How To Become Superhuman: The Wim Hof Method

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Shannon Terrell
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We all want to lead healthy, happy, more fulfilled lives, but the question of how to go about doing it is usually one we have trouble answering. There’s never a one size fits all to this conundrum, because there are lots of ways we can go about pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Whether you sign up at a local gym, opt to try bedtime yoga, or integrate a daily walk into your lunch break, you can guide yourself toward greater health one step at a time.

But if you’re looking for something new to explore — the Wim Hof Method might be just what you need. It’s easy to practice, free to try, and boasts powerful results.

Who Is Wim Hof?

The Wim Hof Method is currently taking the world by storm, and for good reason. Wim Hof is one incredible human being.

Before we get into the practical details of the Wim Hof Method, let’s chat first about who Wim Hof is. Because, believe us, you’re going to want to hear this man’s story.

Wim Hof, also called The Dutch Daredevil, also called The Iceman, was born in Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands, in 1959. Wim is now fifty-eight years old and has done much in his life to both inspire and astound those around him.

For starters, Wim Hof holds a staggering twenty-six (yes, twenty-six!) world records. He holds a world record for the longest ice bath (one hour and forty-four minutes), for running a full marathon in the Namibian desert without water, and for hanging on just one finger at an altitude of 2,000 metres, to name a few.

Wim Hof explains that there is a method to his madness — that the physical feats he’s accomplished can be attributed to his ability to control his inner nature. And that’s what the Wim Hof Method is all about.

Wim speaking on stage about the Wim Hof Method
Wim Hof speaking about his Everest Climb at Mindvalley’s A-Fest.


The Wim Hof Everest Adventure: Climbing Mountains Half Naked

What I am capable of, anyone can learn.

—Wim Hof

Wim Hof routinely exposes his body to extremes in temperature not many can contend with. Among his collection of world records, he holds one for running a marathon above the Arctic circle in Finland dressed in nothing but shorts. He also ran to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in nothing but shorts. He also ascended to 22,000 ft on the slopes of Mount Everest, again — wearing nothing but shorts.

Wim Hof seems to possess a superhuman ability to withstand the extremes of Mother Nature, yet suffers no ill effects. Hence, his nickname: The Iceman.

So, how is this possible? Was Wim Hof simply blessed with magical genes? Medical scientists and researchers have been keen to find out. Wim has been the subject of many a study over the years, and each time, researchers confirm that while Wim Hof’s abilities are extraordinary, he is still quite human. Superhuman, perhaps. But human.

Wim Hof wanted others to understand how he does what he does. There is a method to the wild physiological feats he accomplishes. And that’s what the Wim Hof Method is all about.

How Does The Wim Hof Method Work?

Wim Hof has created what he calls The Wim Hof Method – a three-step program designed to reacquaint you with the true power you possess in your body.

Wim Hof explains that we have forgotten our inner nature. That we, as human beings, have grown out of touch with both the natural world and the raw power we possess in our bodies. We’ve become sedentary, distracted, and stressed out.

The Wim Hof Method seeks to combat these factors to unveil the true potential of our bodies. Wim is adamant that anyone could do the things he does — all they require is the right coaching. And it’s true because students of the Wim Hof Method have gone on to summit snow-covered mountains wearing (you guessed it!) nothing but a pair of shorts.

The Three Pillars Of The Wim Hof Method

Unless you are willing to experience new things, you’ll never realize your true potential.

—Wim Hof

The Wim Hof Method is based on three pillars: cold therapy, breathing, and mindset.

1. Wim Hof’s Cold Therapy For Decreased Inflammation

Cold therapy is something Wim Hof is a huge advocate of. If you’re not familiar with the cold therapy movement, check out a local cryotherapy clinic near you. They’re cropping up all over the place, with people like Wim Hof speaking at length on the intrinsic physiological benefits of cold therapy.

Cold therapy involves exposing yourself to temperatures well below the balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit we’ve all become so accustomed to. In fact, cryotherapy chambers immerse clients in a chamber filled with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -200ºF for up to ten minutes at a time.

Cold therapy has a host of powerful benefits for the body, including:

  • Improved circulation
  • Improved immune system
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased metabolism

You can partake in cold therapy right at home, too! Don’t worry — no ice baths necessary (unless you really want to, of course!).

Wim Hof teaching a group of Mindvalley's community how to take a cold bath at Mindvalley's A-Fest in Montego Bay, Jamaica with the Wim Hof Method
Wim Hof teaching a group of Mindvalley’s community how to take a cold bath at Mindvalley’s A-Fest in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Wim Hof suggests the following method for exposing yourself to cold therapy at home:

  1. Take a shower with warm water for ten minutes.
  2. Before you get out of the shower, change the temperature to cold. Make the water as cold as you can stand it.
  3. Stand under the cold water for a full thirty seconds, then get out.

You can gradually begin to increase the amount of time you stand under the cold water until you’re able to take your normal shower using just cold water.

2. Wim Hof’s Breathing Technique For Alkalinity

Our bodies possess an internal pH that swings between acidity and alkalinity. While our bodies prefer a more neutral pH, more often than not, our internal chemistry leans toward acidity.

Why? Well, the chronic acidity that plagues many of us is twofold in nature: it can be a result of the food we eat, and it’s further antagonized by stress.

When the body is too acidic, many of our internal systems run amok. Our hormones get thrown out of whack, we experience brain fog and chronic fatigue, and we’re likely to experience stubborn weight gain that we just can’t seem to shed.

Wim Hof’s breathing technique, the second pillar of the Wim Hof Method, encourages alkalinity in the body, bringing better balance to our physiological systems.

Here’s how to practice the Wim Hof breathing method:

  1. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  2. Get into a comfortable position, with your spine erect but shoulders and neck relaxed.
  3. Take 40 deep breaths, filling your lungs to their capacity. Use your diaphragm to fill your belly like a balloon, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  4. After the 40th exhale, stop, and hold your breath, lungs empty of air.
  5. Hold on as long as you can. Once you need to take your next breath, do so, then exhale, emptying your lungs entirely once more.
  6. Begin the process again, until the twenty minutes is up.

This breathing practice helps cleanse the body of excess carbon dioxide that fails to be expelled during the shallow breathing anxiety brings on. By taking deep, rejuvenating breaths, we’re flushing our bodies and cells with the much needed oxygen it wants and deserves.

Try this method at home, perhaps in accompaniment with your meditation practice. You’re sure to feel a tangible difference.

Curious to see what happens if you try doing as many pushups as you can after doing this breathing method? Well, this video of Wim Hof with Vishen Lakhiani will be sure to satisfy your curiosity:

3. Wim Hof’s Determined Mindset

The last and final pillar of the Wim Hof Method? Mindset. Wim Hof has no specified practice for the final pillar. But the final pillar is what upholds the first two practices.

In order to succeed with the cold therapy and the breathing exercise, you must possess the right mindset. You must be committed.

Wim Hof explains, “If you want conviction, dig within yourself.”

Real change, genuine growth takes time. But step by step, we can bring ourselves closer to the life we truly want to live. We must remain steadfast and committed to our goals, to see them through to the end. We’re capable of more than we realize. We just have to be willing to take a chance on something new.

Are you willing to try the Wim Hof Method for better health, energy, and vitality? Tell us what you think about it in the comments below!

Shannon Terrell

Shannon Terrell

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