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What is The Wim Hof Method?

The Wim Hof Method book cover

Who is Wim Hof?

Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, is a Dutchman who, through a combination of breathing techniques, cold exposure and meditation, has developed a method to control his autonomic nervous system and immune system. He has used this method to climb Mount Everest in shorts and without oxygen, run a full marathon in the Arctic Circle and set a world record for the longest ice bath.

In the 1970s, he began experimenting with extreme cold exposure as a way to gain control over his body and mind. Over the years, Hof developed a method of cold training that he claims can help people improve their health, increase their energy levels, and boost their mood.

The Wim Hof Method has been gaining popularity in recent years, with celebrities and athletes alike touting its benefits. While there is still much scientific research to be done on the method, there is no doubt that Wim Hof has helped many people improve their lives. He promotes his ideas through courses, television shows and books. 

What is The Wim Hof Method?

The Wim Hof Method has been shown to be effective in relieving stress, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation. It has also been shown to boost the immune system, improve cognitive function, and increase energy levels.

The Three Pillars of the Wim Hof Method

The Wim Hof Method (WHM) is a three-pronged approach to gaining voluntary control over the autonomic nervous system. The three pillars of the Wim Hof Method are:

1. Breathing Technique

The first pillar, breathing, is a central component of the Wim Hof Method. Hof teaches a specific breathing technique that he says can help people increase their energy levels, improve their mood, and reduce stress. The breathing exercises are designed to oxygenate the blood and help the body rid itself of toxins.

A specific way of breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system and allows one to voluntary control aspects of the autonomic nervous system that are normally outside of conscious control.

How to do the Wim Hof Breathing Technique

Warning: this breathing technique can affect motor control and, in rare cases, lead to loss of consciousness. Always sit or lie down before practising the techniques. Never practice while operating a vehicle, or in or near bodies of water.

1. Sit down in a comfortable position with your spine straight.

2. Take 30 deep breaths in through your nose, filling your lungs to capacity.

3. On the last breath, breathe out fully and then hold your breath for as long as you can.

4. When you need to breathe again, take another deep breath in and then let all the air out of your lungs.

5. Repeat the cycle of 30 deep breaths and holding your breath for as long as you can for 3-5 rounds.

The Wim Hof breathing technique is a great way to activate the sympathetic nervous system and to gain control over the autonomic nervous system. This technique can be used to improve mental and physical health, and to provide relief from stress, anxiety and depression.

2. Commitment

The second pillar, commitment, is about setting goals and taking action.

Hof states that, “Willpower and self-control are very important factors for a successful and happy life” and that by committing to a goal and taking action towards it, we can increase our willpower and self-discipline. This, in turn, can help us achieve our goals and improve our lives.


3. Cold Exposure

The third pillar, cold exposure, is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Wim Hof Method. Hof believes that by exposing ourselves to cold temperatures, we can stimulate our immune system, improve our circulation, and increase our energy levels. Cold exposure can also help us reduce stress, improve our sleep, and boost our mood.

The use of cold exposure trains the body to better handle stress and boosts the immune system. This can include taking cold showers or ice baths. Hof recommends starting cold exposure slowly, with brief exposures to cold water or air. As you become more comfortable with the sensation of cold, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exposures.



  1. Mike

    Thanks, found this guide to the breathing technique easy to understand. I’ve struggled with the Wim Hoff method, as not noticed any immediate benefits but I’ll keep trying ūüôā

    • The Art of Training

      Good luck, everyone is different! Some people have great results from this, so it is worth trying.

  2. Sarah

    I’ve been practicing the Wim Hof Method for a few months now and I have to say, I’ve noticed some really positive changes in my overall well-being. I’ve noticed my energy levels are higher and I’m less prone to getting sick. I’m also sleeping better and feeling less stressed. I’m definitely a fan of this method and would recommend it to anyone looking to improve their overall health and well-being.


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