There are three main facets to the Wim Hof Method: regular exposure to, and often immersion in, cold temperatures; specific breathing techniques; and the practice of building willpower and self-control.
Cold immersion therapy has been growing in popularity in recent years- in large part due to mavericks like Wim Hof himself. Though some of the claims may seem outlandish- and scientific data backing them up is still relatively scarce- there is a growing body of evidence linking cold immersion therapy to numerous health benefits. A large number of people practice and support it, ranging from athletes to fitness gurus, celebrities to bodybuilders and influencers. Cold immersion therapy involves immersing oneself in cold water and/or ice- usually a paddling pool or bath filled with water and ice, or even just a cold shower- for a set amount of time.
In addition to this cold immersion therapy, Wim Hof has also developed several special breathing patterns and exercises. These allow practitioners to keep their bodies under his control, allowing them to endure extreme conditions and physical processes. They generally rely on deep, slow, easy breaths which ease tension and allow the practitioner to enter something of a meditative state.
This meditative state continues into the third pillar of the Wim Hof Method: development of willpower and self-control. This is core to the Wim Hof Method. It is one of the many ways in which a physical exercise like cold immersion can be used to foster skills that can be used in everyday life. Conscious breathing and cold therapy take tremendous amounts of dedication, commitment, patience and will-power. Those lacking it will not get very far if they don’t build it quickly. Those who stick with it will see their willpower grow exponentially.
The three pillars of the Wim Hof Method- cold immersion, breathing practice and will-power cultivation- will help a practitioner to improve focus, reducing stress levels and building mindfulness, even as the physical benefits of regular cold therapy build their bodies up into stronger, more resilient, more energised versions of themselves.
The Wim Hof Method was very controversial when it began- it still is, in many circles. Scientific evidence was scant, with most claims being made on the back of Wim Hof’s own experience and testimony. Some people have misjudged cold therapy and died whilst attempting it, over the years. However, as we begin to understand it further, in greater detail, with the above-mentioned growing academic exploration and scientific data underpinning our journeys, we can see exactly how and why the Wim Hof Method can be of benefit. Those following it with a trained practitioner will be able to do so safely and securely.