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The Wim Hof Method. Is It Legit?

The Wim Hof Method. Is It Legit?

The Wim Hof Method. You may have heard of it. You may not. Well if you haven’t, I’m about to tell you about my understanding of it, what I think of it, and whether I think it is of value for you, the reader.

The creator, Win Hof, sells a 10 week course detailing his method. It includes breathing exercises, cold exposure as well as (apparently) strength and flexibility exercises. I think the strength and flexibilty exercises are an add on to the core, which is the breathing exercises and the cold exposure. I think it’s hard to sell a 10 week course online that just consists of a breathing exercise.

Wim Hof has runs on the board, so to speak. He is apparently the holder of 20 world records. However, when looking at the claims on his Wikipedia page, you notice right away that it is littered with [citation needed]. This is put up by Wikipedia editors when claims are made by the writers of a page without backing. It should be seen (rightly) for what it is – a big red flag.

One of the big claims is that he has broken the record for ice immersion (why is that even a thing?).  OK, yeah that’s great. Let’s go to a bit of basic biology here. Humans adapt. If you regularly expose yourself to  cold, you get better and handling the cold. What is cold to an Australian is nothing to a Russian for example. Wim has just taken this to the extreme.

The other claim that is made he can handle the cold better than anyone else because of his special breathing exercise, which allows him conscious control of his nervous system and immune system.

There may be some truth to this; I don’t really know.

However, what I do know is that the so-called Wim Hof Method is essentially a repackaging of yoga pranayama exercises and cold shock therapy (something I discussed in cold showers ) . I agree with what he is doing. Pranayama is excellent and I have done it on and off for years. Cold shock therapy is also something I consider to be of great value.

So, yeah I think what he is doing is sound. I also don’t have a problem with him making a living from his knowledge.

However, what I do not agree with is marketing it as something revolutionary and as a result charging people around $200 for the privilege of finding out stuff that is 1) freely available, and 2) has been around for thousands of years.

I also have grave reservations about the marketing claim that it will change your life. On this blog I have written about what I consider to be a number of important nutrients and exercises that contribute to health. I usually work on a bang for bucks approach. But it is not any one thing that will change your life, it is a cumulative total of understanding the right balance of nutrition (focusing on the very highest value stuff), and the various forms of exercise that can be done to achieve a good level of all round health.

So what is the Wim Hof breathing method? It is breathing in and out for for 30 breaths about one second in on second out with a moderately forceful expulsion of the breath each time, followed by holding the breath in for as long as you can, breathing out and holding it out for as long as you can.

Like I said, essentially a yoga pranayama exercise.  In particular, one known as the bellows breath. I have a link to the bellows breath.

For more comprehensive information about Pranayama exercises, I strongly recommend the guy in the video. His stuff on Pranayama is here.

So to sum up – Wim Hof method good and valid. Claims made about the method to market it – not good.

I intend to actually create a video soon to show my daily Pranayama routine in the near future. This will give clarity to those who don’t know, so watch out for it.

About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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