Sitting in a box of ice for almost 2 hours, climbing the highest mountains in the world in shorts and hanging on just one finger at an altitude of 2000 meters - no, these are not excerpts from the last James Bond film, but real events from life by the Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof. Cold training, special breathing techniques and incredible mental focus are the three factors that made these events possible! The scientifically recognized Wim Hof ​​method is now practiced by numerous fans from various countries.

What is the Wim Hof ​​Method?

breathing technique , Cold training and mental training with the highest concentration inwards are the three core points of Method 2 . Each can of course have an effect on its own, but only the combination of all three is maximally effective.

They should not be viewed in isolation, but influence each other. So it's more about a symbiosis than about three individual factors. The good news is that anyone can learn the Wim Hof ​​Method. How far you want to go is up to you.

Wim Hof ​​breathing

The Wim Hof ​​breathing could be described as a type of controlled hyperventilation. Her basic technique comes from the Tibetan meditation practice “Tummo”. This provokes a consciously controlled, strong increase in body temperature while simultaneously immunizing against low ambient temperatures. The whole thing happens without external aids 1 .
There is a simple guide for that Wim Hof ​​breathing , although of course there are numerous variations. The most popular one goes like this:

Breathe in and out deeply 15 times. This is followed by 30 power breaths, inhaling as deeply as possible through the nose and exhaling with power through the mouth. However, a remainder of air should always be actively kept inside. The stomach should actively move outwards and inwards. The breathing pace here should be very controlled, but still fast. In the last step, you take one last deep breath and control it through your mouth - this time all the air - slowly exhaled and not inhaled again. You basically hold your breath, but after exhaling. The chin should rest on the chest. You should stay in the position for as long as possible, for some people this is initially for 30 seconds, a minute is already relatively advanced.
You should then breathe in slowly again for 15 seconds. You go back into yourself with full focus on your breathing 3 .

Cold training

Cold training using the Wim Hof ​​method involves exposing the body to extreme cold in order to train the vascular system, burn body fat and then release happiness hormones. These lead to an increase in well-being and thus also an improvement in brain function and concentration. With the help of the breathing described above, you can barely feel the otherwise almost unbearable cold and can stay in it for longer 2 .

The cold training is increased in small steps. To start with, it's all about briefly setting the water to a very low temperature when showering and using Wim Hof ​​breathing. This first experience with the Wim Hof ​​method allows you to feel the strong positive effect of cold training. The intervals and time of the ice shower can be increased from time to time. It is best practiced daily. Those willing to go further can expose themselves to more extreme and different cold situations: ice baths, hiking in the snow, or going into a professional cold chamber are a few examples. However, they should be approached with caution and discussed with a doctor or someone in the field beforehand. The best thing to do for such goals is to get a Wim Hof ​​coach.

Mental training and the body

The third part of the Wim Hof ​​Method is based on the power of inner strength. It's about learning the connection between body and mind and having control over your thoughts and feelings 2 .
An important topic here is Self love and Self-esteem : These two inner attitudes are acquired because a positive self-image is the basis for a perfect one Mindset , powerful thoughts and inner strength. Also the Concentrate on a single thing must be learned in order to implement the Wim Hof ​​lifestyle. According to Hof, multitasking is inefficient and for the breathing techniques alone, the focus must be on this matter alone.
Sports and intense Strength training are a prerequisite for a healthy hormonal system and the reduction of internal stress. According to Wim Hof, physical training is extremely important for physical and mental health. Exercise should be integrated into everyday life every day - although the intensity can vary and it might be a walk in the forest at one time and an intensive training session at another.
Also the right one Nutrition is taken into account in the Wim Hof ​​method because, like exercise, it has a great influence on the body and mind. Above all, Omega 3-rich foods, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and sufficient fluids in the form of tea, water and a little coffee are part of the concept. Sleep and regeneration are just as important for a healthy mindset and a fit body. It is recommended to sleep at least seven to nine hours every night, as lack of sleep can disrupt the hormonal system and promote depression 4 .

Science and effectiveness of the Wim Hof ​​method

There are already numerous studies that confirm the effectiveness of the Wim Hof ​​method. However, as always with successful and well-known methods and people, there is also criticism of the Wim Hof ​​method. It is doubtful whether the positive effects on the immune system are actually as strong as they are advertised. There are certainly also critics who have had experience with the Wim Hof ​​method themselves and are not yet completely convinced. However, it should be said that there are rarely methods that work for everyone in the world. In addition, the question is always whether all three cornerstones mentioned above have been learned, taken into account and, above all, linked to the best of our knowledge.

Ultimately it is the case that Wim Hof ​​breathing and the method as a whole has been scientifically recognized and numerous studies have been carried out with it. For example, research appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2014 found that the breathing technique actually causes increases in adrenaline release, pulse rate and blood alkalinity. These findings strongly suggest that the immune system can be consciously controlled and directed 1 . Many other scientific studies, which can be viewed on the Wim Hof ​​website, confirm the effectiveness of the method. It actually seems to have positive effects on improving performance, improving the immune system, healing depression and many other diseases. Now everyone can gain their own experience and try out the Wim Hof ​​method with the description mentioned! Good luck!


1 Wikipedia (2020): Wim Hof. [https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wim_Hof; December 5, 2020].
2 Website of the Wim Hof ​​Method (2020): [https://wimhof-method.de; December 5, 2020].
3 Gotzler, Max (2017): Get tons of energy with the Wim Hof ​​breathing technique. Flow grade. [https://www.flowgrade.de/blog/hole-dir-energie-mit-der-wim-hof-power-atmung/; December 5, 2020]
4 Hof, Wim (2020): How to improve mental health in a natural way. [https://www.wimhofmethod.com/improve-mental-health; December 9, 2020].

Ines Maria Schulz, born on December 1st, 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, also completed her Master of Education in Biology and WAH there, laying the foundation for the understanding of physiology and anatomy as well as nutrition. She is also a trained primary school sports teacher. For two years she has been a coach at MTM Personal Training, the most successful personal training studio in Berlin. There she supports customers every day who want to exploit their maximum potential in terms of mental and physical health and performance. In cooperation with doctors like Dr. Dominik Nischwitz and a laboratory for intestinal health as well as the constant exchange within the team, she can provide her customers with optimal advice about training, nutrition, micronutrients and lifestyle. She has already written a breakfast book and a large part of a lifestyle booklet for MTM. She also writes the weekly newsletter, which publishes nutritional tips and recipes she has created. Ines has completed seminars and certificates with a variety of successful coaches and specialists and is constantly expanding her skills. The young trainer has been writing blog articles for Supz Nutrition since January 2019.

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