He holds 20 world records, including a world record for having the longest ice bath (In 2011, he stayed immersed in ice for 1 hour, 52 minutes and 42 seconds). He has climbed Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes. He has run a full marathon (42.195 kilometers in 5 hours and 25 minutes) above the Arctic Circle in Finland (at −20°C) — dressed in nothing but shorts. He has run a full marathon in the Namib Desert (at 50°C) — one of the world’s oldest and largest deserts — without water and food.
He is a “Superhuman.” He is “The Iceman.” He is Wim Hof, a Dutch daredevil. His secret? Breathing exercises and cold therapy. Hof could achieve unbelievable feats in extreme temperatures with ease using ‘The Wim Hof Method’— a breathing technique that allows him to control his autonomic nervous system, boost his immune system and fight off diseases.
Hof told GQ:
“You become charged [after hyperventilation]. Carbon dioxide goes out. Oxygen comes in. The body becomes oxygenated. PH levels goes up. At a certain point you’re so fully charged, you change the chemistry in your body.
“The cold is your warm friend. Today our bodies are no longer stimulated by the cold. When we’re cold we turn on the heating or put clothes on. Our capillaries and veins no longer have to work like they’re meant to. When we embrace the cold, this is when magic happens [after cold therapy].”
You can do what Hof can do with his 10-week online video program,. For $199, Hof’s method promises to “boost your immune system to bulletproof yourself and feel fully charged; make you a super version of yourself; help you learn ancient techniques in combination with modern cutting edge strategies to increase your health and wellbeing; and aid you in hacking your body using cold therapy to feel energized during the day, while sleeping like a baby at night.”
The Wim Hof Method is similar to Tummo Meditation (a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice) and Pranayama (yogic breathing), yet it is entirely different. The Guardian reports:
The program is three-pronged: cold exposure, starting with icy showers; breathing exercises that resemble “controlled hyperventilation” designed to flood the body with oxygen and raise its pH level; and finally, exercises such as headstands and forward bends.
To test Hof, Vice asked hosts Matt Shea and Daisy-May Hudson to learn his method and climb the freezing Mount Snezna in Poland in their shorts, for a documentary, Iceman. The result is astounding.
In the documentary, Hof’s son Enahm says his father’s decision to push his body this hard came after his mother committed suicide in 1995.
“Everything started there. My mum was psychotic. She had 11 personalities and she was never there for us. They stuff her up with pills and she committed suicide. So that was the beginning of my dad exploring the answers to all of life’s problems.”
— SONIMA (@LiveSonima) May 1, 2016
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