Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.
He developed the Wim Hof Method – a combination of breathing, cold therapy, and strong, intentional commitment that can unlock true human potential. With his Wim Hof Method, he teaches people from all over the world, from celebrities and professional athletes to people of all ages, to control their bodies and mind and achieve extraordinary things.
And what’s more extraordinary is that he has proved his method to the scientific world.
In this Mindvalley podcast episode, Wim Hof shares his insights with Vishen about breathwork, cold exposure, mindset, and true human potential.
Wim Hof says that we are designed to do so much more than we have been schooled; that’s why he believes that humanity needs a new school that will teach them of life that he sees as the process of uncovering your true potential through feeling and being it.
It’s that childlike urge that lives within each of us that wants to explore the world spontaneously and fearlessly, living from our intuition and instinct.
This is what he calls a school of life, based on a new paradigm that our unlimited potentiality continues until we’re neurologically alive, and this is what makes it so exciting.
Wim sees his mission in changing the fundamentals of science by proving what humans are truly capable of.
The Seeker Becomes the Finder
Seeking starts with questioning everything that the world considers normal such as war, disease, depression, anxiety, cruelty, and suffering.
And then the seeker trains the mind through patience and becomes the finder of true human potential.
Wim compares it with the caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly – this is how natural it is for us to bloom in life on multiple levels, not only in the physical sense.
He says that humans have not only a physical body but also a magnetic body, an astral body, a spiritual body, an emotional body, a mental and a lymphatic body.
They are all meant to bloom in the sense of development.
The brain is like a tree with its vast neurological networks that should be expanding and growing – so is consciousness.
The Secret of Placebo
Wim and his breakthroughs have been studied by 8 universities to show how virtually anyone can be trained to find a neurological connection with the deepest part of the brain and tap into the immense power of natural self-regulation.
In 2011, Peter Pickkers, MD and professor of experimental intensive care medicine at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, and his colleagues injected E. Coli bacteria to healthy volunteers, deploying inflammatory chemicals resulting in flu-like symptoms such as a fever and a headache.
They did the same to Wim Hof, who was engaged in his meditation and breathing techniques. What they found is that as it entered their bloodstream, cortisol levels shot up to levels far beyond that of the healthy volunteers. Their nervous system fought it off 100%.
Pickkers said: “After endotoxin administration, the increase of the stress hormone cortisol in Hof was much more pronounced compared to other healthy volunteers. We know that this hormone is released in response to increased autonomic nervous system activity, suppressing the immune response. In accordance, the levels of inflammatory mediators in Hof’s blood were much lower. On average, Hof’s immune response was decreased by 50 percent compared to other healthy volunteers. In addition, hardly any flu-like symptoms were observed. These results are definitely remarkable.”
Later, in 2014, the experiment was conducted with Wim’s students, who showed the same extraordinary results.
Wim explains that this experiment has proved that the human immune system can fight any inflammation, and it takes only one person to break the paradigm and show the way to others.
He says, “If one human can do it, then other humans can do it as well.”
This is what he calls a neurological awakening to a new possibility, also known as the secret of a placebo.
It’s through the power of our mind we are able to connect to the deepest part of our brain consciously.– Wim Hof
And if you can do that, where else can you go?
Wim believes that we are now at the threshold of entering the deepest levels of our minds. And it’s been registered by the brain scans that showed how simple breathing techniques activate 100% of the neural activity of the brain.
When it happens, it begins to change the biochemistry that enables your consciousness and perception to expand.
And now, it’s there for everyone to make it their choice to enter and explore their fullest brain potential.
Wim Hof’s Method
It’s the uninhibited flow coming from within into the power of your intention, – he says.
What Wim means is that before he faces the challenge, he appeases his mind by the power of his intention that programs the mind and the body into the intended outcome.
Wim calls it an intentional gut feeling that instructs the mind and the body how to react, and through the natural power of our intention, we can bring down the inflammation that’s the root cause of any disease.
He talks about the case of a person who suffered from severe arthritis and couldn’t do a single pushup.
He showed him a breathing technique that affects human performance and fights inflammation within 50 seconds… and he did 40 pushups without breathing in front of an entire crowd.
He explains that when you breathe in and hold your breath, squeezing it in, and then direct it into your eyes, it brings the cerebral spinal fluid into your brain that brings the inflammation down.
What happens is that you prepare your body and your brain in a breathing cycle, and then as you hold your breath, it boosts your performance, and you can do more than you normally do.
And as you release your breath, you can do even more.
Not only does it amplify your body performance, but it also brings the inflammation down.
When you breathe deeply, you change the biochemistry of the brain and go deep into the lymphatic system. The oxygen cleanses the lymph and activates white cells that fight inflammation.
He compares the breathing process with riding a bicycle that needs some intentional focus in the beginning before it becomes the extension of your body and allows you to ride it freely.
Deep breathing activates the neurotransmitters that represent our human will, so it can go anywhere in the body that needs healing through the intention.
So you can direct your body through the power of your intention, and this process happens naturally due to alkalizing the brain.
Wim says that breathing allows you to consciously connect to the pain through the power of your intention. It alkalizes the brain and changes the neurology of your body by activating the right hormones.
That’s how you can become the master of your mind and the master of your entire life.
In Wim’s words, it’s the Science of the Soul.
And he has proved to modern science that it’s our natural human power that can be tapped into from within.
Wim explains his Method in detail in his book The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential.
And if you want to experience how breathing and believing can unlock your true potential, check his website www.wimhofmethod.com
Great Change Starts Here
And if you’re looking to level up your health and longevity, look into Mindvalley’s Longevity Blueprint Quest with Ben Greenfield. You’ll learn the five most dangerous aging and fitness myths, and how you — no matter your age or current fitness levels — can craft a strong, lean, sexy, and functional body that will last a lifetime.