Wim Hof: The Dutch Iceman

Wim Hof's achievements have amazed people all over the world. He says that his breathing technique allows him to withstand extreme temperatures. But how does he do it? Keep reading to find out more!
Wim Hof: The Dutch Iceman

Last update: 06 April, 2019

Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, holds twenty Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures. He climbed Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro wearing only shorts and shoes. He’s able to stay inside freezing-cold ice baths for hours and he ran a marathon in the desert without drinking any water.

His goal is to show that he has total control of his body and mind. Hof’s power is so extraordinary that scientists, doctors, neurologists, and psychologists from all over the world want to study him. His body has essentially become a research subject.

Wim Hof trained for years to develop the special breathing technique that allows him to control his cardiovascular, endocrine, muscular, and nervous systems.

The Wim Hof Method

In 1995, Hof’s wife had a serious psychotic episode that resulted in suicide. That changed Hof’s life completely and inspired his method. He wanted to show the world that willpower can take you anywhere and that you can control your body and mind.

People started calling Hof “The Iceman” because withstanding cold temperatures is one of the pillars of his method. Although the Wim Hof Method seems simple, mastering it is really difficult.

Wim Hof on ice.

Many people see Hof as an example that humans are capable of controlling their bodies. His breathing method allows people to influence their immune system as well as their sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

In theory, this would mean that everyone has the power to voluntarily reduce their systemic inflammation and release certain hormones like adrenaline and dopamine. All of that can have very interesting health effects. The Wim Hof Method may also help relieve depression-related symptoms and strengthen the body and mind.

Several studies corroborate Hof’s claims. For example, some studies show that focused breathing (also important for yoga and meditation) can affect health and body weight. This is because adequate breathing techniques can reduce inflammation and lower stress levels.

Connection to the natural world

Hof feels that people shouldn’t try to change their surroundings without first considering the consequences of doing so. We use air conditioners and heaters to regulate room temperatures year round. We eat food out of season and are slowly contaminating our planet with pollution.

Stages of the Wim Hof Method

Exposure to extreme cold

Hof explains that low temperatures contract the muscles around your veins, which improves circulation and reduces your heart rate.

Cold therapy, when done correctly, may offer health benefits. Hof argues that it strengthens your immune system, restores hormonal balance, improves sleep patterns, and increases endorphin production, which puts you in a better mood.


Hof believes that most of us aren’t aware of the enormous potential of our breathing. He thinks that experimenting with your breathing rhythm can have significant health benefits. His conscious breathing method increases blood oxygen levels, which may give you more energy, reduce stress, and improve immune response to pathogens.

A photo of Wim Hof in the arctic.


Meditation is the path that leads to body awareness and mental clarity. According to The Iceman, the mental aspect of his method is essential for success.

Hof’s life philosophy is to live each day to the fullest.

More than one interviewer has asked him what he would like to achieve. His answer is always the same: that he wants to forget the pain of loss and give love back to the world.

In conclusion, scientists, neurologists, and psychologists from all over the world are amazed by his achievements. Wim Hof is thrilled to be contributing to scientific research and glad that the scientific community can use his body to learn more about healing and the prevention of incurable diseases.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.