabricating this information. In the history of science, it has happened a lot that at first there was a certain misunderstanding of how things work and later on it got debunked.

It is probably the same here with the views on the auto immune system being triggered by one’s consciousness.

Does the Wim Hof training effects muscles?

There have been studies published showing that the Wim Hof method would have negative effects on the long term if you want to build muscle.

However, it might be the way how the research was set up that has to do with these results. In the tests they let athletes do an intense workout and let them subject themselves to cold water immediately after the workout. Dr Rhonda Patrick says that this may have effected the results!


The body needs time to recover from the workout before your immerse yourself in the cold water. Other trials done on cyclists who had done a serious workout session did see great results but here they had to wait about an hour before they did the cold therapy.

In the end it is up to you to see whether you can benefit from this technique or not.

We believe that it may be a very useful method. The scientific research shows a lot of promise when it comes to controlling your immune system.

Also, if you work out a lot and you are always in pain, it is advised to try this method so you can recover faster. This way you should be able to work out more and harder. 

Everybody should know about it right?

In the future this may very well be something taught in schools as basic information. Just think about it, if you can learn how to trigger your immune system to battle certain diseases we would rely much less on prescription drugs.

This way you can be healthier without filling your body with chemicals that might just be the reason why the disease are there in the first place.

And now it’s up to you

Make sure to leave a reply right now and let us know your thoughts on the Wim Hof method!

If you are interested to start learning the Wim Hof method you can go to Wim Hof’s site so you can follow the online video course made by Wim Hof himself.

It is about 8 hours long and you should be able to complete the course within 10 weeks. Once you have mastered this online course you can go to the advanced and master modules. For these modules you will have to go and meet up with some of the teachers of the method.

They will make sure you progress even further and benefit from this training.

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